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Sunday, October 9, 2011

REST IN PEACE PROF. WAANGARI MAATHAI CHIEF OF ENVIRONMENT IN THE WORLD.


History of Professor Wangari MaathaiA Brief Introduction  

30 Sep, 2011 "Wangari Muta Mary Jo Maathai (1 April 1940 – 25 September 2011) was a Kenyan environmental and political activist. She was educated in the United States at Mount St. Scholastica and the University of Pittsburgh, as well as the University of Nairobi in Kenya. In the 1970s, Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement, an environmental non-governmental organization focused on the planting of trees, environmental conservation, and women's rights. In 1986, she was awarded the Right Livelihood Award, and in 2004, she became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for “her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.” 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 2011, she died of complications from ovarian cancer. 

At the age of eleven, Maathai moved to St. Cecilia's Intermediate Primary School, a boarding school at the Mathari Catholic Mission in Nyeri. Maathai studied at St. Cecilia's for four years. During this time, she became fluent in English and converted to Catholicism, taking the Christian name Mary Josephine. She also was involved with the Christian society known as the Legion of Mary, whose members attempted "to serve God by serving fellow human beings Studying at St. Cecilia's, Maathai was sheltered from the ongoing Mau Mau Uprising, which forced her mother to move from their homestead to an emergency village in Ihithe.When she completed her studies there in 1956 she was rated first in her class, and was granted admission to the only Catholic high school for girls in Kenya, Loreto High School Limuru in Limuru
After graduating from Loreto-Limuru in 1959, she planned to attend the University of East Africa in Kampala, Uganda. However, the end of the colonial period of East Africa was nearing, and Kenyan politicians, such as Tom Mboya, were proposing ways to make education in Western nations available to promising students. John F. Kennedy, then a United States Senator, agreed to fund such a program through the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation, initiating what became known as the Kennedy Airlift or Airlift Africa. Maathai became one of about three hundred Kenyans chosen to study at American universities in September 1960

Studies in America and Germany

Maathai received a scholarship to study at Mount St. Scholastica College (now Benedictine College), in Atchison, Kansas. At Mount St. Scholastica, she majored in biology, with minors in chemistry and German.

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