Inspiring Speakers from Around the World


Offering plenary talks, workshops, participatory conversations and more, these inspiring visionaries and change-makers from Ladakh and abroad will come together to critically examine the global economy and explore systemic strategies for change that work for people and planet

Plenary Speakers

Stanzin Dorjai Gya, Ladakh

Stanzin is a filmmaker and the founder of the Himalayan Film House in Leh. He has directed and produced notable feature films and documentaries, including the internationally acclaimed and multi-award-winning documentaries, The Shepherdess of the Glaciers and Jungwa: The Broken Balance. Stanzin comes from the village of Gya, and like other children of this village, Stanzin had a semi-nomadic childhood. In 1995, unable to pass the necessary standardised tests to complete high school, Stanzin began attending an alternative school, SECMOL (Students Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh), where the non-traditional setting and creative teaching ignited his passion for film. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at Jammu University in 2005. Read more about Stanzin here.


Tsering Stobdan, Ladakh

Holds a PhD in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology from Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi. Tsering is a leading Senior Scientist at DIHAR - Defence Institute of High Altitude Research, Leh. He has carried out extensive research on native food and medicinal plants in the Himalayas and is involved in the development of appropriate agro-technologies, such as passive solar heating for year-round vegetable production. His research has appeared in over 50 national and international journals, two monogram and 20 book chapters. He has played a central part in the elaboration of The Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council's Organic Mission Document for Ladakh. 

Afsar Jafri, India

Afsar Jafri has been working on agricultural issues for decades and has written extensively on the ill effects of the “green revolution”, international trade, GMOs, IPRs and patents, and about agroecology and food sovereignty as the alternative to the agrarian crisis in Asia. Afsar has long been associated with farmers´ groups in South Asia. He advises La Via Campesina member-groups and other farmer-unions in India on these issues.  He was involved for a decade with the grassroot organisation Navdanya, founded by Dr. Vandana and has worked with Focus on the Global South - an Asian activist think tank - for 13 years. Afsar presently works with GRAIN, an international NGO that supports small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiverse food systems. 

Manish Jain, Udaipur, India

Manish is a leading voice for the regeneration of diverse local knowledge systems, cultural imaginations, and the deschooling of our lives. He is the Co-Founder and coordinator of the Udaipur-based Shikshantar: The Peoples’ Institute for Rethinking Education and Development, and the co-founder of some of the most innovative educational experiments in the world:  Swaraj University, the Jail University, the Creativity Adda, the Learning Societies Unconference, the Walkouts-Walkon network, Udaipur as a Learning City, and the Families Learning Together network. He recently helped to launch the global Ecoversities Network. Manish is the editor of several books on learning societies, unlearning, gift culture, community media, and tools for deep dialogue. Read more about Manish here.

Helena Norberg-Hodge, Australia/UK

Helena is the founder and director of Local Futures. A pioneer of the ‘new economy’ movement, she has been promoting an economics of personal, social and ecological well-being for more than thirty years. She is the producer and co-director of the award-winning documentary The Economics of Happiness, and the author of Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh, described as “an inspirational classic”. She was honoured with the Right Livelihood Award (or ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’) for her groundbreaking work in Ladakh, and received the 2012 Goi Peace Prize for contributing to “the revitalization of cultural and biological diversity, and the strengthening of local communities and economies worldwide.” Read more about Helena here.

Satish Kumar, UK

A former monk and long-term peace and environment activist, Satish Kumar has quietly been setting the Global Agenda for change for over 50 years. He is the Editor of Resurgence Magazine and the author of several books. Satish has been the guiding spirit behind a number of  internationally-respected ecological and educational ventures, including Schumacher College in South Devon, UK, where he is still a Visiting Fellow. He continues to teach and run workshops on reverential ecology, holistic education and voluntary simplicity and is a much sought-after speaker both in the UK and abroad. Read more about Satish here

Gloria Germani, Italy

Gloria Germani graduated in Western and Eastern philosophy from the University of Florence, the University of Pisa, and New York University, and has devoted her writings and activism to the subject of the colonization of the imagination. She's the author of Mother Teresa, Gandhi and Ethics in Action which has been published in India, Italy and Brasil. She is an expert on Tiziano Terzani (the Italian journalist who settled in India) and coordinates the Alice Project Universal Education School (India) in Italy. She is involved in both the localisation and degrowth movements and has organized two Economics of Happiness Conferences in Italy (Florence 2016 and Prato 2018).

Rebecca Martusewicz, USA

Rebecca is a Professor in the Department of Teacher Education at Eastern Michigan University.  For over 20 years, her focus has been on EcoJustice Education and activism, providing educators with the information and classroom practices they need to help develop citizens who are prepared to support and achieve diverse, democratic, and sustainable societies. She is the author/co-author of several books on ecojustice, including , Art, EcoJustice, and Education, (2019) and EcoJustice Education: Toward Diverse, Democratic and Sustainable Communities (2011, 2015). Rebecca has worked with others in the United States, Canada, Europe and beyond to address these issues and has recently been awarded the position of Docent in the School of Education at the University of Tampere in Finland. Read more about Rebecca here.

Ashish Kothari, India

Founder-member of Indian environmental group Kalpavriksh, Ashish taught at the Indian Institute of Public Administration, coordinated India’s National Biodiversity Strategy & Action Plan process, served on Greenpeace International and India Boards, helped initiate the global ICCA Consortium, and chaired an IUCN network dealing with protected areas and communities. Ashish helps coordinate the Vikalp Sangam and Global Tapestry of Alternatives processes, in search of alternative well-being pathways to globalized development. He has (co)authored or (co)edited over 35 books, including Churning the Earth: Making of Global India (with Aseem Shrivastava), Alternative Futures: India Unshackled (ed., with KJ Joy), and Pluriverse: A Post-Development Dictionary (ed., with Ariel Salleh, Arturo Escobar, Federico Demaria, Alberto Acosta).

Keibo Oiwa, Japan

Keibo is a cultural anthropologist and leading environmental activist in Japan. He is also a filmmaker, public speaker and author/co-author of over 50 books. He teaches at Meiji Gakuin University and is the founder of The Sloth Club – an NGO that promotes slow and sustainable living. The Sloth Club, coupled with Keibo's book Slow is Beautiful: Culture as Slowness, have encouraged a new appreciation of rural life and a simpler way of living, with community and nature the focus. Keibo has organised several successful Economics of Happiness conferences in Japan in collaboration with Local Futures. Read more about Keibo here.

Seetha Ananthasivan, Bangalore, India

Seetha is the founder trustee of K.N.A.Foundation, aimed at fostering inner and outer ecological wisdom, and Bhoomi College, an inspiring learning centre in Bangalore committed to the co-creation of meaningful and empowering learning environments to address challenges in both education and sustainable living. Bhoomi College runs short, medium and long courses. It forms part of the Bhoomi network, which includes the Bhoomi Gurukul for Organic Farming at Gumalapuram, Tamil Nadu and the Sharavathi Rainforest Education Centre, Karnataka. Seetha is also the editor of the Eternal Bhoomi magazine and the Founder of the Aastha Foundation and the Prakriya Green Wisdom School. Read more about Seetha and Bhoomi here.


Workshop Presenters and Facilitators

Alex Jensen

Alex is Project Coordinator and Researcher at Local Futures. He works in the USA and India, where he coordinates Local Futures’ Ladakh Project. Alex has worked with cultural affirmation, agro-biodiversity and environmental health projects in a number of countries, and is active in the environmental health/anti-waste and degrowth movements. He is part of on the core group of the Vikalp Sangam/Alternatives India initiative and the emerging Global Tapestry of Alternatives – an initiative aimed at facilitating collaboration amongst alternative and social/ecological justice movements around the world. He holds an MA in Globalisation and International Development from the University of East Anglia.

Henry Coleman, Australia

Henry got involved with Local Futures at the age of 15, after questioning conventional development and the global consumer culture. He has worked with the organisation in India and Australia since 2015. He helps to coordinate Local Futures’ projects in Ladakh, runs workshops on ‘The Economics of Happiness’ and ‘Big Picture activism’ and gives talks about localisation. Henry writes articles on these issues for various publications. In 2017, he co-founded Wildspacean experimental community learning space in New South Wales, Australia.

Anja Lyngbaek, Denmark/Mexico

Anja is an Associate Programmes Director of Local Futures and coordinator of the International Economics of Happiness Conferences Series. Anja holds degrees in Rural Resource Management and Agroforestry and has worked extensively to further sustainable local food systems. In Costa Rica, she researched small-scale organic coffee production, in the UK she helped start the first local food advocacy programme, and in Mexico, she co-founded Microcuenca del Rio Citlalapa AC – a local NGO focused on agroecology and eco-design, as well as several learning initiatives for sustainable living. For the past decade, Anja has been advocating for a systemic shift towards healthy place-based economies. She gives talks and run workshops on these issues.