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Offer: Please join the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program and Africa Program for a book launch of The Challenge for Africa


Please join the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program and Africa Program for a book launch of

The Challenge for Africa


Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Founder, Green Belt Movement

Monday, April 13, 2009
3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Atrium Hall, Ronald Reagan Building
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20004

Africa faces severe and wide-ranging challenges, from Darfur to HIV/AIDS, massive debt to election fraud, cross-border conflicts to environmental degradation. Yet the portrait of Africa painted in the media-poverty-stricken, desolate, and desperate-frequently ignores the intricacies of the issues. In The Challenge for Africa, Wangari Maathai analyzes roadblocks to development, including: population pressures and enduring hunger; the absence of peace and security; the lack of technological development; and the dearth of genuine political and economic leadership.

Maathai stresses the need for Africans to invent and implement their own solutions, rather than relying on foreign aid and Western visions of change. As she writes, “At both the top and the bottom, all Africans must believe in themselves again; that they are capable of walking their own path and forging their own identity, that they have a right to be governed with justice, accountability and transparency, that they can honor and practice their cultures and make them relevant to today’s needs, and that they no longer need to be indebted-financially, intellectually, and spiritually-to those who once governed them. They must rise up and walk.”

Wangari Muta Maathai is the founder of the Green Belt Movement, which, through networks of rural women, has planted more than 30 million trees across Kenya since 1977. In 2002, she was elected to Kenya’s parliament in the first free elections in a generation, and in 2003 was appointed Assistant Minister for Environment, Natural Resources, and Wildlife. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate of 2004, she is the author of Unbowed: A Memoir. She lives in Nairobi, Kenya.

On April 14, PBS will air the acclaimed documentary Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai, an Independent Lens presentation. For more information, visit

If you are interested, but unable to attend the event, please tune into the live or archived webcast at The webcast will begin approximately 10 minutes after the posted meeting time. You will need Windows Media Player to watch the webcast. To download the free player, visit:

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