With a broken heart and extreme sadness, we have to inform you all that our beloved Chair of the Board, Khadija Catherine Razavi, passed away on Saturday, 16 April 2022.
Catherine was an outspoken, strong, and unwavering voice for the non-human environment and an essential advocate for the continuous existence of indigenous peoples and local communities and the integrity of their territories. Catherine worked tirelessly, steadfastly, and she was resolved in her belief that Iran already has ancestral knowledge and culture that ensure food security and sovereignty, sustainable use of water resources, conservation of pastures, and many other aspects of life.
She was a warm and loving mother, friend, grandmother, and project leader. Our beloved Catherine walked step by step with nomads in their summering and wintering grounds across Iran. Catherine considered environmental protection to be an integral part of the lives of local communities, especially nomads, and a process of sustainable development and crucial for the survival of all people in the country. She loved all the cultural manifestations of indigenous peoples and local communities; she considered them symbols of the identity of the Iranian societies. Our dear Catherine saw beyond the constraints of development and the seeing nature as a thing to be dominated over. She never failed to remind us that our native and indigenous knowledge was far more valuable and effective for the cultural survival of Iranian societies, languages, and ceremonies. Mother Nature has lost one of its most dedicated advocates.
Khadijah Catherine Razavi and Mohammad Taghi Farvar established the Centre for Sustainable Development and Environment (CENESTA). Through it, hundreds of facilitators and experts in the field of social and sustainable development were trained, dozens of environmental projects were implemented, including wildlife protection, sustainable livelihoods, poverty alleviation, combating desertification and degradation of Land, food security and sovereignty, stabilisation of social structure and empowerment of local communities, especially nomadic tribes. She stood firm and tall against voices that would pollute the native strands of agricultural crops as well as schemes for invading important biodiversity sites such as Miankaleh and Ashuradeh.
CENESTA understandably will take some time to come to terms with this sad news. In the meantime, we remember her love, her tireless work as a voice for the rights of local small-scale farmers, and send our love and thoughts to her family and friends. We are determined to honour her rich legacy and continue her struggle.
Please use this page http://www.cenesta.org/fa/razavi/ to leave any messages of condolence or share any memories or photographs.
Lady of Water and Peace, your death has increased the pain of Iran`s environmental friends and local and indigenous peoples and has plunged your friends into endless sorrow. What bitter news!
But such living must be celebrated! Lady of Spring, your concern for a better and greener tomorrow will be our mission for the days without you.
Unassuming teacher! Will the ocean end? Will the glory of your gaze be forgotten for a better tomorrow?
Your children, your students, colleagues, and your friends are so accustomed to your green message for the soil, water, and lives in this land that your name and memory and what you have taught us will be engraved line by line in our lives forever.
Blessed be your name!
The glory is yours!
On behalf of the CENESTA Family
Photo: Khadija Catherine Razavi in the field. Source: CENESTA.