Meet 8 of the Indigenous leaders bringing their wisdom to Davos 2023

Davos 2023 ; Over 70 indigenous leaders and indigenous knowledge holders engage across the Forum’s multistakeholder platform.
Over 70 indigenous leaders and indigenous knowledge holders engage across the Forum’s multistakeholder platform.
Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto
  • Indigenous leaders are bringing their wisdom and expertise to Davos – from nature action to sustainable trade to mental health.
  • Representing 5% of humanity, Indigenous communities steward 80% of Earth’s biodiversity and are key stakeholders in reversing biodiversity loss.
  • Over 70 indigenous leaders and indigenous knowledge holders engage across the Forum’s multistakeholder platform.

Despite comprising 5% of the world population, Indigenous people protect 80% of the Earth's biodiversity. Through their long-standing stewardship of the environment, Indigenous leadership and knowledge are critical to finding meaningful solutions to the climate crisis, reversing biodiversity loss and advancing a more sustainable relationship with our planet.

The World Economic Forum’s 2023 Annual Meeting will host Indigenous leaders from around the world to join other leaders in fostering cooperation in a fragmented world.

From stronger government policies on ecosystem restoration — highlighted in the most recent White House guidance for US federal agencies — to more informed corporate practice on sustainable trade, recognising and advancing Indigenous knowledge will enable societies to make greater impact on today’s global challenges.

The intergenerational cohort of Indigenous leaders attending Davos 2023 reflects the perspectives of long-standing and next-generation leadership.

Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim

President, Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad

Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim is an expert in the adaptation and mitigation of indigenous peoples to climate change. She is a member of the Mbororo pastoralist people in Chad and President of the Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad (AFPAT).

Image: Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim

Oumarou Ibrahim is an advocate for the greater inclusion of indigenous people and their knowledge and traditions in the global movement to fight the effects of climate change.

She received the Pritzker Emerging Environmental Genius Award and was appointed as a United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Advocate. She also serves as a Member of the United Nations Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues; Member of the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee (IPACC); Member of the Advisory Committee to the Secretary-General’s 2019 Climate Action Summit; and Conservation International Senior Indigenous Fellow.

Watch Hindou in these livestreamed Davos sessions or in person:

Helena Gualinga

Co-Founder, Indigenous Youth Collective of Amazon Defenders, Ecuador

Image: Helena Gualinga

Helena Gualinga is an Ecuadorian environmental and human rights activist from the Kichwa Sarayuku community in Pastaza, Ecuador.

She has become a spokesperson for the Sarayuku indigenous community, using her voice and platform to expose and raise awareness of the conflict between oil companies and her community in local schools and the international community.

Watch Helena in these livestreamed Davos sessions or in person:

Fawn Sharp

President, National Congress of American Indians, US

Image: Fawn Sharp

Fawn R. Sharp serves as the 23rd President of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native tribal government organization in the country. President Sharp is the current Vice President of the Quinault Indian Nation in Taholah, Washington, after being a five-term past-President.

She received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Washington in 1995 and has subsequently received certificates from the National Judicial College at the University of Nevada and in International Human Rights Law at Oxford University.

Watch Fawn in these livestreamed Davos sessions or in person:

Maickson dos Santos Serrão

Vice-Curator, Manaus Hub, Brazil

Image: Maickson dos Santos Serrão

Representing the Forum’s Global Shaper Manaus Hub in Brazil, Maickson is a climate activist and community leader who believes that local movements can bolster the preservation and restoration of the Amazon.

Maickson organizes community-led actions at the local, state and federal level directed at government actors, agribusiness and the public, in an effort to prevent the Amazon from reaching an irreversible tipping point.

Watch Maickson in these livestreamed Davos sessions or in person:

Aslak Holmberg

President, Saami Council, Finland

Image: Aslak Holmberg

Aslak Holmberg has for the past decade worked with Sámi and indigenous issues through NGOs, Sámi parliament, as well as through activism and academia. He is currently the president of the Saami Council, which is the largest and oldest international Sámi Indigenous organization, working in fields such as human rights, culture, knowledge production and environmental policy.

Mr. Holmberg is a fisher, teacher and holds a master’s degree in Indigenous studies. Indigenous rights and knowledge are at the core of his work across various fields.

Watch Aslak in these livestreamed Davos sessions or in person:

Fernanda Zelada Rosal

Global Shaper, Guatemala City Hub, Guatemala

Image: Fernanda Zelada Rosal

Representing the Forum’s Global Shaper Guatemala City Hub, Fernanda founded the first NGO on epilepsy in Guatemala at the age of 17 to provide support and raise awareness for the over 50 million people battling the disease around the world.

As part of the Global Shapers Community, she addresses issues of inclusion of people with disabilities, interreligious and cultural dialogue and climate action.

Watch Fernanda in these livestreamed Davos sessions or in person:

  • Dinner: Custodians of Our Planet in Davos

Jocelyn Formsma

Chief Executive Officer, National Association of Friendship Centres, Canada

Image: Jocelyn Formsma

Canada-based Jocelyn Formsma is the CEO of the National Association of Friendship Centres, Board Member of the Indigenous Bar Association, advisor to the Ontario Indigenous Youth Partnership Project and recently appointed as a Board of Trustee of the Canadian Museum of Human Rights. Formsma is a member of the Moose Cree First Nation in Northern Ontario, Canada.

She holds an Honours Bachelor of Social Sciences and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Ottawa and has over 20 years of work and volunteer experience building strong relationships and advocacy on behalf of indigenous peoples.

Watch Jocelyn in these livestreamed Davos sessions or in person:

Harmony Jade Sugaq Wayner

Vice-Chair, Arctic Youth Network, US

Image: Harmony Jade Sugaq Wayner

Harmony Jade Sugaq Wayner is a tribal member of Naknek Native Village, a commercial fisher in the Bristol Bay salmon fleet and a marine scientist focused on sustainable rural food systems to promote indigenous values and well-being in Alaskan villages.

She is the Vice-Chair of the Arctic Youth Network, an Arctic Frontiers Emerging Leader, an Indigenous fellow for the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee and an Alaska Sea Grant Fellow. She is most passionate about elevating the voices of Indigenous communities in Alaska by integrating western science and Indigenous knowledge to promote sustainable societies.

Watch Harmony in these livestreamed Davos sessions or in person:

As part of the Forum’s Civil Society Communities, the Forum’s Indigenous Leaders community engages Indigenous leaders and Indigenous knowledge holders in order to shape the insights, discussions and impact of the Forum’s multi-stakeholder platform and initiatives. Visit to learn more about the Forum’s engagement of indigenous leaders.

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