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The Norwegian Nobel Committee announced on October 8 that African scholar and activist Wangari Muta Maathai would receive the Nobel Peace Prize for 2004. Maathai was at Dartmouth for two weeks in the spring of 1993 as a Montgomery Fellow, where she spoke about her efforts to restore the environment, enhance women's rights and bring peace to her native Kenya and throughout Africa and the world. A member of the Kenyan Parliament, she founded the Green Belt Movement which works to restore ravaged forests and promotes environmental sustainability and the empowerment of women. Over the last thirty years, the Green Belt Movement has inspired poor women in Africa to plant over 30 million trees. Maathai is the first woman from Africa to win the Nobel Peace Prize. "Through education, family planning, nutrition and the fight against corruption, the Green Belt Movement has paved the way for development at grass-root level," according to the Nobel Committee in Oslo. "We believe that Maathai is a strong voice speaking for the best forces in Africa to promote peace and good living conditions on that continent."
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