OCAD University

OCAD welcomes 'environmental hero'

Dr. Vandana Shiva for free public talk


(Toronto — March 18, 2010) The Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) presents a free public talk by environmental activist and sustainable agriculture and biodiversity advocate Dr. Vandana Shiva as part of its President’s Speaker Series on Tuesday, April 6 at 7 p.m.

A renowned environmental activist, philosopher, eco-feminist and interdisciplinary researcher, Dr. Shiva is celebrated for her work supporting people-centred, participatory processes towards sustainable agriculture and genetic resources. Trained as a physicist at the University of Western Ontario, Shiva is now based in Delhi, India. After leaving Canada, she became a researcher working in the fields of science, technology and environmental policy at the Indian Institute of Science and the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore, India. In 1982, she formed the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy, an informal network of researchers working to articulate the knowledge and environmental struggles of Indian farmers. Through this foundation, Shiva established Navdanya, India’s largest network of seed keepers and organic producers aiming to conserve indigenous seeds, biodiversity and food sovereignty.

For more than 15 years, Shiva has campaigned on the ethical and ecological impacts of genetic engineering. She has also organized campaigns on bio-safety and helped to formulate a citizens’ response to the introduction of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture. Shiva, who started her work on biodiversity with the Chipko Movement in the 1970s, sees biodiversity as intimately linked to cultural diversity and knowledge diversity. To that end, she has campaigned nationally and internationally against “biopiracy” — the patenting of indigenous knowledge. Her book on the subject, Biopiracy, deals with the emerging corporate monopolies on the living resources of the poor.

Shiva has been instrumental in her work to exert pressure on the World Bank. 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 Organization (WTO) issues, especially those concerning intellectual property and agriculture. She is a founding Board member of the International Forum on Globalization, the citizens' group dedicated to monitoring and intervening on the impact of globalization. She is also currently leading the International Campaign on Food Rights, which represents the collective right to knowledge and food security.

Shiva’s book Staying Alive: Women, Ecology and Survival (Zed, 1989) has had an international impact. She was a co-chair of the 1991 World Congress on Women and Environment, and she edited “Women, Ecology and Health: Rebuilding Connections,” in Development Dialogue (1993), the publication of the Dag Hammarskjold Foundation. Shiva has also launched a global movement called Diverse Women for Diversity, for the defence of biological and cultural diversity.

Shiva has written extensively, both to form and address the agenda of development debate and action. Her most recent publications include Earth Democracy; Justice, Sustainability, and Peace (South End Press, 2005); Manifestos on the Future of Food and Seed (Ed., South End Press, 2007) and Soil Not Oil (South End Press, 2008).

In 2003, Time magazine called Shiva an environmental hero, and Asia Week described her as one of the five most powerful communicators of Asia. Among her many awards are the Right Livelihood Award, the Order of the Golden Ark, the United Nations Global 500 Award and Earth Day International Award (1993), the Lennon Ono Grant for Peace (2008), and the Save The World Award (2009). She serves on the boards of many organizations, including the World Future Council, the International Forum on Globalization and Slow Food International.

President’s Speaker Series:
Dr. Vandana Shiva: "Soil not Oil: Earth's design in times of climate change"
Tuesday, April 6, 7 p.m.

Ontario College of Art & Design
Auditorium (Rm 190), 100 McCaul Street, Toronto
416-977-6000 | www.ocad.ca

All are welcome; admission is free. Limited seating available; guests are advised to arrive early.

About the Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD)
The Ontario College of Art & Design (www.ocad.ca) is Canada’s “university of the imagination.” OCAD is dedicated to art and design education, practice and research and to knowledge and invention across a wide range of disciplines. The university is building on its traditional, studio-based strengths, adding new approaches to learning that champion cross-disciplinarity, collaboration and the integration of emerging technologies. In the Age of Imagination, OCAD community members will be uniquely qualified to act as catalysts for the next advances in culture, technology and quality of life for all Canadians.

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For more information please contact:

Sarah Mulholland, Media & Communications Officer, OCAD
416.977.6000 Ext. 327 (mobile Ext. 1327)

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