Fellow Since 1988
Ashoka commemorates and celebrates the life and work of this deceased Ashoka Fellow.
This profile was prepared when Francisco Mendes was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1988.
Chico Mendes was elected to the Fellowship in November 1988. On December 23 of that year, this gentle, extraordinary colleague of ours was murdered outside his home by gunmen hired by a local cattle rancher. Ashoka wrote the following profile in November. Chico has been mourned across the globe for who he was, what he has done, and what he symbolized. But because his chief focus was on what he was setting out to do, we have left his profile as it was written when he was elected. Set apart by his gentle, courageous way, Chico Mendes is easily perceived as a Gandhi of the Amazon. He is (and for twenty-five years has been) a rubbertapper. Seeing that both the Amazon and its several million people are at risk, he has set himself the difficult, dangerous task of organizing the region's peoples.
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