Right Livelihood Award Laureates in Conversation, 2019

Right Livelihood Award
Laureates in Conversation

Conversations that matter between UCSC faculty and
Right Livelihood Award laureates, winners of the
“Alternative Nobel Prize” for implementing
practical solutions to the root causes of global problems

Spring 2019 | Thursdays 3:30-5:00 PM Pacific

RSVP requested

Join via Zoom or in-person at the
Santa Cruz Institute for Social Transformation
Social Sciences 2 Room 150

Each session will begin with a brief presentation from the laureate, followed by Q+A and dialogue hosted by the faculty. 


Thursday, May 23, 2019 - Chico Whitaker Ferreira - World Social Forum and Current Affairs in Brazil <<Click here to RSVP>>

Chico Whitaker Ferreira - Brazil, 2006 Right Livelihood Award Laureate "...for a lifetime's dedicated work for social justice that has strengthened democracy in Brazil and helped give birth to the World Social Forum, showing that 'another world is possible'."

Francisco (‘Chico’) Whitaker Ferreira is a Roman Catholic activist, who has worked for democracy and against corruption throughout his life, both at home and in exile. He is one of the key people behind the burgeoning World Social Forum. A devout Catholic, Whitaker inspires his work in the liberation theology, while maintaining close ties with the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, a body linked to the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil.

In 1964 Chico joined the opposition movement against his country’s military regime. In 1966 the military forced him into exile with his wife Stella and their four children. Until his return in 1982, he lived and worked in France and Chile as a researcher and advisor for UNESCO, among other organizations. Whitaker has founded many successful electoral reform movements including the "Plenaries for popular participation" which presented 122 amendments to the Brazilian constitution, with 12 million signatures. He also sits as the Commission for Justice & Peace representative on the National Committee of the Movement Against Electoral Corruption. 

In 2000 Whitaker co-founded the World Social Forum, which has been held every year since that date, and in 2005 attracted 150,000 participants. The idea was to hold a large conference event, a parallel to the World Economic Forum in Davos, to share the various insights of those from around the world who were working for alternatives to “world domination by capital, within the parameters of neoliberalism.” The slogan was “Another World is Possible”. The idea was taken forward by eight leading Brazilian organisations, operating by consensus. Whitaker received the Right Livelihood Award in 2006, and is the author of two books about the World Social Forum. Today, Whitaker is a member of the WSF International Council, representing it in the Brazilian Commission on Justice and Peace, and serves on the Advisory Board of the non-profit organization WikiLeaks.

Host: Matthew Sparke - Professor of Politics

Click here to RSVP

Co-sponsored by the Institue for Social Transformation, and Research Center for the Americas.




Previous sessions

Thursday, April 18, 2019 - Tony Rinaudo - Re-greening Degraded Landscapes: Farmer-Managed Natural Regeneration

Tony Rinaudo - Australia, 2018 Right Livelihood Award Laureate "...for demonstrating on a large scale how drylands can be greened at minimal cost, improving the livelihoods of millions of people."

The Australian agronomist Tony Rinaudo is known as the “forest maker”. Having lived and worked in Africa for several decades he has discovered and put in practice a solution to the extreme deforestation and desertification of the Sahel region. With a simple set of management practices farmers regenerate and protect existing local vegetation which has helped to improve the livelihoods of millions. 

Rinaudo has pioneered a technique that involves growing up trees from existing root systems which are often still intact and which Rinaudo refers to as an “underground forest”. By choosing the right plants and by pruning and protecting them in a certain way they soon grow into trees. Rinaudo realised that if it was people who had reduced the forest to a barren landscape it would require people to restore it. Changing attitudes has been key to Rinaudo’s successful work. 

Rinaudo’s Farmer-Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) method has restored 50000 km2 of land with over 200 million trees in Niger alone. It has the potential to restore currently degraded drylands with an area the combined size of India. What Rinaudo has created is much more than an agricultural technique he has inspired a farmer-led movement regreening land in the Sahel region.

Host: Karen Holl - Professor of Environmental Studies


Thursday, May 16, 2019 - Manfred Max-Neef - Human-Scale Development: Economics as if people mattered 

Manfred Max-Neef - Chile, 1983 Right Livelihood Award Laureate "...for revitalising small and medium-sized communities through 'Barefoot Economics'."

Manfred Max-Neef is a Chilean economist who has gained an international reputation for his work and writing on development alternatives. In addition to a long academic career, Max-Neef achieved an impressive minority vote when he stood as candidate in the Chilean Presidential election of 1993. He was subsequently appointed Rector of the Universidad Austral de Chile in Valdivia.

After teaching economics at the University of California (Berkeley) in the 1960s, he served as a Visiting Professor at a number of US and Latin American universities. He has worked on development projects in Latin America for the Pan-American Union, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the International Labour Office.

In 1981 he wrote the book for which he is best known, From the Outside Looking In: Experiences in Barefoot Economics, published by the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, Sweden. It describes his experiences as an economist attempting to practise ‘economics as if people matter’ among the poor in South America. In the same year he set up in Chile the organisation CEPAUR (Centre for Development Alternatives).

Host: Chris Benner - Professor of Sociology & Environmental Studies



For more information or questions, email David Shaw, Right Livelihood College Academic Coordinator