I received my Master’s Degree in Environmental Geography from Université Lumière Lyon 2, France. My thesis was on ecosystem services provided by the Mithi River in Mumbai, India. During my thesis, it seemed clear to me that I needed to deepen my understanding on how citizens are connecting with nature in different recesses of the world, what benefits we are taking from nature, and how we are making decisions to manage and take care of it.
This led me to collaborate with the ICCA Consortium, an international association representing hundreds of indigenous peoples and local communities that aims at promoting an appropriate recognition of territories and areas conserved by indigenous people and local communities (ICCAs). I have worked with the consortium for many years now. It gave me the opportunity to meet outstanding individuals struggling for the defence of not only their territories, but their culture, wellbeing and health of future generations. I was lucky to get familiar with and facilitate the participation of many indigenous and community representatives in many high level instances such as the Convention on Biological Diversity mechanisms, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights of the UN, and others. Working with the ICCA Consortium also gave me opportunities to focus on national and local levels in Iran and also in Ecuador, where I lived for several years. I joined an association called “la Universidad Popular del buen vivir” (the popular university of wellbeing), through which I was able to develop more field work and lead communication and political empowerment workshops, especially with youth. We worked exclusively by using popular education methods, permitting and encouraging the participation of everyone present. We worked with peasant federations, local and indigenous communities, striving to weave ties between city and countryside, strengthening pride and solidarity, and providing access to debate.
Now based in France, I am continuing this path toward how to promote democracy as such, with a wide range of public, deepening my knowledge on popular education. I am also now concentrating my work on gender issues and ICCA, nature and protected area governance. I am striving to place power back in the hands of citizens for a healthy and dignified world, promoting cultural and biological diversity, embracing the complexity of each one of the steps we make toward this.
To finish, and possibly encompass what is said above, sports and art have been omnipresent in my life, and more recently in my political struggle. They provide unmissable means of expression and communication on the one hand, and health and humility on the other hand. I have practised circus arts since I was 5 years old, theatre since I was 9, and climb mountains, go rock climbing and practice yoga as often as I can.