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Bio-Cultural Diversity Courses in Ecuador: Summer 2014

In Summer, 2014, for the second year in a row, students will be able to participate in a unique intensive program of natural history, cultural history, and language study at field sites in Cuenca and Quito, Ecuador. This program focuses on bio-cultural diversity and social justice in Ecuador, with broader reasoning applicable to understanding these issues throughout the world. The program offers students up to seven semester hours of credit and features a three-day orientation session at UNM, a three-week field experience, and three days of debriefing seminars and a student symposium at UNM upon return.

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Based on human rights and natural rights of Pacha Mama, Mother Earth, the new constitution of Ecuador, Chapter Two, Article 395 affirms that "The State shall guarantee a sustainable model of development, one that is environmentally balanced and respectful of cultural diversity, conserves biodiversity and the natural regeneration capacity of ecosystems, and ensures meeting the needs of present and future generations."

With more than 5000 endemic species, Ecuador is one of the most mega-biodiverse nations on the planet. It is also one of the least developed countries in Latin America. Its leaders and citizens are torn between the obligations to preserve nature and provide for human needs. The curse of oil has skewed its economy and ruined vast tracts of Amazonian forests, but a fascinating and innovative "post-petroleum" era is dawning.

Ecuador lies in Chinchay Suyu, the northwest quadrant of Tahuantin Suyu, the Incan empire of the four directions. The natural and cultural histories of Ecuador are deeply intertwined and illustrate the idea that biological and cultural diversity support and sustain each other.

The early application deadline is January 17, 2014.For more information, visit the course webpage. This program is jointly sponsored by the UNM Honors College, Latin American and Iberian Institute, and Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

Image: Photograph from Quilotoa Crater Lake in Ecuador. Provided CC © courtesy of Giovanni De Caro.

--Posted Monday, December 16, 2013.