Green Party VP candidate‚ Kenyan educator and social activist to speak on environmental peace and justice at Kennesaw State University

KENNESAW‚ Ga. (April 12‚ 2007) — Two women working for environmental and social justice will share…

Georgia (Apr 12, 2007) — Green Party VP candidate‚ Kenyan educator and social activist to speak on environmental peace and justice at Kennesaw State University

Jeremy Craig

Abstract

Director of University Relations
Frances Weyand Harrison
770−423−6203
fharris4@kennesaw.edu

Contact/Writer: Jeremy Craig‚ 770−499−3448 or jcraig19@kennesaw.edu

KENNESAW‚ Ga. (April 12‚ 2007) — Two women working for environmental and social justice will share their experiences and expertise with students‚ staff‚ faculty and others at Kennesaw State University’s third annual Student Leadership Training for Peace Conference on Friday‚ April 13.

Winona LaDuke‚ an environmental activist and Green Party candidate for vice president in 1996 and 2000‚ will join Wanjiku Kironyo‚ head of Maji Mazuri‚ a Kenyan organization devoted to improving the lives of people living in the polluted slums of Nairobi‚ Kenya‚ at Friday’s conference.

The conference will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Social Sciences Building.

The focus on “environmental peace” will provide students and other participants with the opportunity to increase their knowledge about a variety of environment−related issues‚ including what individuals can do about climate change‚ using the power of personal spending to impact the environment and how students can encourage their universities to take the environment into consideration during decision−making processes.

LaDuke‚ an Anishinaabeg (Ojibwe) enrolled member of the Mississippi Band of Anishinaabeg‚ is scheduled as the keynote speaker. A long−time activist and mother of three children‚ she is program director of Honor the Earth‚ an organization that creates awareness and support for Native American environmental issues.

She is also the founding director of the White Earth Land Recovery Project‚ which is dedicated to the recovery of the original land base of the White Earth Indian Reservation in northwestern Minnesota — which had been taken away from the White Earth Nation — while preserving and restoring traditional practices of sound land stewardship‚ language fluency and community development‚ while strengthening the spiritual and cultural heritage of the Anishinaabeg.

A graduate of Harvard and Antioch universities‚ she has written extensively on environmental issues. Her latest book‚ “Recovering the Sacred: The Power of Naming and Claiming‚” won the 2005 Gustavus Myers Book Award Honorable Mention and high praise. According to reviews‚ the book puts Native American communities’ struggles for justice into historical and environmental context‚ documenting stories of the communities’ tenacity to reclaim their lands‚ resources and ways of life.

LaDuke will be joined by Kironyo at a panel discussion on environmental peace and justice Friday afternoon. Kironyo is founding director of the Maji Mazuri Center‚ a multi−faceted nonprofit organization working to improve the lives of women and children living in poverty.

Maji Mazuri‚ which means “good water” in Swahili‚ works in the heart of a place where “good water” is hard to find — Mathare Valley‚ a notorious slum−shanty town in Nairobi. With more than 600‚000 people living without clean water‚ a sewage system or electricity‚ crime is high‚ and drugs‚ prostitution and illegal alcohol are abundant.

However‚ Kironyo and Maji Mazuri are working to change conditions for the residents of Mathare Valley‚ providing hope through several programs. One such program is a micro−business center‚ which has provided small loans and basic training to small−scale entrepreneurs — especially women — who can start small businesses to provide for themselves and their children instead of resorting to prostitution or illegal alcohol sales.

Other programs include a head−start school for preschool−aged children‚ a youth program for young people aged 16 to 25‚ a home for orphans‚ an elementary school and a farm.

Kironyo‚ a graduate of the University of California−Riverside and Assumption College in Massachusetts‚ is also well−versed in helping peoples to reconcile deep wounds and grievances. According to Kevin Corcoran‚ Maji Mazuri’s coordinator in the United States‚ Kironyo assisted in southern Sudan‚ where the genocide in the Darfur region resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. She has also helped facilitate reconciliation sessions with women from the Tutsi and Hutu people in Rwanda — looking at hurts stemming back from the 1990s genocide.

Kironyo is scheduled to speak about her experiences in post−war reconciliation‚ looking at the nature of conflict‚ the need for peace and how reconciliation can take place between people who have suffered deep emotional trauma.

The conference is free for KSU students on a first−come‚ first−served basis; $15 for non−KSU students; $25 for faculty‚ staff and members of the general public.

For more information or to register for the conference‚ call (770) 499−3562‚ e−mail globaldiversity@kennesaw.edu or visit www.kennesaw.edu/diversity/peace2007.html to securely register online.

For maps and directions to the Kennesaw State University campus‚ please visit www.kennesaw.edu/about/maps.shtml.

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A member of the 35−unit University System of Georgia‚ Kennesaw State University is a comprehensive‚ residential institution with a growing student population approaching 20‚000 from 132 countries. The third−largest university in Georgia‚ Kennesaw State offers more than 60 graduate and undergraduate degrees‚ including a new doctorate in education.

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 38,000 students. With 13 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.

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