Vandana Shiva, physicist, philosopher and activist, was born in the city of Dehradun, located at the bottom of the Himalayas. She is known as an eloquent speaker and provocative writer that fights for people's rights. She holds a master's degree in particle physics and in 1978 completed her Ph.D. in the philosophy of science.
Dr. Shiva founded the Navdanya system of agriculture that conserves agricultural diversity. It places the farmer at the center of conservation and empowers him or her to take control over the political, ecological and economic aspects of agriculture.
Born to a father who was the conservator of Forests and a farmer mother with a deep love for nature, Vandana Shiva received her first lessons on environment protection in the lap of Himalayas. A student of St Mary?s School in Nainital and later of Convent of Jesus and Mary, Dehradun, Vandana Shiva had always aspired to be a scientist since childhood. But particle physics soon raised questions in her mind regarding its Impact on Life and the environment. And thus began Vandana Shiva?s passionate affair with the environment.
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.
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.
The area of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) and Biodiversity is another area where Dr. Shiva has contributed intellectually and through campaigns.
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 has helped movements in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Ireland, Switzerland and Austria with their campaigns against genetic engineering.
Dr. Shiva?s contributions to gender issues are nationally and internationally recognised. Her book, ?Staying Alive? dramatically shifted he 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 of food, agriculture, patents and biotechnology called, Diverse Women for Diversity. The movement was launched 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. She has also founded Bija Vidyapeeth, the Schumacher College in India.
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 Netwok.