50th Anniversary Signature Event
Dr. Vandana Shiva - President's Distinguished Lecture and Special Convocation
Wednesday, March 27, 2013 | 7:00 pm | University Centre Farquhar Auditorium
"The Future of Food"
University-trained as a physicist and philosopher, Dr. Vandana Shiva is one of the world’s most important ecofeminists and social justice activists. She founded Navdanya (“nine seeds”) – a women-centred movement to protect biological and cultural diversity – in India in 1987. She has since become a leading proponent of community food security, organic farming, seed-saving, and women’s involvement in agriculture. Navdanya has conserved more than 5,000 varieties of rice, wheat and other produce.
In her President's Distinguished Lecture, Dr. Shiva explored the future of food.
Will farmers continue to be displaced? Will biodiversity continue to disappear? Will 5 companies continue to control seeds through patents and another 5 continue to control trade through free trade treaties? Will hunger and malnutrition continue to grow and the quality of food continue to decline?
Or will the future of food be based on biodiversity, small farms and gardens everywhere, producing more and better food, while rejuvenating the soil and biodiversity?
As part of its 50th anniversary celebrations, UVic conferred Honorary Degrees on three eminent scholars in a series of Special Convocations. Dr. Vandana Shiva received the degree of Honorary Doctor of Laws prior to her President’s Distinguished Lecture.
View Dr. Vandana Shiva's Special Convocation
View Dr. Vandana Shiva's President's Distinguished Lecture
Dr. Vandana Shiva's Biographical Notes
Dr. Vandana Shiva is a physicist, eco-feminist, philosopher, activist and author who has almost singlehandedly changed the way the world thinks about food security and environmental sustainability.
In the 1970s she participated in the movement dubbed Chipko (from the Hindi word for embrace) along with other villagers (mostly women) in the Indian region of Uttarakhand. They expressed their opposition to commercial logging by hugging trees to prevent them from being cut down. Their tactic gave rise to the term “tree-hugger.”
In 1982, Shiva initiated the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology for high quality, independent studies of ecological and social issues in partnership with community groups and social movements. The foundation spawned the organic farming program Navdanya, the Bija Vidyapeeth (or Seed University, International College for Sustainable Living), and Diverse Women for Diversity.
Navdanya (named for nine crops that represent India’s collective source of food security) supports local farmers, rescues and conserves crops and plants, and promotes the rejuvenation of indigenous knowledge and culture. It has built awareness about the risks of genetic engineering and it has its own seed bank and 20-acre organic farm in northern India.
Shiva has also contributed intellectually and as an activist in the areas of intellectual property rights and biodiversity and she has helped campaigns against genetic engineering in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Ireland, Switzerland and Austria.
She has published hundreds of scholarly articles and papers in addition to more than a dozen books, including: Water Wars, Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge and Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of the Global Food Supply.
Her numerous awards include the Right Livelihood Award (or “Alternative Nobel Prize”) and the Early Day International Award of the United Nations.
Shiva has the remarkable power – in her academic research, grassroots activism and community engagement – to inspire change and to empower others through her optimism, strength and unwavering determination.