Nobel Peace Laureate coming to Kalamazoo

Contact: Deanne Puca
Photo of Rigoberta Menchú Tum.


KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchú Tum is the featured guest at the Great Lakes PeaceJam Youth Conference Saturday and Sunday, March 25-26, at Western Michigan University.

Menchú will present a free, public talk on "An Indigenous Perspective: Protecting People and Planet" at 7 p.m. Friday, March 24, in Shaw Theatre at the Gilmore Theatre Complex on WMU's main campus in Kalamazoo. She will provide her thoughts on advocating for the rights of indigenous people specifically, and working toward racial reconciliation and human rights for all. A question-and-answer session will follow her talk. A suggested donation of $10 per guest is requested.

From 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 25, she will join high school students from Michigan, Illinois and Ohio in Sangren Hall's second floor atrium for a service project followed by a march to Goldsworth Valley Pond to show their support of protecting the water supply and keeping it safe.

Rigoberta Menchú Tum

Menchú won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work for social justice and ethno-cultural reconciliation based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples. She has firsthand knowledge of the 36-year civil war in Guatemala in which nearly 200,000 people were killed—90 percent reportedly at the hands of the military government. She advocated for the rights of Guatemala's indigenous population while enduring the systematic oppression of her people, including the murder of family members.

Over time, Menchú became widely known as a leading advocate of Indian rights and ethno-cultural reconciliation, not only in Guatemala, but also throughout the Western Hemisphere. She the first Mayan Indian candidate for the Guatemalan presidency.


PeaceJam is an international education program built around Nobel Peace Prize winners. Great Lakes PeaceJam, based in Kalamazoo, is administered by Seeding Change and supported through partnership with WMU. The organization serves youth in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Michigan. Learn more at

For more information on the March 24-26 events, contact Jennifer Weaver, Seeding Change board president, at or (269) 598-0686.

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