Dr. Vandana Shiva is trained as a Physicist and did her Ph.D. 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 seeds. Navdanya sets up community seed banks, supports conversion to organic agriculture and is establishing direct producer-consumer links for food security and food safety. Navdanya has also helped establish ARISE, a national alliance for organic agriculture which is the most broad based and dynamic network to promote sustainable agriculture. 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.
Demystifying GATT, working with farmers to explain TRIPs and the Agreement of Agriculture are other dimensions of her work on Agriculture and Food Security. Her contributions range from fundamental intellectual breakthroughs to grassroots campaigns. The mobilisation of 5,00,000 farmers against GATT in 1993 was largely a result of her campaign work and training programmes for farmers organisations. She continues to monitor the impact of globalisation on food rights and on farmers for timely intervention.
The area of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) and Biodiversity is another area where Dr. Shiva has contributed intellectually and through campaigns. She played a pioneering role in linking IPRs to Biodiversity and Indigenous Knowledge and in evolving campaigns that linked TRIPs with the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). She also launched the idea of collective rights to defend indigenous knowledge and was the first to suggest that the sui generis option in TRIPs should be based on community rights and farmers rights.
The "Neem Campaign" and "Basmati Campaign" are other examples of her leadership in IPR and Biopiracy issues. 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 brought together scientists and activists through a conference on "Redefining the Life Sciences" which created a scientists group to support campaigns on genetic engineering. These scientists include Dr. Mae Wan Ho, Dr. Christine von Weisaecker and Dr. Brian Goodwin. She recently launched the global campaign against Monsanto at its Headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. She has helped movements in Ireland, Switzerland and Austria with their campaigns against genetic engineering.
Dr. Shiva’s contribution to gender issues are nationally and internationally recognised. Her book, "Staying Alive" dramatically shifted the 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 on food, agriculture, patents and biotechnology called, "Diverse Women for Diversity". The movement was launhced formally in Bratislava, Slovakia on 1-2 May 1998.
Dr. Shiva has been a visiting professor and lectured at the Universities of Oslo, Norway, Schumacher College, U.K. Mt. Holyoke College, U.S. and lectures at York University, Canada, University of Lulea, Sweden, University of Victoria, Canada, and Organisations and Institutions worldwide on environment, feminism and economic development.
Besides her academic and research contributions, Dr. Shiva has also served as an adviser 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.
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