What is the nature of public service?

Wangari Maathai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her Green Belt Movement. She has observed...

"Perhaps because I was naive, I took the political promises that we made to the voters seriously and agonized over finding ways to have them fulfilled, especially if we won elections. Now, many years down the road and with a lot of experience, I realized that the approach that I had, and still have, toward public service is one shared by a minority of people. I assumed that all people working in public service loved the people they served, were accountable and transparent, and had integrity. That was part of the culture that had been inculcated in me by my parents and teachers. It was part of my personality, character and conscience. I have since learned that such assumptions are shared by few." Maathai, Wangari The Green Belt Movement, New York: Lantern Books 2004, page 11.

What do you believe is the nature of public service?




Select a public servant either: local, state or national.


How are they living up to Ms. Maathai's beliefs?




How are they living up to your expectations?




Listen to - A Talk with Nobel Prize Winner Dr. Wangari Maathai

From the back cover - "In 1977, shocked at the environmental devastation caused by deforestation in her beloved Kenya.
Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement. For twenty-seven years, GBM has enabled many people - particularly women - to plant trees in their regions, providing them with food and fuel, and halting soil erosion and desertification."

"Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice,
he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope...build(ing) a current that can sweep down
the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." - Robert F. Kennedy

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2007 Cynthia J. O'Hora Posted 1/2007

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