Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Raj Patel

Raj Patel is a British-born American academic, journalist, activist and writer who has lived and worked in Zimbabwe, South Africa and the United States for extended periods. He is best known for his 2008 book, Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System. His most recent book is The Value of Nothing which was on The New York Times best-seller list during February 2010.

Born in London to a mother from Kenya and a father from Fiji, Patel received a B.A in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, from Oxford, and a Masters Degree from the London School of Economics, and gained his PhD in Development Sociology from Cornell University in 2002. He has been a visiting scholar at Yale and the University of California, Berkeley. As part of his academic training, Patel worked at the World Bank, World Trade Organization and the United Nations. He has since become an outspoken public critic of all of these organizations, and claims to have been tear-gassed on four continents protesting against his former employers.

Patel was one of many organizers in the 1999 protests in downtown Seattle, WA, and has organized in support of Food sovereignty. More recently he has lived and worked extensively in Zimbabwe and in South Africa. He was refused a visa extension by the Mugabe regime for his political involvement with the pro-democracy movement. He is associated through his work on food with the Via Campesina movement, and through his work on urban poverty and resistance with Abahlali baseMjondolo and the Landless Peoples Movement.He has written a number of criticisms of various aspects of the policies and research methods of the World Bank and was a co-editor, with Christopher Brooke, of the online leftist webzine The Voice of the Turtle.

He is currently a visiting scholar in the Center for African Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, a Fellow at Food First, also known as the Institute of Food and Development Policy, and a Research Associate at the School of Development Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.

In 2007 he was invited to give the keynote address at the University of Abahlali baseMjondolo graduation ceremony. In 2008 he was asked to testify on the global food crisis before the House Financial Services Committee in the USA. In 2009 he joined the advisory board of Corporate Accountability International's Value the Meal campaign.

Patel became a US citizen on 7 January 2010.

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1 comment:

Seven Hills Real Estate on April 5, 2010 at 4:15 AM said...

Raj Patel is a remarkable man who has much to give to the world. I enjoyed his book, The Value Of Nothing. It is full of wonderful insights about the economic situations of people and of the world, the choices we make and what it does to our way of living. I would be most honored to meet him in person.

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