On 8th October 2011, H.E. Ambassador Dr. Monica Juma led a select group of Ambassadors and mission staff in honouring the late Prof Wangari Muta Maaathai. The ceremony, held at the Kenya Embassy compound involved the planting of trees and creating Wangari Maathai corner . This event was aligned to similar activities carried out throughout Kenya to remember Wangari Maathai who devoted her life to environmental conservation and created the world famous Green Belt Movement.
Following her demise on 25 September 2011, the Kenya Embassy opened a condolence book for a fortnight, which was signed by a large number of diplomatic representatives and other high level personalities that worked and were aware of the contribution of Maathai to the world. At the African Union level, Professor Maathai was the first President of the ECOSOC and later the AU Goodwill Ambassador for the Congo forest.
In her address during this occassion, H.E Ambassador Dr. Monica Juma commemorated Prof Wangari as a great daughter of Kenya and leader of the world. She noted that the late Prof. Wangari Maathai had fallen after battling with one of the growing challenges of our times, cancer. A premier Kenyan environmentalist, Wangari was the first African woman to win the coveted Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. Those that met, and had the opportunity and pleasure of working with her testified to her human touch. Her faith in the youth and the patience with which she mentored, reinforced values, underscoring the dignity of the person and the necessity to strike the balance between human activity and nature is unsurpassed. She believed and advocated for reproduction – of knowledge, of ideas, of fundamental values. All these profound ideas were espoused with the simplicity of a great professor.
As a person, Prof Maathai struck anyone she came into contact with instantenously with her composure and self assurance; a radiating smile that reassured her companions young and old; a strong believe in the power of reproduction to guarantee the future. Her sharp and direct manner, on any matter no matter its sensitivity, the context and the risks involved, left everyone in awe. The event provided opportunity for the diplomatic community to pay tribute to the true heroine of Africa.
In attendance at the ceremony were Australia, Brazil, Canada, Uganda, Liberia, Niger, among others.
(For the full speech by the Ambassador check under speeches and Document)