Myrna Cunningham

President
Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)

Myrna Cunningham (also known as Mirna) is a Miskita feminist and Indigenous rights activist from Nicaragua. She served as the Chairperson of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues until 2012, and she is the current president of the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID). Myrna is the first Miskito doctor in Nicaragua. She worked as a general practitioner and then as a surgeon until 1979. After the Sandinista revolution, she worked in the Ministry of Public Health and later became the first woman governor of the Waspam autonomous region. She helped negotiate several peace agreements after the conflict in Nicaragua, setting the stage for the Law of Autonomy of the Indigenous Peoples and Ethnic Communities from the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua in 1987. She also helped create the first autonomous regional government. She served as the Deputy of the Autonomous Region of the North Atlantic Coast in the National Assembly. Myrna was a member of the Board of Directors of the Global Fund for Women and advised the Alliance of Indigenous Women of Mexico and Central America, the Continental Network of Indigenous Women, and the International Indigenous Women’s Forum. The human rights organization MADRE awarded Cunningham the Woman of Distinction Award in 2012.