2024, Nnimmo Bassey

This photograph shows a Nnimmo Bassey in front of an orange patterned background.

Wallenberg Lecture
September 10, 2024

Architect, poet, and African environmental activist
Nnimmo Bassey will receive the Wallenberg Medal and
deliver the Wallenberg Lecture on September 10th at 4:30pm
in the Robertson Auditorium at the Ross School of Business.

Photo of Nnimmo Bassey, environmental leader, architect, and poet. Bassey is wearing a blue shirt and seated outdoors.

Nnimmo Bassey, executive director of the Health of Mother Earth Foundation and a global environmental activist, will receive the 2024 Wallenberg Medal from the University of Michigan on Tuesday, September 10th at 4:30pm in the Robertson Auditorium at the Ross School of Business.


Nnimmo Bassey is an architect and director of the Nigeria-based ecological think-tank, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) and member of the steering committee of Oilwatch International, a network resisting the expansion of fossil fuel extraction in the Global South. He chaired Friends of the Earth International (2008-2012), was a co-recipient of the 2010 Right Livelihood Award, also known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize,” and received the Rafto Human Rights Prize in 2012. Bassey has received honorary doctorate degrees from University of York (UK) in 2019 and from York University (Canada) in 2023. Bassey’s books include To Cook a Continent: Destructive Extraction and The Climate Crisis in Africa and Oil Politics: Echoes of Ecological War. His poetry collections include: We Thought It Was Oil But It Was Blood (1998), I Will Not Dance to Your Beat (2010), and I See the Invisible (2024). 

“As an architect, poet, writer, and human rights advocate, Nnimmo Bassey works to address root cause issues driving climate migration, environmental and social impacts of extractive production, and hunger in the Niger Delta. His commitment to socio-ecological justice connects large-scale issues of climate change, exploitation of natural resources, and political/corporate intransigence to the lives of individuals in the Niger Delta and beyond,” said Sioban Harlow, Professor Emerita of Epidemiology and Global Public Health and chair of the Wallenberg Medal Executive Committee. “Just as Raoul Wallenberg trained as an architect at the University of Michigan before bringing his multifaceted skills to humanitarian work, Bassey’s background as an architect undergirds his environmental leadership.”


The Wallenberg Medal and Lecture ceremony is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required. Please direct any inquiries about the event and requests for event accessibility accommodations to wallenberglecture@umich.edu or 734-936-3973.