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Wangari Maathai

Born in Kenya in 1940, Wangari was the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for “her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace” in 2004. Educated in the US, in 1977 she founded the Green Belt Movement, an NGO which focused on environmental conservation, the planting of trees and women’s rights in Kenya.

Wangari also served as a member of parliament and was an Honorary Councilor of the World Future Council. She died in 2011 due to ovarian cancer but her legacy lives on with the opening of the Wangari Gardens in Washington, D.C. in 2012.