David Zheng

A month into his time at Yale, World Fellow and Ecuadorian diplomat Diego Tituaña has already announced his first initiative — a workshop series on indigenous rights called “The United Nations and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Series 2019.”

The initiative consists of two workshops at Yale followed by a day-long trip to the United Nations on Oct. 11. Sixteen undergraduate, graduate and professional students can participate free of charge, thanks to sponsorships from the Native American Cultural Center and the Ethnicity, Race, & Migration Program.

“[The series] is an exciting opportunity for students to learn about and network with professionals working on global indigenous issues,” Matthew Makomenaw, director of the Native American Cultural Center and assistant dean of Yale College, said in an email to the News. “The Native American Cultural Center strives to maintain a permanent and prominent indigenous presence at Yale that incorporates and supports the success of future leaders and this opportunity helps support that initiative.”

Tituaña joined the World Fellows program after working at the Permanent Mission to the United Nations since 2014. In addition to his advocacy work for human rights and disarmament, Tituaña rallied for indigenous rights and worked as a facilitator for the United Nations Resolution on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Upon beginning his time as a World Fellow, Tituaña said he was impressed by student interest in indigenous studies and wanted to develop initiatives related to indigenous people. The program aims to bring Yalies to the Third Committee meeting of the General Assembly, which is slated for Oct. 11. While the planning time was very short, he received help from students and faculty members, Tituaña said.

“The objective with the students is that I would like to encourage them to get involved in international discussion about indigenous people, because it’s really important that they can be part of this international struggle and fight that we have,” Tituaña said.

While the visit to the UN would be exciting, Tituaña said he felt that students would appreciate learning more about indigenous rights. He designed two workshops meant to provide this context –– one on Oct. 4 and the other on Oct. 9.

In the first workshop, participants will learn broadly about global indigenous rights and the basic workings of the UN. The second workshop will be led by Elsa Stamatopoulou –– the director of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Program at Columbia University and former head of a forum on indigenous issues at the UN. She will visit Yale to speak about the history of indigenous rights.

“We need to be aware of indigenous people living in a country originally inhabited by indigenous people,” Stamatopoulou said.

Tituaña’s six student liaisons — undergraduate students selected to aid in Fellows’ work for the year — helped him advertise and plan the program.

Like the 16 participants selected, the student liaisons will accompany the group to the UN and help facilitate the trip.

“I’m most excited to actually sit down in a General Assembly session, just because it’s making something tangible,” student liaison Eamonn Sullivan ’22 told the News. “The United Nations is something that you hear of, and then all of a sudden you’ll actually have the opportunity to be there and see it.”

Applications for the program are due Sept. 27.

Amelia Davidson | amelia.davidson@yale.edu

Madison Hahamy | madison.hahamy@yale.edu