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Atossa Soltani, Founder of Amazon Watch

Atossa Soltani—a forest campaigner, storyteller, indigenous rights and Amazon rainforest expert—is founder and board president of Amazon Watch and director of global strategy for the Amazon Sacred Headwaters Initiative. Since 1991, she has built global alliances resulting in groundbreaking victories for biodiversity, indigenous rights, and corporate social responsibility.

Amazon Watch is an international NGO dedicated to protecting the rainforest and advancing indigenous peoples' rights in the Amazon Basin. Atossa also served as the first executive director from 1996 to 2014.

At Amazon Sacred Headwaters Initiative Atossa is helping lead a just ecologic-economic transition based on indigenous principles of harmony and reciprocity focused on flourishing communities and ecosystems. Sacred Headwaters is building an alliance of indigenous peoples, nonprofits, philanthropic community, social entrepreneurs, and governments. Led by 20 Amazonian indigenous nations of Ecuador and Peru with longtime NGO allies Fundación Pachamama, Amazon Watch, and the Pachamama Alliance, it is working to establish a binational region protecting 74 million acres of the most biologically diverse ecosystems on Earth.

Prior to Amazon Watch, Atossa directed Rainforest Action Network campaigns that helped end clear-cut logging in British Columbia and convince Hollywood studios to end the use of tropical hardwoods on movie sets.

Atossa is the Hillary Institute's 2013 Global Laureate for Climate Leadership and the 2015 Hillary Step Prize recipient for a joint initiative with Mike Brune of the Sierra Club to leave fossil fuels in the ground. She served on the board of trustees and was board chair of The Christensen Fund, a San Francisco-based foundation supporting stewards of biocultural diversity, and served on the advisory boards of Peru-based Arkana Alliance and the InterAmerican Clean Energy Institute.

A skilled media strategist, photographer, and filmmaker, she is currently producing a feature-length documentary film, The Flow, about learning from, and aligning with, nature's genius.

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