Renowned activist Vandana Shiva headlines Soffa Lecture

Women have an opportunity to lead the way to a viable future, both locally and globally, according to Dr. Vandana Shiva, Director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology. Shiva, an internationally recognized activist in agriculture, gender, property rights and the environment, was on campus as the keynote speaker for The J. Jobe and Marguerite Jacqmin Soffa Lecture on April 27—an event that brings renowned women from throughout the world to UW–Madison to speak on contemporary issues of global significance, especially pertaining to international understanding and human rights.

Dr. Vandana Shiva
Dr. Vandana Shiva served as the speaker for the 2017 J. Jobe and Marguerite Jacqmin Soffa Lecture.

Shiva’s keynote speech, “Women Lead the Way: From Violence to Non-Violence, from Greed to Sharing, From Hate to Love,” spanned topics in agriculture, human rights, poverty and global cooperation. She highlighted not only the role of women in efforts to resist local globalization, but the need to act as a community.

“We need to move away from commodification everywhere into common-sense community,” Shiva said. “We will need it very much, no matter where you are. It is not just about peasants in the south. It is about the young people in this country, it is about the workers, it is about every place.”

The lectureship was made possible through the vision and generosity of Mrs. Marguerite Soffa. Mrs. Soffa, an alumna of the University of Wisconsin, earned her bachelor’s degree in 1946. Her late husband, J. Jobe Soffa, was a 1947 graduate of the Wisconsin School of Business.

The Soffa lecture supports regular lectures on contemporary issues of global significance. For more than a decade the lectureship has brought renowned women from across the globe to lecture and meet with classes. Holders of the lectureship have included well-known grassroots leaders in the struggle for human rights and international understanding.

“Over the years, this event has become a campus tradition that provides an opportunity for students, faculty and the community to draw inspiration and insights from the exemplary work and leadership of the holders of this lectureship,” said Richard Keller, associate dean of the International Division. “The International Division is proud to have worked alongside the family and campus partners to host these prominent human rights leaders and experts.”

This year’s event was also the keynote lecture of the 2nd Annual 4W summit on Women, Gender and Well-being.

The 2017 J. Jobe and Marguerite Jacqmin Soffa Lecture was sponsored by the Human Rights Program, Global Legal Studies Center, International Division, Center for Research on Gender and Women, 4W Initiative, and Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies Program (LACIS).