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UB, Kenya commemorate Wangari Maathai Day

UB, Kenya commemorate Wangari Maathai Day

Dated : 23.05.2017

The University of Botswana joined the rest of Africa in commemorating Africa Environment/Wangari Maathai Day on May 4, 2017 by planting trees and holding a public lecture that attracted a host of dignitaries among them ministers, dikgosi, members of the diplomatic corps, senior government officials, university professors and members of the public.

The commemoration which took place at the UB Conference Centre in honour of the late Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Professor Wangari Maathai, was jointly organised with the Kenyan High Commission under the theme: Following Professor Wangari’s Dream of reducing Poverty through Environmental Conservation.
Professor Maathai is internationally recognised for her persistent struggle for democracy, human rights and environmental conservation. In 2004, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded her the Nobel Peace Prize for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.  In the process, she became not only the first African woman, but the first environmentalist to win the award. Professor Maathai was also honoured by the African Union in 2012 at a summit during which Africa Environment Day was officially renamed Wangari Maathai Day.
University of Botswana Acting Vice Chancellor, Professor Kgomotso Moahi, described the commemoration as a very special event for Botswana that celebrated a passionate environmentalist in Professor Wangari Mathai whose achievements and legacy were unparalleled and second to none. 
Consequently, Professor Moahi said UB, which was enjoined to make its mark beyond national borders, was honoured to host the event as it enhanced the institution’s efforts to make Gaborone a learning city by engaging and working with the community to address national challenges and finding sustainable solutions.
During his speech later on, the Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Dr. Alfred Madigele said the event was aimed at raising awareness on environmental issues, and noted his hope that other public lectures would continue to involve the public and dispel the myth that universities only attracted the super educated.
The Minister said people should not think about the environment as trees only, but all that it encompassed. He applauded UB for creating linkages with institutions such as the Kenyan High Commission to bring such issues to the fore.
The guest speaker at the occasion, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources, Professor Judi Wakhungu, highlighted Professor Maathai’s role in advocating for environmental conservation not only in Kenya but throughout the world. She said just as the Nobel Prize Committee noted, Professor Mathai was a person who thought globally but acted locally. She thanked Botswana for recognising the importance of the day by sending a very strong delegation to attend the event.
Professor Wakhungu urged Botswana to share experiences with Kenya, particularly on the management of arid and semi-arid lands. She said both countries could learn from each other's experiences and enrich respective programmes and strategies in implementing climate change initiatives and forest conservation and management within the framework of the Forest Resource Management MoU that they signed in 2015.
Other dignitaries who attended the event included the Minister of Basic Education and Skills Development Dr. Unity Dow, the Chairman of Ntlo ya Dikgosi, Kgosi Puso Gaborone, and Kgosi Mosadi Seboko of Balete.   
Contact Details :
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