Called by TIME magazine as an environmental ‘hero,’ Dr. Vandana Shiva, a physicist, philosopher, feminist activist and director of the Navdanya seed-saving network in northern India, will speak at a Berea College Convocation on March 3 at 3:00 p.m. in Phelps Stokes Chapel. Speaking on “Making Peace with the Earth,” Dr. Shiva will discuss the role that women play in preserving the eco-balance of the world’s food system. Dr. Shiva’s visit to Berea is co-sponsored by the Convocations Program and by the Berea College Women’s & Gender Studies department, which is observing its 25th anniversary during 2016.
Dr. Shiva, who is the author of more than 20 books, was identified by Forbes magazine as one of the “Seven Most Powerful Women on the Globe” for changing the practice and paradigms of agriculture and food.
Dr. Shiva trained as a physicist at the University of Punjab, and earned her Ph.D. on the ‘Hidden Variables and Non-locality in Quantum Theory’ from the University of Western Ontario (Canada). 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, both which are located in Bangalore, India.
In 1982, Dr. Shiva founded the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, dedicated to independent research to address current significant ecological and social issues and work in 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 seed – and to promote organic farming and fair trade. For last two decades, Navdanya has worked with local communities and organizations, serving more than 500,000 men and women farmers, resulting in the conservation of more than 3,000 varieties of rice from across India. The organization has established 60 seed banks in 16 states across the country. In 2004, Dr. Shiva started Bija Vidyapeeth, an international college for sustainable living in Doon Valley in collaboration with Schumacher College, U.K.
Dr. Shiva’s international connections include serving with Prince Charles’ expert group on Sustainable Agriculture and as a member of President Zapatero’s Scientific Committee in Spain. Dr. Shiva advises governments worldwide, such as her current work with the Government of Bhutan to make the country 100 percent organic.