Sharon Austin hails from Guyana. She brings over 10 years of experience working on Indigenous issues. Prior to joining Nia Tero, Sharon led the Amazon Cooperation Strategic Agenda on Indigenous Affairs through an inter-governmental organization (ACTO), which addresses various issues on Isolated Indigenous Peoples, protection of traditional knowledge, lands and territories of Indigenous Peoples and other tribal communities in Amazon countries. She also worked in various capacities in government and international development organizations on Indigenous issues in the Amazon.
Sharon is committed to supporting Indigenous Peoples/communities because she strongly believes that there is much to learn from Indigenous Peoples and that Indigenous cultures and territories are vital to saving our planet.
Nia Tero’s Representative in Brazil
Francinara Soares, or Nara Baré as many know her, is a mother, daughter, wife, granddaughter, sister, woman, and Indigenous person from the Baré Indigenous People, from the Alto Rio Negro Indigenous Land in the state of Amazonas, Brazil. The region – known as "dog's head" – in the triple border between Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela, is inhabited by 23 Indigenous Peoples. Nara currently lives in the city of Manaus with her family and whenever possible, she returns to her ancestral territory.
In her professional life, Nara has worked in several institutions: public, private, non-governmental organizations, and Indigenous organizations. In each one of them, she learned, exchanged experiences, and contributed – whether as an administrative assistant at the Federation of Indigenous Organizations of Rio Negro (FOIRN), project manager at the Institute for Sustainable Development for Indigenous Populations (INDASPI) or in the financial administrative area, as a collaborator, in the German Technical Cooperation GIZ, among others.
Nara was part of a historic milestone for the Indigenous movement in Brazil, working at the forefront of the political management of COIAB (Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon) for nine years, and was elected the first woman to assume the leadership of the entity, serving as General Coordinator from 2017 to 2022. With the other members of the executive, deliberative, and fiscal council, she implemented a “management shock,” strengthening the organization by removing the institution from its default and status quo, resuming and expanding partnerships and financing, inclusion and strengthening of the network COIAB (grassroots organizations, young communicators, Indigenous lawyers), and the creation of the Indigenous Fund of the Brazilian Amazon (PODÁALI), among other accomplishments.
Her Indigenous, environmental, and territorial activism became essential for the struggle to guarantee Indigenous rights and lives. This is a part of the life story of the warrior Nara Baré, where her university is the Indigenous movement, and her teachers are the masters and old masters. Kuekaturete!
Nia Tero's Representative in the Andes Amazon
Joel is Kichwa from the Ecuadorian Amazon and leads Nia Tero's partnerships in Ecuador. He has years of experience in Indigenous Peoples-related processes at the United Nations level, including the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the United Nations General Assembly, and different processes on the Sustainable Development Goals and Climate Change. Joel's first-hand experience and long-standing familiarity – both at a professional and personal level – with the international Indigenous Peoples’ movement have contributed to his role as a bridge and articulator between Indigenous Peoples and different stakeholders.
Joel holds a B.A. in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in International Relations with a focus in International Development and Conflict Resolution at American University, in Washington, D.C. He is an avid soccer fan and enjoys spending his free time reading, hiking, and at the gym.
Carmen Rosa Guerra Ariza
Carmen is a Kankuama Indigenous woman from Atanquez, Colombia, a mother, and a human rights defender. She is from the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta – the Heart of the World – and is a lawyer, specializing in constitutional law and project management for development.
Carmen has accompanied and advised national dialogue and consultation scenarios in Colombia, focused on the development of public policies for the Indigenous Peoples in her country. With deep experience and knowledge in human rights and Indigenous Peoples, she has participated in the construction of peace agendas for the Indigenous Peoples in Colombia and the analysis of the armed conflict and its effects on Indigenous Peoples.
Senior Director, Amazonia
Based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Daniela has worked for the last 25 years with communities worldwide, in the Amazon, Africa and Asia. Prior to Nia Tero, Daniela led the Climate and Land Use Alliance’s (CLUA) programs in Brazil – a collaboration of the Ford Foundation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, ClimateWorks Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and Margaret A. Cargill Foundation to mitigate climate change in the forest and land use sectors.
She was a Program Officer for South America for the CEPF (Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund) and has extensive experience in philanthropy, working alongside social movements, Indigenous Peoples, NGOs, and others who support human rights, climate, and nature conservation programs.
Valeree is a public policy and project management professional with years of experience in the Philipine Presidential Management Staff. Additionally, she is a Political Science and English teacher. Valeree is also involved in sports for development initiatives, especially in using sports for diplomacy and to amplify Indigenous messages.
Lysa is a Brazilian social communicator with over 20 years of experience working with environmental NGOs and private foundations. Throughout her experience she has developed program management and project coordination skills, in addition to researching, writing, and partnership management. She has supported a number of programs with local communities in the Amazon, Cerrado, and Atlantic Forest.
Maria Fernanda Ribeiro
Amazonia Lead, Communications
Maria Fernanda is Brazilian journalist, and she is passionate about the Amazon and the people of the forest. She has been working in communications with a focus on Indigenous Peoples since 2016 with the aim of sharing and strengthening all the culture, music, and art coming from the communities of the Amazon.
Jennifer Tauli Corpuz
Managing Director, Policy
Jennifer, better known as Jing, is from the Kankanaey-Igorot people of Besao, Mountain Province, in the Philippines. She is trained as a lawyer and currently leads Nia Tero's Global Policy and Advocacy work, bringing her almost 20 years of expertise and networks from engaging in various United Nations and other global processes relevant to Indigenous Peoples and their rights.
Most recently, Jing was part of the negotiating team of the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB) that successfully advocated for the inclusion of language supportive of Indigenous Peoples' rights in key sections, goals, and targets of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.
Training the next generation of Indigenous policy advocates and leaders is a core feature of her team's work, because conducting these trainings is a key pathway for ensuring that victories at the global level are understood and implemented at the national level, with the ultimate goal of ensuring that positive impact is felt at the level of Indigenous territories.
Managing Director, Communications
Bruno Weis is a journalist from São Paulo, Brazil. He has been working with communications and activism for Indigenous rights and environmental protection since 2004. Before joining Nia Tero, he was the Communication Coordinator at Greenpeace Brasil and Instituto Socioambiental (ISA). Throughout this journey, Bruno has had the honor of supporting Indigenous leaders and getting to know their communities and territories on a path of learning and transformation.