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Maria Suarez Toro

María Suárez Toro is a feminist, journalist and human rights activist in local, national, regional and international arenas through her work as co-director of FIRE: Feminist International Radio Endeavour between 1991 and the present. She also worked as a human rights activist and literacy teacher at the grassroots level in El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras in the 1970s and 1980s...

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Maria Suarez Toro's Blog Introduction

Women, Media, AND... International Media

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Maria Suarez Toro's Biography

María Suárez Toro is a feminist, journalist and human rights activist in local, national, regional and international arenas through her work as co-director of FIRE: Feminist International Radio Endeavour between 1991 and the present. She also worked as a human rights activist and literacy teacher at the grassroots level in El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras in the 1970s and 1980s.

As co-director of FIRE, she has covered women’s perspectives on all issues at the global level, including UN Conferences since 1992, ranging from Rio de Janeiro, Vienna, Cairo, Beijing and Durban, and South Africa, to numerous other local, national and international conferences and events.

María was professor of communications at the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado (1998- 2002) and the Institute for Further Education of Journalists (FOJO) in Sweden (1995-2000).

Presently a PHD student in Educations al La Salle University in Costa Rica, she has a Masters Degree in Education from New York State University of New York and Graduate Degree (Licenciatura) in Journalism at the Universidad Federada San Judas Tadeo in Costa Rica.

María is editor and writer of Voices on FIRE, a bi-annual magazine published by FIRE since 2000. Her articles have appeared in international magazines such as People And The Planet, Women In Action of ISIS in The Philippines, Mujeres En Accion of ISIS in Chile, Mujer y Salud of the Health Network in Chile, Tamwa in Tanzania, Health Journal in South Africa, Brecha in Central America by CODEHUCA, among others.

Additionally, María is co-author of the manual Towards a Methodology for the Popularization of Women's Human Rights, published by The Decade of Human Rights Education in 1995. She is Producer and author of the Women's Adult Literacy Book for women banana workers in Golfito, Costa Rica, Universidad de Costa Rica and UNIFEM, 1988, and the producer and author of five adult literacy books for refugees in the Central American region between 1983- 1987, and the co-author of the book VENCIMOS (2 volumes) about the adult literacy campaign in Nicaragua in 1980.

Most recently, María has co-authored a groundbreaking book entitled, Se Vende Lindo Pais? (For Sale Lovely Country), which focuses on a controversial plan by a U.S. oil company to drill for oil off the Atlantic Coast of Costa Rica, and the grassroots democratic movement organized to stop it. The book, which includes the voices of women indigenous, black and other Costa Rican and European expatriates living along the coast. On behalf of the FIRE collective, María is author of Women´s Voices on FIRE, Anomaly Press, 2000. She also published Guin - Chilren of the War in El Salvador, a testimony about children in the war zones in El Salvador, 1993. Her essays have appeared in numerous books, including:

  • Co-author of the chapter “Giving Women a Voice in the Face of Globalization: A Case Study of Alternative Media in Costa Rica?” in the book Reclaiming the Future: Women´s Strategies Towards the 21 st Century (Somer Bodribb, 2000).

  • Co-author of the chapter “Recognizing and Realizing Women´s Human Rights” in the book The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Fifty Years and Beyond (Danili, Stamatoupolou and Dias, 1999).

  • Co-author of a chapter in Women Transforming Communications: Global Intersections (Allen, Rush, Kaufman. 1996).

  • Co-author of the chapter in the book Looking At The World Through Women's Eyes, NGO Forum of the United Nations IV World Conference on Women, 1996.

  • Co-author in Women's Rights - Human Rights: International Feminist Perspective. (Peters and Wolfer. 1995).

    María won an International P.E.N. (2002) honorary mention award for her book Women´s Voices on FIRE about the first 8 years of FIRE´s history in international radio. She received a certificate of recognition as FIRE producer by Radio for Peace International (RFPI) and Earth Communications for excellent service, loyalty and endeavour in programming and operations at RFPI, Costa Rica, 1997. While serving as FIRE’s co-director, the radio collective has received numerous awards, including the national award “Constructors of Peace,” given to FIRE in Costa Rica by the Peace Center and the Ministries of Justice and Labor, Costa Rica, 2001; the annual award by RFPI to FIRE for excellent live coverage of the IV World Conference on Women and NGO Forum in Beijing, Costa Rica, 1996; a 1995 U NESCO award to two FIRE radio productions (History of Gender in Central America and Radio Tribunal on Violations on Women´s Human Rights. Canada, 1995); the PEACEPOWER Foundation "AMIGAS" Award to FIRE in 1995 and again in 1996 "for your dedication to giving a voice and empower women through communications,” USA, 1995 – 1996; and, the Katherine Davenport 1994 Award to FIRE by the Women's International News Gathering Service (WINGS) in Texas, USA for excellent coverage of the United Nations Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, 1994.


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