The Wangari-Maathai-International School (WMIS) is a public school and a spin-off of the better known Nelson-Mandela-School founded in Berlin in 2000. The WMIS offers bilingual lessons in German and English. Like the Nelson Mandela School, the WMIS was founded primarily for children from highly mobile families. Only in the first grade, children permanently living in Berlin are admitted. 

The school opened its doors in 2017 with only the 1st grade at Babelsberger Str. 24, Berlin, which will remain the school location for the next few years. The final location of the school is not yet known and is currently being sought in the Berlin Senate.

WMIS is currently an annually growing primary school, which will comprise classes 1 to 6 in the medium term. In the long term, it is also planned to offer a secondary level I with classes 7 to 10 in the form of an integrated secondary school. A higher education entrance qualification can then be acquired in a separate secondary level II with classes 11 to 13 or in cooperation with another state international school. An IB programme like the one at the Nelson Mandela School is currently not planned.

Please find more info about the school on its official website:

About Wangari Maathai

The name of the school was chosen by the families of the school after the famous Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize laureate, professor, scientist, environmental activist, women’s rights activist, human rights activist and green politician Prof. Dr. Wangari Maathai.

The official naming ceremony took place on 22 March 2019. In addition to representatives of the Federal Foreign Office and the Senate Administration of Berlin, participants included the then State Secretary Rackles and the Kenyan Ambassador H.E. Mr. Joseph K. Magutt.

Wangari Maathai was born on 01 April 1940 in the Nyeri District in the Kenyan Highlands. After her school time in a monastery school she received a scholarship for a study of biology in the USA (Mount St. Scholastica College in Kansas). Her studies also took her to the universities of Pittsburgh, Giessen and Munich. In 1971, she was the first woman to receive a doctorate in East and Central Africa at the University of Nairobi. In the same year she became the first Professor of Veterinary Anatomy and later Dean of her Department at the University of Nairobi. 

In 1977 she launched the Green Belt Movement, a reforestation project to protect against erosion. Over the years, it has become a movement that is now active in 13 countries, has founded several hundred nurseries and planted several million new trees. Wangari became the central figure of identification for the women’s movement in Kenya. From 1976 to 1987 she was active in Kenya’s National Council of Women in Kenya. Between 1981-87 she was president of the council.

In the 1990s Maathai, whose commitment to environmental protection and women’s rights repeatedly put her in opposition to the then head of state Daniel Moi, became president. After Wangari Maathai unsuccessfully ran for parliament and president in 1997, she was elected to the Kenyan parliament in December 2002 for the “National Rainbow Coalition (NARC)” founded by several opposition parties. The NARC replaced the government of Daniel Moi, and the newly elected President Mwai Kibaki appointed Maathai as Deputy Minister for Environmental Protection. Maathai was the founder of the “Mazingira Green Party of Kenya” and is considered the first green politician in Africa to have made the leap into government.

In April 2004 she was awarded the international Petra Kelly Prize of the Heinrich Böll Foundation. In December 2014, Wangari Maathai was the first African to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for her commitment to “sustainable development, democracy and peace”. As early as 1984, she won the Right Livelihood Award (the so-called Alternative Nobel Prize) for her commitment to the Green Belt Movement.