Maathai soon was appointed assistant minister of environment, natural resources and wildlife. Her campaign drew international attention, and the project was eventually dropped. She studied in Germany for a short time before returning to Kenya. “It is often difficult to describe to those who live in a free society what life is like in an authoritarian regime. Writer, feminist and women's rights activist Betty Friedan wrote 'The Feminine Mystique' (1963) and co-founded the National Organization for Women. Wangari Muta Maathai (1 April 1940 – 25 September 2011) was a Kenyan environmental and political activist.

She was elected to Kenya's National Assembly in 2002 and has written several books and scholarly articles. She authored four books: The Green Belt Movement; Unbowed: A Memoir; The Challenge for Africa; and Replenishing the Earth. She has authored several books, including 'Women, Culture & Politics.'. Date of Birth: April 1, 1940 Deceased: September 25, 2011Place of Birth: Nyeri, KenyaNationality: KenyanFamily: Three children (Waweru, Wanjira, and Muta) and two grandchildren (Ruth Wangari and Elsa Wanjiru), Ph.D., Anatomy, University of Nairobi (1971)M.S., Biological Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, USA (1966)B.S., Biology, Mount St. Scholastica College, USA (1964), Founder and Coordinator, the Green Belt Movement (1977–2002)Chair of the Board, the Green Belt Movement (2002-2011)UN Messenger of Peace (2009–2011)Co-Chair, Congo Basin Forest Fund (2007–2011)Goodwill Ambassador, Congo Basin Forest Initiative (2005–2011)Presiding Officer, Economic Social and Cultural Council of the African Union (ECOSOCC) (2005–2007)Founding Chair, the Green Belt Movement International (2005)Assistant Minister, Environment, Republic of Kenya (2003–2005)Member of Parliament, Tetu Constituency, Republic of Kenya (2002–2007)Founding member, GROOTS International (1985)Director, Kenya Red Cross (1973–1980), Dorothy McCluskey Visiting Fellow for Conservation, Yale University, USA (2002)Montgomery Fellow, Dartmouth College, USA (2001)Endowed Chair in Gender & Women’s Studies named “Fuller-Maathai,” Connecticut College (2000)Associate Professor, Department of Veterinary Anatomy, University of Nairobi (1977)Chair, Department of Veterinary Anatomy, University of Nairobi (1976), Board Member, Prince Albert of Monaco Foundation, MonacoBoard Member, the Oslo Award, NorwayBoard Member, the Chirac Foundation, FranceBoard Member, Discovery Channel’s Planet Green, USABoard Member, the Congo Basin Forest Fund, TunisiaBoard Member, the Global Crop Diversity Trust, NorwayJury Member, Goldman Environmental Prize, USAPaul Harris Fellow, Rotary International, USAAdvisory Board, Clinton Global Initiative, USAFellow 2004, Yale McCluskey Fellowship, USAMember, Yale Leadership Council, USAMember, UN Commission on Global Governance, USAMember, Advisory Board, Democracy Coalition Project, USAMember, Earth Charter Commission, USASelection Committee, Sasakawa Environmental Prize, United Nations Environment Programme, KenyaBoard Member, World Learning USABoard Member, Green Cross InternationalBoard Member, the WorldWIDE Network of Women in Environmental Work, USA, Honorary Doctorate Degree, Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan (2010)Doctor of Humane Letters, Meredith College, USA (2009)Doctor of Science, Egerton University, Kenya (2007)Doctor of Public Service Honoris Causa, University of Pittsburgh, USA (2006)Doctor of Humane Letters, Connecticut College, USA (2006)Doctor of Science, Morehouse College, USA (2006)Doctor of Science, Ochanomizu University, Japan (2005)Doctor of Science, Willamette University, USA (2005)Doctor of Science, University of Nairobi, Kenya (2005)Doctor of Science, Soka University, Japan (2004)Doctor of Science, Aoyama Gakuin University, Japan (2004)Doctor of Law, Yale University, USA (2004)Doctor of Agriculture, University of Norway (1997)Doctor of Science, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, USA (1994)Doctor of Law, Williams College, USA (1990), 2010: Earth Hall of Fame, Kyoto (Japan)2009: Humanity 4 Water Award for Outstanding Commitment 2 Action2009: The Order of the Rising Sun, Japan2009: Judge, 2009 Geotourism Challenge, National Geographic, USA2009: NAACP Chairman’s Award, USA2008: Dignitas Humana Award, St John’s School of Theology, USA2008: Cinema Verite, Honorary President, France2008: Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Honorary Fellowship, UK 2007: The Nelson Mandela Award for Health & Human Rights, South Africa 2007: The Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding, India 2007: Cross of the Order of St Benedict, Benedictine College, Kansas, USA 2007: World Citizenship Award, World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts2006: The Indira Gandhi International Award for Peace, Disarmament & Development, India 2006: Premio Defensa Medio Ambiente, Club Internacional De Prensa, Spain2006: 6th in 100 Greatest Eco-Heroes of All Time, The Environment Agency, UK2006: Medal for Distinguished Achievement, University of Pennsylvania, USA2006: Woman of Achievement Award from the American Biographical Institute Inc., USA2006: The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, Milele (Lifetime) Achievement Award2006: Legion D’Honneur, Government of France2006: The IAIA Global Environment Award, International Association for Impact Assessment, Norway2006: Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund Award, USA2006: World Citizenship Award2005: New York Women’s Century Award, New York Women’s Foundation, USA2005: One of the 100 Most Influential People in the World: Time magazine, USA2005: One of the 100 Most Powerful Women in the World: Forbes magazine, USA2004: Nobel Peace Prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Norway2004: Sophie Prize, the Sophie Foundation, Norway2004: Elder of the Golden Heart, Republic of Kenya 2004: Petra Kelly Environment Prize, Heinrich Boell Foundation, Germany2004: J. Wangari Maathai, in full Wangari Muta Maathai, (born April 1, 1940, Nyeri, Kenya—died September 25, 2011, Nairobi), Kenyan politician and environmental activist who was awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize for Peace, becoming the first black African woman to win a Nobel Prize. In an attempt to fulfil her husband’s claim of limiting unemployment in Kenya, she founded Envirocare Ltd. "So we decided to solve both problems together. Under Maathai, it became increasingly focused on environmental issues. Includes; Cleopatra, Princess Diana, Marie Curie, Queen Victoria, and Joan of Arc. Her group was targeted by the government who disliked her opposition to their rule.

She was awarded two honorary degrees, Doctor of Public Service by the University of Pittsburgh in 2006 and Doctor of Science by Syracuse University posthumously in 2013.

In the early 1990s and 1992 in particular, Maathai was also the focus of pro-democracy protests. It must be this voice that is telling me to do something, and I am sure it’s the same voice that is speaking to everybody on this planet — at least everybody who seems to be concerned about the fate of the world, the fate of this planet.” Wangari Maathai:” You Strike The Woman …” by Priscilla Sears; published in the quarterly In Context #28 (Spring 1991). When she returned from studying college in the US she discovered that her lush homeland was being destroyed by deforestation which caused water and food shortages, malnutrition, and disappearing wildlife. It was her excellent academic background and great skills that earned her prestigious positions at the University of Nairobi.

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