Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai (1940-2011) was the founder of the Green Belt Movement and the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. She authored four books: The Green Belt Movement; Unbowed: A Memoir; The Challenge for Africa; and Replenishing the Earth. As well as having been featured in a number of books, she and the Green Belt Movement were the subject of a documentary film, Taking Root: the Vision of Wangari Maathai (Marlboro Productions, 2008).

Wangari Muta Maathai was born in Nyeri, a rural area of Kenya (Africa), in 1940. She obtained a degree in Biological Sciences from Mount St. Scholastica College in Atchison, Kansas (1964), a Master of Science degree from the University of Pittsburgh (1966), and pursued doctoral studies in Germany and the University of Nairobi, before obtaining a Ph.D. (1971) from the University of Nairobi, where she also taught veterinary anatomy. The first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate degree, Professor Maathai became chair of the Department of Veterinary Anatomy and an associate professor in 1976 and 1977 respectively. In both cases, she was the first woman to attain those positions in the region.

Wangari Maathai was the founder of the Green Belt Movement and the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. She authored four books: The Green Belt Movement; Unbowed: A Memoir; The Challenge for Africa; and Replenishing the Earth.
Wangari Maathai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. In its citation, the Norwegian Nobel Committee noted Professor Maathai’s contribution to “sustainable development, democracy and peace.”
Professor Maathai gave many speeches and wrote many articles over the years, a selection of which is listed below. For press releases, statements, and interviews issued by and conducted with the Green Belt Movement and Professor Maathai, please visit our news section.
The award-winning documentary 'Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai' by Lisa Merton & Alan Dater tells the inspiring story of GBM and its founder.
The Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace & Environmental Studies is dedicated to excellence in experiential learning, transformational community outreach, and research for sustainable environments and cultures of peace.

Key Speeches & Articles

For press releases, statements, and interviews issued by and conducted with the Green Belt Movement and Professor Maathai, please visit our news section. Learn More

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