The Advisory Board of NESFAS and its staff welcomed Pius Ranee as the new Executive Director of NESFAS. He succeeds Dr. Melari Nongrum who returns to Martin Luther Christian University as the Dean, School of Social Work.
With eight years in NESFAS, a lifetime with his community in Nongtraw village in East Khasi Hills District of Meghalaya, and schooled by his energetic mother in the art of defending and promoting their local food system, Pius Ranee “ is a perfect fit to be the Executive Director of NESFAS” according to Phrang Roy, Chairman of NESFAS. Pius Ranee was the first Khasi youth to have visited the Artic village of Jokkmokk in Sweden, together with his mother representing Nongtraw at the First Indigenous Terra Madre of Slow Food International. He was there to share ideas on how to develop food secure indigenous territories and how women in Nongtraw village managed to be part of the all-male Village Dorbar. The selection of an indigenous rural youth to be the Executive Director of NESFAS is particularly noteworthy given that in 2018, NESFAS was acknowledged by the Global Alliance for the Future of Food as one of the 21 Global Beacons of Hope out of an international survey of 128 similar organisations.
Pius Ranee started his professional career as an Intern with Dwar Jingkyrmen and the Voluntary Health Association of Meghalaya in 2010/2011. He was amongst the first four staff members of NESFAS when it was established in 2012. Since then, he has represented NESFAS in meetings in Italy, the Philippines, Kenya and Northern Thailand. He was the unanimous choice of the Board of NESFAS and is expected to bring to the table a background of indigenous heritage, post graduate studies in Social work and nearly a decade of global exposure and mentoring by the Advisers, Consultants and networks members of NESFAS and the Rome based Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty (TIP). He has a deep personal and practical understanding of the importance of local food for food and nutrition security of indigenous communities, He has been actively promoting the Agroecology Learning Circles, an innovation of NESFAS where traditional knowledge and contemporary agroecology practices are proactively promoted.
As one of the bricklayers of NESFAS, Pius Ranee played an important part in the first of its kind of festival and conference hosted in North East India, the Indigenous Terra Madre (ITM) of 2015.
In 2017, Pius Ranee was selected as one of the Founding Fellows of TIP’s Indigenous Youth Fellowship Programme hosted by Bioversity International, Italy. In 2018, Pius Ranee, a former TED-X speaker, also participated in a TIP’s Retreat held in Rome, Italy for Indigenous Leaders to review TIP’s Fellowship Programme approach. He also participated at the Slow Food International’s Terra Madre and delivered a talk on the importance of Indigenous Food Systems during different thematic sessions at Turin, Italy. He also contributed on the importance of the millet network and participated at the 2020 Global Learning Exchange held in Karnataka in February this year. The AgroEcology Fund, USA, organized this international gathering.