On the morning of Wednesday 27th of March 2013, the Director of the Policy Centre for African Peoples, Sylvie Aboa-Bradwell, joined His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and many other guests of the Green Belt Movement (GBM) at Kew Gardens to celebrate the life and legacy of GBM founder and Nobel Laureate Professor Wangari Maathai.
The Vice Chair of GBM, Wanjira Maathai, paid a touching tribute to Wangari Maathai both as a mother and as a unique force for international conservation. Guests were treated to an enactment of Professor Maathai’s favourite fable, ‘The Hummingbird’, by pupils from Stoneygate College.
HRH the Prince of Wales spoke passionately about Professor Maathai. He expressed his admiration of her life’s work and the importance of her legacy through the work of the Green Belt Movement. HRH Prince Charles planted an oak in the grounds of Kew Gardens in memory of Professor Wangari Maathai.
The final tribute was given by Dr Shirin Ebadi who established the Nobel Women’s Initiative with Professor Maathai and other women Peace Laureates in 2006.
The day’s events concluded with the hugely successful Inaugural Wangari Maathai lecture given by Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and recently elected Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region of Africa. Her lecture was introduced by Theo Sowa, CEO of the African Womens Development Fund.
Having worked closely with Professor Maathai, Mary Robinson spoke of her personal affection for “Prof” and the vital importance of her contributions to social and environmental justice:
“The first things that struck me about her were her brilliant smile, her spirituality and her indomitable spirit…May she continue to inspire millions more and encourage the political will for change that was at the heart of her mission.”