21 Mar Irma Alicia Velásquez Nimatuj
Irma Alicia Velásquez Nimatuj is a journalist, social anthropologist, and international spokeswoman. She has been at the forefront of struggles for respect for indigenous cultures. She was Executive Director of the Mecanismo de Apoyo a Pueblos Indígenas Oxlajuj Tzikin (Support Mechanism for Indigenous Peoples) (2005-2013). Dr. Velásquez Nimatuj is the first Maya-K’iche’ woman to earn a doctorate in Social Anthropology and she initiated the court case that made racial discrimination illegal in Guatemala. She has won numerous academic fellowships and awards for her journalism. She was a member of the Latin American Consulting Group of Indigenous Leaders for UNICEF and participates in the UN through the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. She also served as advisor on indigenous issues for the Latin American and Caribbean office of UN Women (2014-2015). She is the author of “Pueblos Indígenas, Estado y Lucha por Tierra en Guatemala” (2008) and “La pequeña burguesía indígena comercial de Guatemala: Desigualdades de clase, raza y género” (2002). She writes a weekly newspaper column in “El Periódico de Guatemala” and through both her political and academic efforts seeks to create viable and realistic ways to create equality for indigenous people and a truly participatory democracy in Guatemala.