Tania Eulalia Martinez Cruz

Indigenous activist and researcher

She is a water management specialist and social sciences researcher. She was born in Tamazulapam Mixe, an indigenous community in Oaxaca, Mexico. She received her B.Sc. in Irrigation Engineering from Chapingo Autonomous University (2009) in Mexico, a MSc. in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering from the University of Arizona (2012) in the U.S. and currently she is a PhD candidate in social sciences at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. In 2010, she became the first indigenous recipient of a Fulbright scholarship in Mexico for graduate studies. In 2016, she was awarded the National Youth Prize for academic achievement by the Mexican Government. Early in her career she worked in water management, biofuels production, ICT4D and irrigation technology transfer and agricultural extension in Mexico. Since 2012, she has worked in international development, collaborating with institutions like the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre, Value for Women, and the Oversees Development Institute for different projects in Latin America. Her research topics cover politics of knowledge and research; and processes of social inclusion/exclusion in technology-driven interventions in agriculture. She is also a social activist promoting the conservation of native seeds and traditional knowledge as key to the biocultural diversity of indigenous peoples. In 2018, she spoke these issues at the 1st High-Level Expert Seminar on Indigenous Food Systems at the FAO in Italy and in the Women in Science panel in the CUMIPAZ Peace Summit in Guatemala. She also presented her work in different institutions and conferences around the world. In addition, she gives talks to youth and children, specifically to girls, indigenous, migrant and other vulnerable backgrounds, to motivate them to pursue education; and she collaborates with pro-education NGOs.