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Vandana Shiva

Vandana Shiva

"Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace"

Tuesday—February 26, 2013
7:00 p.m.
Center for Faith and Life, Main Hall


Born on November 5, 1952 in the verdant valley of Dehradun, to a father who was the conservator of Forests and a farmer mother with a deep love for nature, Vandana Shiva received her first lessons on environment protection in the lap of Himalayas. A student of St Mary’s School in Nainital and later of Convent of Jesus and Mary, Dehradun, Vandana Shiva had always aspired to be a scientist since childhood. But nuclear physics soon raised questions in her mind regarding its Impact on Life and the environment. And thus began Vandana Shiva’s passionate affair with the environment.

Dr. Vandana Shiva is trained as a physicist and did her PhD. on the subject “Hidden Variables and Non-locality in Quantum Theory” from the University of Western Ontario. She later shifted to inter-disciplinary research in science, technology and environmental policy, which she carried out at the Indian Institute of Science and the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore.

In 1982, she founded an independent institute, the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology in Dehra Dun dedicated to high quality and independent research to address the most significant ecological and social issues of our times, in close partnership with local communities and social movements. In 1991, she founded Navdanya, a national movement to protect the diversity and integrity of living resources, especially native see, the promotion of organic farming and fair trade. In 2004 she started Bija Vidyapeeth, an international college for sustainable living in collaboration with Schumacher College, U.K.

Dr. Shiva has contributed in fundamental ways to changing the practice and paradigms of agriculture and food. Her books, The Violence of Green Revolution and Monocultures of the Mind have become basic challenges to the dominant paradigm of non-sustainable, reductionist Green Revolution Agriculture. Through her books Biopiracy, Stolen Harvest, Water Wars, Dr. Shiva has made visible the social, economic and ecological costs of corporate led globalization.

Demystifying GATT and WTO, working with farmers to explain TRIPS and the Agreement of Agriculture are other dimensions of her work on Agriculture and Food Security.

The area of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) and Biodiversity is another area where Dr. Shiva has contributed intellectually and through campaigns.

Through her leadership and commitments, Dr. Shiva and her team successfully challenged the biopiracy of Neem, Basmati and Wheat. Besides her activism, she also serves on expert groups of government on IPR legislation.

Biotechnology and genetic engineering are another dimension of Dr. Shiva’s campaigning internationally. She has helped movements in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Ireland, Switzerland and Austria with their campaigns against genetic engineering.

Dr. Shiva’s contributions to gender issues are nationally and internationally recognized. Her book, Staying Alive dramatically shifted he perception of third World women. In 1990 she wrote a report for the FAO on Women and Agriculture entitled, “Most Farmers in India are Women”.  She founded the gender unit at the International Centre for Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Kathmandu.

More recently, she has initiated an international movement of women working of food, agriculture, patents and biotechnology called, Diverse Women for Diversity. The movement was launched formally in Bratislava, Slovakia on 1-2 May 1998.

Dr. Shiva combines the sharp intellectual enquiry with courageous activism. She is equally at ease working with peasants in rural India and teaching in Universities worldwide.

Dr. Shiva has been a visiting professor and lectured at the Universities of Oslo, Norway, Schumacher College, UK, Mt. Holyoke College, US, York University, Canada, University of Lulea, Sweden, University of Victoria, Canada, and organizations and institutions worldwide on ecology, feminism and globalization.

Dr. Shiva has been invited as Bernheim Chair for the Study of Peace and Citizenship at the Universite libre de Bruxelles, Belgium.

Besides her academic and research contributions, Dr. Shiva has also served as an advisor to governments in India and abroad as well as NGOs such as the International Forum on Globalisation, Women’s Environment and Development Organisation and Third World Network. She is chair of the International Commission on the Future of Food.

The government of India nominated Dr. Shiva for the SAARC Autonomous Women’s Advocacy Group.

Dr. Shiva is a member of Technical Support Group of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India or drafting the “Scheduled Tribes and Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Bill”

Dr. Shiva is on the Advisory Board of the Green Institute, Washington, DC, USA and the Center for Food Safety, Washington, DC.

Dr. Shiva is a member of the Scientific Commission of the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity, Italy.

Dr. Shiva is on the Advisory Committee of the Challenge Program Project on “Strategic Analysis of India’s River Linking Project” launched by The International Water Management Institute, Sri Lanka.

Dr. Shiva is on the Central Advisory Committee for launching and promotion of Organic Mission in the country through CAPART.

Dr. Shiva is a member of an Expert Panel on Organic Farming constituted by Government of India, Ministry of Agriculture.

Dr. Shiva is a member of the sub-group on organic farming constitute by the Planning Commission for formulation of XI Five Year Plan

Time Magazine identified Dr. Shiva as an environmental “hero” in 2003 and Asia Week has called her one of the five most powerful communicators of Asia.

Dr. Shiva was elected to the Executive Committee of World Future Council. The World Future Council is a new voice in the global political arena – one that draws on our shared human values to champion the rights of future generations, and works to ensure that humanity acts now for a sustainable future.

Dr. Shiva has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005.