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Rigoberta Menchu-Tum is a tireless and courageous voice for the rights of indigenous people—and for us all. Even the devastation of her own family by government forces did not deter Menchu-Tum from organising an effective resistance. Her 1983 biography was an international sensation, and in 1992 she won the Nobel Peace Prize. Events that celebrate human dignity and perseverance invite Menchu-Tum to deliver unforgettable keynote addresses.
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Born into poverty and repression, human rights speaker Rigoberta Menchu-Tum leads a continuing effort to secure indigenous rights. A riveting public speaker, Rigoberta Menchu-Tum delivers her message of courage, dignity and also perseverance to audiences around the world.
As a child, Rigoberta Menchu-Tum picked coffee beans with her family on plantations across Guatemala. Members of the Quiche branch of the Mayan culture, the Menchu-Tums were subject to harassment both from plantation owners and from government officials. Menchu-Tum’s parents refused to accept their fate, as did Rigoberta.
As a teenager, Menchu-Tum was active in the women’s rights movement, and also joined social-reform efforts sponsored by the Catholic Church. After her father was imprisoned and tortured on suspicion of guerrilla activities, he joined the Committee of the Peasant Union. The CUC, as it was commonly known, was Guatemala’s most effective indigenous resistance organization, and Rigoberta soon joined as well.
Within two years, her father and brother were each killed by government security forces. Her mother was arrested and tortured soon thereafter, and died as a result. Menchu-Tum redoubled her efforts with the CUC, learning a range of Mayan languages along with Spanish to facilitate her activism. After leading strikes and demonstrations in the early 1980s, she joined the radical 31st of January Popular Front.
Her tragic family history spurred Menchu-Tum to flee Guatemala in 1981, after she rose to prominence as a resistance leader. From Mexico, she organized an international movement to secure indigenous peasants’ rights. After co-founding the United Representation of the Guatemalan Opposition, she wrote the international blockbuster I, Rigoberta Menchu. In effect, the book cast a global spotlight on indigenous rights, and on the crisis in Guatemala.
In 1992, Menchu-Tum became the first indigenous recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, and at the time the youngest as well. UNESCO named her a Goodwill Ambassador in the same year. Additionally, Spain awarded her the 1998 Prince of Asturias Prize, and Mexico named her to the Order of the Aztec Eagle.
Menchu-Tum has risked her life several times by returning to Guatemala. However, she continues to advocate for human rights, economic and political equality, and resilience against climate change.
Even today, where the media seems to tell us everything and nothing is left unknown, human rights continue to be violated in much of the world. Now imagine what was happening more than 30 years ago and the atrocities and human rights violations that were done without being stopped by anyone.
In this keynote speech, the youngest winner at the time of the Nobel Peace Prize, Rigoberta Menchú-Tum will speak about her experiences defending the rights of the indigenous tribes of Guatemala. It will also teach us about the importance of the fight for human rights, the search for justice that all those who have been mistreated deserve and the persecution of those who have violated the human rights of others and who have gone unpunished must face.
Rigoberta Menchú-Tum, known worldwide for being the winner of the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize and who actively participated in the signing of peace agreements between the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unit and the Government of Guatemala, will deliver this crucial speech about peace and its vital importance.
In this keynote speech, audiences will learn the impact of implementing a culture of peace has on a society, how it can greatly help the improvement in the development of a country and how it can change the mentality of its citizens and future generations. With several examples and motivational stories, the speaker Rigoberta Menchú will allow us to understand the real value of a culture of peace.
Of indigenous descent, specifically from the K'iche tribe, Rigoberta Menchú-Tum is one of the people who has most defended the human rights of indigenous people around the world. Proof of this is the Nobel Peace Prize she received in 1992 or being named Goodwill Ambassador by the UN and UNESCO.
In this conference, Rigoberta will introduce attendees to the identity and values of indigenous populations, so often neglected, demonstrating all the values and teachings that they can bring to the world. Rigoberta will talk about the importance of defending their rights and will encourage the audience to help them in their defense since many times their voices are not heard enough.
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