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Andrea Vasquez

Name: Andrea Vasquez       Degree: PhD Candidate (Associated scholar)

Andrea Vasquez

Unprecedented, rapid change is befalling indigenous communities in the Peruvian Amazon, as in many other places: one unfortunate result of a unequal globalized economy. In the Amazon, domestic and foreign extractive industries accelerate their plunder of the rural areas’ mineral, timber, and hydrocarbon wealth, with immediate and long-term impacts to human and ecosystem health. Also broad restricting legislation made in the capital under a centralized government do not take into account the rural or indigenous realities (distinctly different from those in the bustling metropolis). On top of that, climate change is impacting the hydraulic cycle, animal migration patterns, timing of precipitation. As result of those inequalities many of these indigenous communities in the Peruvian Amazon  have formed associations as a mechanism to face and confront this host of challenges. As an M.Sc. student in the Faculty of Forestry and supervised by Drs. John Innes and Robert Kozak, I will focus on investigating the factors that have led some Peruvian Indigenous Community Based Associations (ICBAs) to address communities’ challenges effectively. I will make this evaluation from the perspectives of their indigenous communities. Prior to attending UBC, I earned my B.Sc. in Forestry Engineering at Peru’s National Agrarian University’s La Molina campus, and a specialization in environmental management, quality, and auditing. I have worked as a forestry adviser for Peruvian NGO Foro Ciudades para la Vida, as a forestry inspector for Ecomundo Group International in Chachapoyas, northern Peru, and as an environmental educator at a children’s camp in a nature reserve in Brazil. My experience studying, working, and volunteering in the greater Amazon basin have placed me in a uniquely advantageous position to undertake this current research. At UBC, I have been involved with campus life as communication coordinator for the Forestry Graduate Student Association (FGSA), and organized among other events a documentary screening and panel discussion on the topic of Canadian extractive interests’ impacts on indigenous communities in Latin America. Recently I have been appointed as the Latin America co-regional representative  for the International Forestry Student Association (IFSA) and I have been elected as Liaison Officer between IFSA and  the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO). In a mutually-beneficial relationship,  the Peruvian  non-governmental organization ‘Rights, Environment, and Resources’ (DAR), and I will partner with host communities in the Ucayali  region of Peru to research about how to improve the role of ICBA’s representatives in their work.

Thesis Topic: Indigenous Associations in the Peruvian Amazon: The Comuneros’ Perspectives

Supervisor: Drs. John Innes and Robert Kozak


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