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Linda Swana

2017 Fellow

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“You have to start with Ámala, which is, you have to start by loving it: the world, your community, your country – and then start working from there. Then, the noise around you stops being of violence, of problems, of what we can’t do – and it starts being of what we can do, what we have achieved, and how the country is changing bit by bit.”

Linda Swana is rallying a citizen’s movement in Guatemala. A 36-year civil war left the country divided, so she decided to link diverse groups who share a common belief: only active citizens can move Guatemala forward. Linda promotes civic engagement and citizen-driven movements for social change through initiatives like GuateÁmala and Youth Against Violence.

With her guidance, everyday citizens transform their goodwill for Guatemala into concrete action. Linda recently published a toolkit “to activate Guatemala,” she says. In it, she shares real life methods to empower grassroots leaders and promote national dialogue on issues that matter most. She wants people to recognize their own power and plans to awaken citizen participation across Guatemala.