Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Wangari Maathai SC.D.’94, P’94, P’96, who received the Elizabeth Blackwell Award from Hobart and William Smith Colleges last year, was quoted in an article on CNN.com about President Barack Obama, the 2009 Peace Prize recipient.
“Wangari Muta Maathai, the Kenyan environmentalist who won the 2004 Peace Prize, said the win for Obama, whose father was Kenyan, would help Africa move forward.”
“‘I think it is extraordinary,’ she said. ‘It will be even greater inspiration for the world. He has shown how we can probably come together, work together in a cooperative way.'”
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In 2008, Maathai spoke at the Smith Opera House as part of the President’s Forum Series. The 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and founder of The Green Belt Movement, Maathai is an international authority on sustainable development, human rights and activism.
Through The Green Belt Movement, she has worked to organize women’s groups to plant trees, conserve the environment and empower themselves by improving their quality of life. She helped plant more than 30 million trees on farms as well as school and church compounds across Kenya. Similar initiatives have been launched in Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Lesotho, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe among other places.