Dr. Rigoberta Menchú Tum, a Maya K’iche’ woman, was born in the Laj Chimel village, San Miguel Uspantán, El Quiché, to parents Vicente Menchú Perez and Juana Tum K’otoja’.  She is an outstanding social leader and has been involved in social initiatives and the recognition of women rights from a young age on. She has participated in the struggles of social movements in the 80s and 90s, in particular in the defence of indigenous peoples and denunciation of grave violations of human rights; she spearheaded the continental campaign of 500 years of resistance; she has contributed towards promoting the respect for human rights with several national and international organisations. Furthermore, she has an extraordinary track record in the region’s peace talks.


Among the many awards she has received, the following stand out: the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992, the decoration of “Legion of the Highest Honour of Command” in 1996, the Prince of Asturias Prize of International Cooperation in 1998, the decoration of the “Order of the Aztec Eagle” in 2010, the Rubén Dario Cultural Order in 2010, the Ibero-American José Martí Prize in 2002 and more than 30 doctorates Honoris Causa conferred by prestigious universities in Latin America, Europe and Asia, as well as other international awards for her contribution in the search for and preservation of peace among peoples.


With the Nobel Peace Prize, she set up the Rigoberta Menchú Tum foundation, which she presides over for life, and which has been her national and international work platform for the past 24 years.  As Nobel Peace Prize laureate, she has been the voice of indigenous peoples in international settings. Supported by leaders of indigenous peoples in Latin America, she has advocated the proclamation of the International Year of Indigenous Peoples and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples within the United Nations.


Likewise, she has tirelessly worked for the benefit of women and young people. She is Vice President of the “Menchú Tum, Towards a Culture of Peace” association; founding member of the Nobel Women’s Initiative; active member of the PeaceJam foundation; founding member and member of the National Executive Committee of the Politic Association of Mayan Women of Guatemala (MOLOJ) as well as Extraordinary Researcher and holder of the Extraordinary Rigoberta Menchú Tum Chair at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).


Rigoberta Menchú Tum has written 7 children’s books, in which she promotes the ancient teachings of indigenous peoples, as well as books about culture of peace, including her biography “Me llamo Rigoberta Menchú, y así me nació la conciencia” (My name is Rigoberta Menchú, and this is how my conscience was born). Her most recent book “K’aslemalil – Vivir. El Caminar de Rigoberta Menchú Tum en el tiempo” (K’aslemalil – Live. The walking of Rigoberta Menchú Tum in time) was published in December of 2014, its second edition in December of 2015.