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Dialogues with civil society: a conversation with Mirna Cunnigham

Making their voices heard

Please join us for our third CSO dialogue this coming Wednesday 15 May from 1-2 pm in the Iran Room (B116 bis). FAO has the pleasure of welcoming Mirna Cunningham, current chair of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

Proposed agenda

Moderator: Marcela Villareal, Director of the Office of Communication, Partnerships and Advocacy

Opening remarks

Points for discussion:

  • Permanent Forum’s key issues for 2013-2014 and linkages with FAO’s work;
  • Entry points for greater FAO engagement on these matters;
  • Perspectives on Strategic Objective 1: establishing enabling environments: creating spaces for meaningful participation of civil society actors among them indigenous peoples
  • International Year of Family Farming 2014: opportunities for indigenous peoples’ participation

We look forward to a vibrant and rich discussion.  

The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) is an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), with a mandate to discuss indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights. The next session of the Permanent Forum will be held from May 20-31 in New York.  FAO will be sending a delegation and hosting two side events.  

Mirna Cunningham, a doctor of medicine by profession, has been the Chair of the UN Permanent Forum of Indigenous Issues for the last two years (period 2011-2013). Cunningham is an Indigenous Miskita woman from the community of Waspam, located on the banks of the Wangki River in Nicaragua. Cunningham  was the founding director of the University of the Autonomous Regions of Nicaragua’s Caribbean Coast, otherwise known as URACCAN. URACCAN was one of the first Latin American institutions of indigenous and intercultural higher education. In 2001 she was named “Hero of Health in the Americas” by the Pan American Health Organization for her work on issues of intercultural health and traditional medicine.  She was Secretary General of the Indigenous Inter-American Institute; is a member of the Board of Directors of the Global Fund for Women and serves as an advisor to three international indigenous organizations: the Alliance of Indigenous Women of Mexico and Central America, the Continental Network of Indigenous Women and the International Indigenous Women’s Forum (FIMI).   Cunningham is currently President of the Center for Autonomy and Development of Indigenous Peoples (CADPI), an organization working on  intercultural communication, cultural revitalization, indigenous women’s rights; and climate change and its impact on indigenous communities.