Jeannette South-Paul to Receive Inaugural Wangari Maathai Award from WDGA on Sept. 20

Issue Date: 
September 10, 2012

Jeannette E. South-PaulJeannette E. South-Paul, the Andrew W. Mathieson Professor and chair in the University of Pittsburgh’s  Department of Family Medicine, will receive the Dr. Wangari Maathai Award from The Workforce Development Global Alliance (WDGA) during a benefit festival to be held at 6 p.m. Sept. 20 at the Lemont Restaurant, 1114 Grandview Ave., Mt. Washington.

Formerly called the Humanitarian Award, the honor was renamed after the late Wangari Muta Maathai, a Pitt alumnus who won the 2004 Nobel Peace Price for her efforts to engage women in planting trees to reforest her Kenyan homeland. She earned the Master of Science degree in biology at Pitt in 1965. She passed away last October at age 71.

Presenting the award to South-Paul on Sept. 20 will be Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg and Dan Simpson, a retired U.S. ambassador to Somalia, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who is now associate editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Simpson and his wife, Libby, are cochairs of the event, which will be emceed by Bill Flanagan, executive vice president, corporate relations, at the Allegheny Conference on Community Development.

The award honors individuals who have exhibited “leadership and a commitment to impacting mankind in a positive way, on local and global levels,” the organization said. WDGA said South-Paul is being honored for her lifetime of visionary leadership and devotion to local and global social causes, including her work to improve health care research and education in Africa.

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, WDGA works with disadvantaged youth in Kenya, helping them to maintain peaceful relationships and preparing them to succeed in the work force. Pitt graduate and 2011 Rhodes Scholar Cory J. Rodgers has been working with Niecy Dennis, WDGA founder and president, to help develop the program in Kenya. Rodgers graduated from Pitt’s Honors College and Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences with a BPhil degree in Africana studies and the history and philosophy of science; he also earned a BS degree in biological sciences with a minor in chemistry from the Dietrich School. In addition, Nina Weaver, a 2011 Pitt graduate, has also worked with WDGA in Kenya. Weaver, who traveled to Tanzania on a 2011 Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarship, graduated with a Bachelor of Philosophy degree in international and area studies and a Bachelor of Arts degree in history through Pitt’s Honors College and Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences.

The Sept. 20 event will offer live and silent auctions, African art and wares, and music by Africa drum team Shabaka.

Tickets and additional information can be obtained by calling 412-243- 9342 or emailing