Dr. LUISA MAFFI
Dr. Luisa Maffi (PhD – Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley, 1994) is co-founder (1996) and Director of Terralingua (https://terralingua.org), an international nonprofit devoted to sustaining biocultural diversity. She pioneered the concept of biocultural diversity – the interconnectedness and interdependence of biological, cultural, and linguistic diversity – and plays a leading role in this integrative field of knowledge and action. She spearheads Terralingua’s projects, which span research, policy, education, and on-the-ground work. She is also the Editor of Terralingua’s flagship publication, Langscape Magazine, a unique venue for authentic biocultural stories, told by Indigenous and non-Indigenous people from all over the world who live and breathe the situations they describe.
With a background in linguistics, anthropology, and ethnobiology, Luisa has conducted fieldwork in Somalia, Mexico, China and Japan, as well as worked with First Nations in British Columbia. She has written extensively on the topic of biocultural diversity, including the foundational books On Biocultural Diversity: Linking Language, Knowledge, and the Environment (L. Maffi, ed., Smithsonian Institution Press, 2001) and Biocultural Diversity Conservation: A Global Sourcebook (L. Maffi and E. Woodley, Earthscan, 2010). She has held a US National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley (1994-1997) and a National Research Service Award fellowship from the US National Institutes for Health at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois (1997-2000). She was a Research Associate in the Anthropology Department at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois (1998-2003), and a Research Associate in the Anthropology Department at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. (1999-2004). She is an International Fellow of the Explorers Club (New York). In her work with Terralingua, she has been active in the international arena, promoting biocultural diversity policy and practice through collaborations with international organizations such as IUCN, UNESCO, UNEP, and the Convention on Biological Diversity.