Women Section

Vandana Shiva
Birth: November 5, 1952
Achievements: A physicist, ecofeminist, environmental activist and a author. Currently based in New Delhi, is author of over 300 papers in leading scientific and technical journals. In 1993, Shiva received the Right Livelihood Award (also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize) "for placing women and ecology at the heart of modern development discourse." Other awards she has received include the Global 500 Award of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1993 and the Earth Day International Award of the United Nations (UN) for her dedicated commitment to the preservation of the planet as demonstrated by her actions, leadership and by setting an example for the rest of the world.

Educated at St Mary's School in Nainital, and at the Convent of Jesus and Mary, Dehradun.Shiva completed her Ph.D. in the Philosophy of Science in 1978. After that she did research at the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore till 1982. Trained as a physicist , wrote on the "Hidden Variables and Non-locality in Quantum Theory" at the University of Western Ontario from where she later received an honorary degree in 2002.

In 1982, she founded the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy in her home town of Dehra Dun . Initiatives of this foundation include Navdanya, an organic farming programme, the Bija Vidyapeeth' (or Seed University, International College for Sustainable Living), and Diverse Women for Diversity.

Another of her initiatives is the Living Democracy Movement. As an activist she has co-ordinated, supported and learned from grassroots networks on a wide range of issues across India. As an advocate, especially in international area, she has proved one of the most articulate spokespersons of counter-development in favour of people- centred, participatory processes. As an intellectual she has produced a stream of important books and articles, which have done much both to form and address the agenda of development debate and action.

Her Foundation is an informal network of researchers working in support of people's environmental struggles, part of the objective of which is the articulation and justification of people's knowledge. In the last 20 years the Foundation has done important work in a number of areas, including: Agriculture and genetic resources. Shiva's critical analysis of the effects of the Green Revolution, and looking beyond it to the impacts of the 'second' Green Revolution powered by genetic engineering, is of pioneering importance. For more than 15 years, she has been a campaigner on the ethical and ecological impacts of genetic engineering. She has led campaigns on bio- safety and built citizens' responses to the introduction of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture.

She started her work on biodiversity with the Chipko Movement in the 1970s. As with forestry and water, her contribution has gone beyond critique with the launch of a 'people's programme on biodiversity'. In the past 10 years she has built a new movement called Navdanya for the conservation of indigenous seeds. Shiva sees biodiversity as intimately linked to cultural diversity and knowledge diversity. She has campaigned nationally and internationally against 'biopiracy' ? the patenting of indigenous knowledge.

Shiva has been an important figure in putting pressure on the World Bank, which the Bank has been forced to take increasingly seriously. She represented 'Nature' at the People's Tribunal on the World Bank and IMF in Berlin in 1988 and was on the steering group of the People's Forum which coincided with World Bank meetings in 1991.Shiva has also initiated major movements in India on World Trade Organisation (WTO) issues, especially on intellectual property and agriculture. She is a founding Board member of the International Forum on Globalisation, the citizens' group dedicated to monitoring and intervening on the impact of globalisation. She is currently leading an International Campaign on Food Rights, for people's right to knowledge and food security.

Shiva has fought for changes in the practice and paradigms of agriculture and food. Her books, "The Violence of Green Revolution" and "Monocultures of the Mind" challenge the dominant paradigm of non-sustainable, reductionist 'green revolution' agriculture. Intellectual property rights, biodiversity, biotechnology, bioethics, genetic engineering are among the fields where Shiva has contributed intellectually and through activist campaigns. She has assisted grassroots organizations of the Green movement in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Ireland, Switzerland and Austria with campaigns against genetic engineering.

She also founded the gender unit at the International Centre for Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Kathmandu. Shiva has also served as an adviser to governments in India and abroad as well as non governmental organisations, including the International Forum on Globalisation, the Women's Environment & Development Organization and the Third World Network.

Awards include:
1. 2001, HORIZON 3000 Award of Austria in recognition to rendering useful service for defending Human Rights and Preservation of Peace and for the vision of a world wide fair development in the third millennium .
2. 2000, Pellegrino Artusi Award, Italy for original contribution to reflections on relations between humans and food .
3. 1998, Commemorative Medal by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand on the occasion of the Celebration of the 18th World Food Day, organised by FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok.
4. Medal of the Presidency of the Italian Republic from the International Scientific Committee of the Pio Manzu Centre at Rimini, Italy during the XXIV Pio Manzu International Conference on "The Horizons of Hermes" 1997,
5. The Golden Plant Award (International Award of Ecology), Denmark, for the remarkable contribution for Ecology and Environment;
6. Alfonso Comin Award, Barcelona, Spain, for important contribution both scientifically and personally to the ecologist and feminist movement in India .
7. 1995, "Pride of the Doon" Award from Doon Citizen Council, Dehra Dun, India, in recognition of distinguished contributions to the region
8. 1993: Order of the Golden Ark, by his Royal Highness Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands for outstanding services to conservation and ecology;
9. VIDA SANA International Award, Spain, for her contribution to Ecology and Food Security