March 2, 2007
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—Rigoberta Menchú, Guatemalan Indian leader and 1992 Nobel Peace Laureate, will give a talk on “Healing Communities Torn by Racism and Violence” at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 29, in Johnson Chapel at Amherst College. Free and open to the public, the event is sponsored by Amherst’s Mayo-Smith-Read Trans-Disciplinary Fund.

Born in Chimel, Guatemala to a Quiché-Maya indigenous family, Menchú has devoted her life to ethnic and cultural reconciliation based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples. After witnessing members of her family arrested and killed by the Guatemalan army, she joined activist groups like the Committee of the Peasant Union (CUC) to campaign against human rights violations by the military during Guatemala’s 36-year civil war. In 1982 she founded the United Representation of the Guatemalan Opposition (RUOG) while exiled in Mexico. The subject of the internationally known biography I, Rigoberta Menchú, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992 and is a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. Menchú recently formed an indigenous political party and announced her intention to run for president of Guatemala in September of 2007, with the desire to represent her country’s 13 million indigenous residents, who represent 42 percent of the country’s population.