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Wangari Maathai Inspires 100's at BGCI 20th Anniversary Event

9 February 2007

Wangari Maathai presented A Force for Change and a Vision of Hope on February 8th to start BGCI's 20th Anniversary Celebrations.

Professor Wangari Maathai signing copies of her autobiographyProfessor Maathai spoke of how she became involved 30 years ago in the grass roots activism that has culminated in a political career taking her across the world, investigating the ways in which all people can play a part in improving and restoring the planet's diversity. Her stories and reminiscences showed how plant diversity, knowledge, culture, identity and taking responsibility interplay with each other. She communicated how everyone, even if you are small as a hummingbird, has an important part to play in creating a better world.

Sara Oldfield made a brief presentation on the achievements of BGCI and botanic gardens in the past 20 years and introducing Professor Maathai.

An engaging and entertaining speaker, Professor Maathai inspired a varied and distinguished audience of over 300 people, many of whom had the chance to meet Wangari as she signed copies of her autobiography.

Baroness Joan Walmsley,  Chair of BGCI's Board of Directors, thanked the Professor after she took some questions from the audience. She said she now felt like a hummingbird 'doing the best it can' and was much happier and inspired after hearing her speak than when she arrived earlier.

Watch Wangari speak >> Watch video: the Hummingbird Story (2min 23sec)

The talk was followed by a book-signing session and many people were able to meet Professor Maathai and discuss their ideas as she signed copies of her autobiography 'Unbowed'. 

Many new connections and ideas were also initiated in the bar, and several people were heard saying they were going to be hummingbirds from now on.

You can find out more - and support BGCI - by reading Professor Maathai's autobiography through Amazon

You can also read Sarah Kneebone's account of the evening on the BGCI Education Blog 

BGCI – Celebrating 20 Years of Securing Plant Diversity

Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) was first established in 1987 as the Botanic Gardens Conservation Secretariat. In a mere 20 years, BGCI has grown to become the leading international organisation working to save the world’s imperilled flora.


Celebrating 20 Years - Messages for BGCI

2007 was BGCI's 20th Anniversary. Find out what our members and partners had to say about the successes of the past 20 years, in botanic gardens' efforts to save plants for the planet.


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Wangari Maathai and the Green Belt Movement
Wangari Maathai is internationally recognized for her persistent struggle for democracy, human rights, and environmental conservation. The Green Belt Movement (GBM Kenya) is a grassroots NGO based in Kenya that focuses on environmental conservation, community development and capacity building.

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Unbowed by Wangari Maathai
Wangari Maathai tells her extraordinary story, spanning different worlds and changing times, and revealing what the courage, determination, tenacity and humour of one good woman can achieve; how as small a thing as planting a seedling and watering it can made all the difference in the world.