Anuradha Mittal, Founder-Executive Director of Oakland Institute gets 2022 Feyerabend Award
Oakland, California, November 10: Anuradha Mittal, Founder-Executive Director of Oakland Institute had bagged the 2022 Feyerabend Award. Established in memory of philosopher of science, Paul K. Feyerabend, the “Paul K. Feyerabend Award — A World of Solidarity is Possible” recognizes exemplary individuals, communities or organisations that bring about crucial and lasting change for solidarity within or between communities.
Anuradha Mittal proudly shares this recognition with her fellow 2022 laureate, Josefina Antonieta Tunki Tiris, the first woman President of the Shuar Arutam people of Ecuador, courageous defender of her territory and of life in the face of the polluting mining industry.
For over three decades, Anuradha Mittal has been a powerful voice for those rendered voiceless by their own governments, relentlessly challenging failed development models and exposing corrupt governments and corporations. She has persistently advocated meaningful systems change, uplifted impacted communities, and championed their dignity, lives, and livelihoods. Since 2004, she has led the Oakland Institute, which uses rigorous research and advocacy to defend the human rights of the marginalized and advance socio-environmental justice around the globe.
For over three decades, Anuradha has been a powerful voice for those rendered voiceless by their own governments, relentlessly challenging failed development models and exposing corrupt governments and corporations. She has persistently advocated for meaningful systems change, uplifted impacted communities, and championed their dignity, lives, and livelihoods. Driven by a deep sense of justice and global solidarity, Anuradha started as a student activist in India, challenging the ‘development’ projects that displace and destroy lives with the fearlessness and rigor that were to become the foundation of her life’s work. After moving to the United States in the 1990s and working with the global civil society movement, she focused upon challenging the takeover of food systems by western industrial corporations through ‘a new green revolution’ in Africa and multilateral trade agreements. In 2004, she founded the Oakland Institute, designed to use rigorous research and advocacy to defend the human rights of the marginalized and advance social and environmental justice around the globe. Through her leadership, the organization has fought against land grabs in dozens of countries in all continents.
The Oakland Institute’s approach is uniquely distinct among Northern-based organizations. Anuradha insists that the Institute’s work begins only when a request is received from impacted communities to assist in their struggle and collaborate with them. Under Anuradha’s leadership, the Institute has exposed and halted numerous ‘investment’ deals that would have had devastating impacts on the basic human rights, livelihoods, and territories of indigenous peoples and rural communities. As powerful economic interests are driving dispossession of lives and the ecological degradation of the planet, Anuradha has been unafraid to challenge these interests and lead investigations that derailed land grabbing.
Among her successful outcomes is the case of Agrisol, an agro-industrial company from Iowa. Having secured the largest land deal in Tanzania, Agrisol would have displaced 162,000 villagers for an agro-fuel project. Anuradha’s investigative research and multi-year advocacy campaign resulted in the project being shelved and villagers keeping their land (see the Dan Rather program on this story, featuring Anuradha’s interview). Similarly, Anuradha’s research and activism around the largest land deal in South Sudan, halted plans by a US firm (headed by a former US diplomat) to steal one million hectares of land from villagers returning after the civil war. In another instance, she mobilized student groups and concerned citizens in the West to divest from investments resulting in landgrabs. Consequently, the Harvard University Endowment and Vanderbilt withdrew from the investment firm engaged in this land grabbing scheme.