Wide angle photo of people gathering in the main United Nations meeting room in New York City.

Policy Apprenticeship

Strengthening Indigenous organizations influencing global policies

The Policy Apprenticeship Program seeks to strengthen Indigenous organizations in influencing global public policies that are applied at the regional, national, and local levels, directly and indirectly impacting their territories.

The Indigenous delegates who are part of this program have two approaches: 1) Leaders & Mentors, and 2) Apprentices.

This structure was developed considering that topics and scenarios reviewed (UNFCCC, CBD, UNPFII and others) are highly complex, specialized, and require – on the one hand, the Indigenous experience of those who have participated in them, and on the other hand, the learning process of those who will carry out the follow-up and promote advocacy processes from their organizations.

  • Indigenous Leaders and Mentors: With their experience in advocacy and territorial, national, and global work, they will support the learning process imparted with a practical scope.
  • Indigenous Policy Apprentices: Having a leadership role in their territories and organizations, the Policy Apprentices have been delegated as liaisons to strengthen collective knowledge on the specialized topics reviewed in the training.

It is important to highlight that the Policy Leaders and Apprentices in this program are part of the Amazonian organizations of their countries (5 in total): Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, and Suriname.

Learn more about each of the leaders and apprentices, as well as their organizations, below.

Meet the Policy Apprenticeship Leaders and Apprentices


Organización Nacional de los Pueblos Indígenas de la Amazonía Colombiana/National Organization of the Indigenous Peoples of the Colombian Amazon (OPIAC)
Julio César López Jamioy

Julio César López Jamioy

Indigenous Leader | President of OPIAC | Inga | Instagram | Twitter

Julio Cesar López Jamioy is an Indigenous leader from Putumayo, belonging to the Inga People. He is the former president of the Zonal Indigenous Organization of Putumayo - OZIP, and is currently President and General Coordinator of the National Organization of Indigenous Peoples of the Colombian Amazon - OPIAC.

He is a graduate of the National University of Colombia’s school of law, with extensive knowledge and experience working with grassroots Indigenous political and traditional authorities and in advocacy in national and international instances for the protection of the 64 Indigenous Nations of the Colombian Amazon.

Belkys Herrera Mejia

Belkys Herrera Mejia

Policy Apprentice | Murui | Twitter

Belkys Herrera Mejía is an Indigenous leader of the Murui people of the department of Caquetá. Belkys holds a master's degree in education. She is a pedagogue with experience in intercultural educational processes, community training, construction and coordination of public policies.

She has been a member of the National Working Commission for the Coordination in Education for Indigenous Peoples - CONTCEPI, a member of the Native Languages Advisory Council in Colombia, and Coordinator of Education of OPIAC. She is currently a delegate to the Amazon Regional Table (MRA).

Dixon Alexander Andoque Mendoza

Dixon Alexander Andoque Mendoza

Policy Apprentice | Andoke

Dixon Alexander Andoque Mendoza is an Indigenous leader of the Andoque people of the department of Caqueta. He began his leadership processes defending the rights of Indigenous Peoples at the age of 22, as the Departmental Secretary of Indigenous Peoples, where he was a representative of departmental Indigenous victims.

Currently, he advises the General Coordination of OPIAC, is Coordinator of Human Rights of CRIMA, and is finishing his studies in Business Administration at the University of the Amazon.


Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas de la Amazonia Ecuatoriana/Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon – CONFENIAE
Raquel Nemo Andy Guiquita

Raquel Nemo Andy Guiquita

Indigenous Leader | Director of the Women, Family, Health, and Nutrition of CONFENIAE | Waorani | Instagram

Nemo Andy Guiquita is an Indigenous woman of the Waorani Nation, and an activist and defender of her territory. She studied business administration, and is currently the Director of the Women, Family, Health and Nutrition Department of CONFENIAE, Vice President of the Waorani Nationality of Ecuador-NAWE, and Coordinator of Waorani Women AMWAE.

Indira Vargas Guatatuca

Indira Vargas Guatatuca

Policy Apprentice | Kichwa

Indira Vargas is an Indigenous woman of Kichwa nationality from Pastaza – a subsidiary of CONFENIAE. She is also a part of the ECMIA Indigenous youth commission. With a degree of tourism engineering from the Amazon State University, is a communicator at the Indigenous radio station La Voz de la CONFENIAE, and is a digital lancer. Indira Vargas recognizes herself as a defender of human rights and nature. She is co-founder of the Awana Colectiva.

Oswando Gahuae Nenquimo Pauchi

Oswando Gahuae Nenquimo Pauchi

Policy Apprentice | Waorani | Instagram

Oswando Nenquimo (Opi) was born in the Nemonpare community, located in the Ecuadorian Amazon. He is a Waorani leader and activist, the main spokesperson for Waorani Resistance, and a human rights and nature defender. He is the co-founder of “Alianza Ceibo” (Ceibo Alliance) and coordinates the foundation’s Control and Surveillance Monitoring for the Waorani territory protection efforts.

From 2015 to 2018, Opi led the Waorani’s most important initiative: creating a Waorani territory map in collaboration with Indigenous communities. This initiative contributed to Waorani territory defense, the halting of petroleum exploitation, and the achievement of the Waorani’s legal status as an Ecuadorian state.

Opi is currently studying law to further defend the Waorani people and territories in the face of government and private sector natural resource exploitation and human rights violations against Ecuador’s Indigenous communities.


Amerindian Peoples Association
Laura George portrait COP15

Laura George

Indigenous Leader | Governance and Rights Coordinator | Kapong/Akawaio | Instagram

Laura George is an Indigenous woman of the proud Ka’pon nation, also known as the Akawaios of the forested highlands in Guyana. Laura is currently the Governance and Rights Coordinator at the Amerindian Peoples Association (APA), an advocacy group for the rights of Indigenous Peoples in Guyana, and works with a team to ensure that the rights of Indigenous Peoples are represented in areas of projects, programs, legislation, and policy development.

Prior to joining the APA as a full-time staff member and advocate for Indigenous Peoples' rights, Laura was a formal educator for children. She serves as Focal Point for four Indigenous organizations on the National Implementation Working Group (NIWG) to lend oversight on the implementation of Guyana’s Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union on its Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) program. Laura George also sits on the Multi-Stakeholder Steering Committee of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS 2030), representing the APA.

Rehanna Thomas

Rehanna Thomas

Policy Apprentice | Akawaio | Instagram

Rehanna Thomas, of the Akawaio nation in Guyana, is an Indigenous Youth Policy Intern at the Amerindian Peoples Association - APA. She recently completed her Bachelor's degree in Social Work. She is a vibrant young woman who seeks to address the inequalities faced by Indigenous Peoples in Guyana.

Dan James portrait COP15

Dan James

Policy Apprentice | Wapichan

Dan James is a proud Indigenous youth of the Wapichan nation, born in 1998. With a strong educational background, he attended Queen's College and earned a diploma in Communication Studies from the University of Guyana.

He has worked at the Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) for 6 years. Starting as a Data Manager, he become a Field Mapping Technician and Policy Assistant. Dan has also made a valuable contribution as a consultant for the Forest Peoples Programme, where he spent a year on a pilot project.


Asociación Interétnica de Desarrollo de la Selva Peruana/Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Jungle – AIDESEP.
Tabea Casique Coronado

Tabea Casique Coronado

Indigenous Leader | Secretary of AIDESEP | Ashéninka | Facebook

Tabea Casique Coronado is a leader who was born in the Ashaninka community in Chicosa, in the province of Atalaya department of Ucayali, Peru. From a very young age, Tabea Casique stood out in her community for her participation in diverse community assemblies. Her desire to serve led her to leave her community at the end of secondary school to study technical nursing at the Public Technological Institute of the Province of Atalaya. At the same time, she worked for the Secretary of the Regional Indigenous Organization of Atalaya (OIRA).

She was elected as Secretary of AIDESEP and Coordinator of the Area of Education, Science and Technology of COICA, where she works presently. Tabea was involved in the officialization of the Asheninka language, and the Ministry of Culture considered her an official interpreter of Asheninka.

Wilfredo Tsamash Cabrera

Wilfredo Tsamash Cabrera

Policy Apprentice | Awajún | Facebook

Wilfredo Tsamash Cabrera was born in the Bajo Naranjillo Native Community, of Awajun Indigenous nationality. He studied at the National Agrarian University of the Jungle - UNAS - TINGO MARIA. He was president of the Federation of Students of the National Agrarian University of La Selva - FEUNAS. He has also worked with the Bajo Naranjillo Native Community, the Awajún Regional Indigenous Federation of Alto Mayo (FERIAAM), and as the Coordinator for the Development and Defense of the Indigenous Peoples of the San Martin Region (CODEPISAM), contributing to the strengthening of federal and regional organizations. He is currently the President of CODEPISAM, representing three Indigenous Peoples – Awajún, Shawi, and Kichwa – with more than 128 native communities.


Vereniging van Inheemse Dorpshoofden in Suriname/Association of Indigenous Village leaders in Suriname – VIDS
Shylina Lingarard

Shylina Lingaard

Policy Apprentice | Arowak/Lokono

Shylina Lingaard is a young Indigenous woman who is part of the Lokono tribe in Suriname - the most forested country in the world. She was born and raised in the capital, Paramaribo, where she studied Sociology and always had a strong connection with nature. She holds great respect for the people who live in different biodiversities surrounded by natural resources, as well as people who have maintained and sustained their living areas, waters, animals, herbs, and medicines. She currently works at the Association of Indigenous Village Leaders in Suriname (VIDS), defending the rights, way of life, culture, and traditions of the Indigenous Peoples in Suriname.

Ivana Karin Vincke

Ivana Karin Vincke

Policy Apprentive | Kaliña

Ivana Vincke is a young Indigenous woman of the Kaliña Indigenous nationality in Suriname. She currently works with the Association of Indigenous Leaders of Suriname (VIDS) as a youth officer defending the rights of Indigenous Peoples and making their realities visible. She is a polyglot, who can speak Spanish, French, and Dutch.