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April - June 2007
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Nobel Peace Prize Winner and Noted Environmentalist to Give Keynote

Wangari Maathai to Address 2007 Esri User Conference

For nearly 30 years, Wangari Maathai has been making a difference in the environment and in people's lives. Her work with Green Belt Movement (GBM) has resulted in the planting of 40 million trees throughout Kenya. The organization also empowers people to improve their communities. Maathai will share her life experiences in her address on June 18, 2007, to the thousands in attendance at the 27th Annual Esri International User Conference.

Maathai is a world-renowned environmentalist, founder of GBM, parliamentarian, author, and civil society and women's rights activist. In 2004, she became the first African woman and the first environmentalist to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

Maathai founded GBM in 1977. It has become one of the most prominent women's civil society organizations and has helped hundreds of thousands of women and their families improve their lives through planting trees. These trees have reduced soil erosion in critical watersheds and restored acres of biodiverse forest land. By protecting the environment, these women have also become powerful champions for sustainable management of scarce resources, equitable economic development, good political governance, and—ultimately—peace. GBM also conducts educational campaigns to raise awareness about women's rights, civic empowerment, and the environment throughout Kenya and Africa.

GBM helps communities worldwide protect the environment and promotes good governance and cultures of peace. The organization's goal in the next decade is to plant one billion trees worldwide. "We're extremely honored to have Wangari Maathai as this year's keynote speaker," said Esri president Jack Dangermond.

The Esri International User Conference, the largest conference in the world devoted to GIS technology, will be held June 18–22 at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California. The conference draws users from more than 120 countries who share knowledge, acquire new skills, learn about developments in GIS and Esri technology, and meet with friends and colleagues both old and new. The conference theme this year is GIS: The Geographic Approach. For more information on the User Conference, visit For more information on Maathai's life and work, see her two books, Unbowed: A Memoir and The Green Belt Movement, and visit GBM at

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