Message from the Nobel Women on death of Wangari Maathai

Photo credit: Judy RandThe women Nobel Peace Laureates of the Nobel Women’s Initiative today released a statement upon the passing of their sister laureate, Wangari Maathai.  They express their deep sadness but remember Wangari for her “fearless strength in adversity, her creative approach to building a peaceful, healthy planet and her hard work to inspire and empower women.

The women speak of how her passion and commitment inspired, and will continue to inspire, people around the world to make positive change.

“We will miss her great shining smile and her indomitable spirit but all those she has inspired will keep her vision alive through each small action we take toward a better world.”

Read the full text of the message below.


Message from Nobel Peace Laureates Jody Williams, Shirin Ebadi, Rigoberta Menchú Tum, and Mairead Maguire:

We are terribly saddened by the death of our beloved friend and sister Nobel Peace Laureate, Professor Wangari Maathai.  Wangari was a true visionary whose work and life served as a powerful example to women everywhere.  She showed us that the eradication of poverty, the empowerment of women, and a sustainable future for our planet are all essential building blocks of a more just and peaceful world.  She lived her belief that all of us have a role to play in creating sustainable peace.

It has been a great privilege to know and work with Wangari through our joint efforts in the Nobel Women’s Initiative, launched in January 2006.  Her tireless commitment to humanity was evident in everything she did–from planting trees and listening to women in refugee camps to amplifying the voices of the disempowered to leaders and decision makers around the globe.

Wangari’s fearless strength in adversity, her creative approach to building a peaceful, healthy planet and her hard work to inspire and empower women will live on.  Her passion and commitment have moved countless people to take action to improve their communities. We will miss her great shining smile and her indomitable spirit but all those she has inspired will keep her vision alive through each small action we take toward a better world.

Visit our memorial photo gallery of Wangari Maathai.

Watch the video message sent by Mairead Maguire on behalf of the Laureates for the Nairobi memorial service on October 14, 2011.

View tribute messages and condolences sent to the Nobel Women’s Initiative.

Read a short biography of Wangari Maathai.

Visit the Green Belt Movement, founded by Wangari Maathai, to pay tribute or to learn more about her remarkable work.