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Elizabeth Virkina Swanson Andi

2024 Fellow

Impact Storyteller, Iyarina Center for Learning

United States

Focus Areas

Climate Action

Eli Virkina is a passionate audiovisual storyteller, advocate for Indigenous Rights/Climate Justice, and community organizer from the Venecia Derecha Kichwa Community on the Napo River in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Through the Iyarina Center for Learning, her family-led initiative, she dedicates herself to preserving Indigenous languages and culture while exploring equitable and sustainable solutions for the future of the Amazon Rainforest. Along with her family, she safeguards key forests of bio-cultural significance with a focus on fostering “sumak kawsay,” the Kichwa philosophy of “living well” where families and forests are taken care of and take care of each other—key to this are women, caretakers, and givers of life. 
As an Impact Storyteller at If Not Us The Who? and co-founder of the Youth Collective in Defense of the Amazon Rainforest, she envisions a harmonious and sustainable future rooted in the understanding that we are all interconnected with nature and recognizes the shared responsibility to care for each other. Her work is a testimony to the future in which she envisions humanity is intricately connected with nature, fostering harmony and sustainability. Inspired by the land and people who shaped her, she uses the power of storytelling and relationship-building to bridge the world of Indigenous knowledge and technology with Western Science to amplify and implement community and nature-based solutions aiming to shape a world guided by resilient storytelling and positive transformation.