Maathai, Wangari, 1940-2011

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Wangarĩ Muta Maathai was a renowned Kenyan social, environmental, and political activist and the first African woman to win the Nobel Prize in 2004. Maathai was born on April 1, 1940 in the village of Ihithe in the central highlands of the colony of Kenya. Her family was Kikuyu, the most populous ethnic group in Kenya. Maathai became one of some 300 Kenyans selected to study in the United States in September 1960 and earned a Bachelor's Degree in the United States at Mount St. Scholastica (Benedictine College), and a Master's Degree at the University of Pittsburgh. She returned to Kenya to finish her studies, eventually teaching at the University of Nairobi and earned her PhD in veterinary anatomy there in 1971; she was the first Eastern African woman to receive a PhD.

In 1977 Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement, an environmental non-governmental organization focused on the planting of trees, environmental conservation, and women's rights. Maathai was an elected member of Parliament and served as assistant minister for Environment and Natural resources in the government of President Mwai Kibaki between January 2003 and November 2005. In 2004 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace, becoming the first African woman to win the award. She died September 25, 2011.

Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Wangari Maathai William J. Clinton Presidential Library & Museum
referencedIn Wangari Maathai William J. Clinton Presidential Library & Museum
referencedIn Women's Rights Project William J. Clinton Presidential Library & Museum
referencedIn President Barack Obama Greets Kenyan Professor Wangari Maathai in the Oval Office Barack H. Obama Library
Relation Name
alumnusOrAlumnaOf Benedictine College (Atchison, Kan.) corporateBody
associatedWith Kibaki, Mwai, 1931- person
alumnusOrAlumnaOf University of Nairobi corporateBody
employeeOf University of Nairobi corporateBody
alumnusOrAlumnaOf University of Pittsburgh corporateBody
associatedWith Women's Environment & Development Organization. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Nyeri 44 KE
Republic of Kenya 00 KE
Nairobi 05 KE
Nobel Prize winners
Public officers
College teachers


Birth 1940-04-01

Death 2011-09-25





Ark ID: w6650d5m

SNAC ID: 84473653