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Global Forum: Wangari Maathai
October 10, 2006, Volume 53, No. 7

Wangari Maathai

On Monday, October 16, the Provost’s Global Forum and the Penn Institute for Urban Research will present Dr. Wangari Maathai, recipient of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize and founder of the Green Belt Movement. President Amy Gutmann will present the University of Pennsylvania Medal for Distinguished Achievement to Dr. Maathai before her keynote speech.

Dr. Maathai received the Nobel for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace, stemming from her work on community empowerment and environmental conservation. Dr. Maathai’s Green Belt Movement has helped Kenyan women plant more than 30 million trees in an effort to reclaim farmland and combat deforestation. She is the first African woman to receive a Nobel and one of only 33 women worldwide to receive a Nobel since 1901. With a historic and visionary message, Dr. Maathai challenges audiences to rethink the concepts of peace and security. Recognizing the strong implications of sustainable management of the environment, she presents an argument for democracy rooted in respect for human rights, equity and justice.

The first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a Ph.D., she obtained a degree in biological sciences from Mount St. Scholastica College in Atchison, Kansas in 1964. She subsequently earned a master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1966. She pursued doctoral studies in Germany and the University of Nairobi, obtaining a Ph.D. in 1971 from the University of Nairobi, where she also taught veterinary anatomy and became chair of the department. She was the first woman in the region to attain those positions.

The 7 p.m. event in Irvine Auditorium is free and open to the public; but pre-registration is required at www.upenn.edu/penniur/maathai.htm. Online registration, however, does not guarantee admittance. On the day of the event, seats are available on a first-come-first-served basis.

The lecture is also co-sponsored by The Growing Greener Cities Symposium, a national symposium that promotes sustainable urban environments and the role of community-based participation.

Almanac - October 10, 2006, Volume 53, No. 7