Idaho State University Presents TAKING ROOT

Posted on March 11, 2009

A discussion about TAKING ROOT: The Vision of Wangari Maathai, took place last night at Idaho State University as part of Independent Lens Community Cinema. TAKING ROOT tells the dramatic story of Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai whose simple act of planting trees grew into a global movement. 

Susanne Forrest, international exchange and study abroad coordinator at Idaho State, was inspired to organize the Community Cinema screening after hearing Wangari Maathai speak in Montreal at the NAFSA: Association of International Educators conference. She was impressed not only by Maathai’s strong personal presence, but her insistence that anyone can have an impact––no matter how small or how futile––to make the world a more humane place to live. A major focus of last night’s discussion, which followed the film, focused on the issue of human rights. Copies of the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights were distributed and used as a reference to talk about everything from environmental issues to women’s rights and freedom to agrarian societies to personal responsibility to faith and perseverance. 

Sibongile Kamusoko, an ISU doctoral candidate in education leadership, originally from Zimbabwe, shared her perspectives as an African woman and the many themes present in the film affecting the continent today. Mary Ellen Walsh, emeriti faculty from the ISU English department, spoke of her experiences in Africa as a Fulbright scholar at the University of Rwanda in the 1980s, and later as an ISU recruiter in Africa. One audience member expressed her perception of similarities between the oppressive dictatorship in Kenya and the previous federal administration for the United States. While she had protested openly against the Bush administration, she felt it was not enough, and admired Professor Maathai's commitment to fighting for human rights. Want to find upcoming screenings in your area? Community Cinema selections are screened in more than 50 locations throughout the United States. 

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