Location & dates Virtual 4 - 5 Nov 2020
Deadlines Registration closed

EMBL Courses and Conferences during the Coronavirus pandemic

With the onsite programme paused, many of our events are now being offered in virtual formats.

Registration is open as usual for many events, with back-up plans in place to move further courses and conferences online as necessary. Registration fees for any events affected by the COVID-19 disruption are fully refundable.

More information for participants of events at EMBL Heidelberg can be found here.

Benki Piyãnko
Community leader of Apiwtxa, Brazil

Protecting the Amazon, the environment and the rights of indigenous peoples


Ancestors of the Incas, the Ashaninka are an indigenous group of approximately 100,000 people in Brazil (in the state of Acre) and Peru. Living in the Amazon, they are deeply connected with nature and actively live by their own ancestral traditions. They represent one of the biggest indigenous group in South America and are one of the few who have managed to keep their autonomy and ancestral knowledge alive, despite external attempts of cultural, economic, and spiritual colonialism.

The Ashaninka political and spiritual leader Benki Piyãko will tell us about his experiences with agroforestry and cultural activism. He will tell us the story of his people and how they’ve managed to live for centuries in the heart of the Amazon, coexisting in harmony with nature, defending their culture and the forest. He will share the cosmovision of his people and his ideas to overcome the challenging moments that humanity is facing while turning it into an opportunity to accomplish a collective transformation.


Benki Piyãko is a Political and Spiritual leader of the Ashaninka in the Amazon. He fights to protect nature and the rights of indigenous people in the Amazon. Born in 1974, Benki is the son of the cacique (chief of the Ashaninka) and a white mother. From an early age, he was trained by his grandfather to assume the role of "Pajé": the one who owns and passes on the ancestral knowledge of traditions and medicines to the community. With his father and brothers, Benki engaged in peaceful resistance against external colonisation of the Amazonian Territories. In addition to protecting the Amazon and the environment, Benki fights to protect indigenous people’s rights.