Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Kenyan Nobel Laureate Dies

Kenyan Wangari Maathai, the first woman from Africa to win the Nobel Peace Prize, died Monday after a battle with cancer. She was 71.

Maathai, an environmentalist, had long campaigned for human rights and the empowerment of Africa's most impoverished people.

More than 30 years ago she founded the Green Belt Movement, a tree-planting campaign to simultaneously mitigate deforestation and to give locals, especially women and girls, access to resources like firewood for cooking and clean water. They have since planted more than 40 million trees.

"Professor Maathai's departure is untimely and a very great loss to all who knew her -- as a mother, relative, co-worker, colleague, role model and heroine -- or who admired her determination to make the world a more peaceful, healthier and better place," her organization said.

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