Peruvian Amazon Service Research Study Abroad

| IDH 4007/4008 | MMC | Jim Raich |

Course Overview

This is a two-semester program that combines interdisciplinary service research with cultural and ecological experiential learning. It culminates with a four week stay in Peru, with several days spent in Lima, the metropolitan capitol of Peru, Iquitos, the largest city in the western Amazon, and at field stations in the Amazon rainforest itself.

During spring semester, students learn of various aspects of the Amazon, with a special emphasis on the present-day challenges facing the Peruvian Amazon environment and its people. Students work with the faculty to identify the prioritized interests and concerns in the region. They then learn about interdisciplinary methods that they implement in the field to help local people address these issues.

During the Summer B semester, students spend several days in Lima, the coastal capitol of Peru, followed by travel to Iquitos and the Amazon rainforest. In Lima, students meet with leaders of AIDESEP, the national indigenous federation and with experts working with indigenous peoples to address issues of concern. This allows students to obtain the latest information on the issues facing indigenous peoples in Peru and on the work conducted at the national level to address these issues. From Lima, students fly to the Amazonian city of Iquitos. Here, students visit with representatives of the regional indigenous organizations and of institutions working with indigenous groups to learn of the ongoing environmental and indigenous issues specific to the sites that students will be visiting. Students will also have the opportunity to visit cultural sites around the colorful and vibrant city of Iquitos. From Iquitos, students will go to Pacaya Samiria National Park, the second largest natural reserve in South America, and the largest park managed by indigenous communities. Here, they spend 4 days canoeing and hiking through some of the Amazon's highest concentrations of monkeys, birds, and fish. After a couple of days of rest back in Iquitos, the trip concludes with a week long stay at the Madre Selva Biological Station. Here students get to work with members of the Yagua indigenous tribe and with nearby mestizo communities to address the issues of interest and concern by applying lessons learned from their visits with indigenous leaders and working experts in Lima and Iquitos and throughout the course.

Our students work with the indigenous organizations and Peruvian institutions that are leading the efforts to empower the local people with the tools necessary to reduce the threats to their environment, addressing existing impacts from existing pressures, and planning for a more equitable and sustainable development into the future.


Jim Raich, Ph.D. Anthropologist
Senior Instructor of Earth & Environment
Office: FIU Modesto A. Maidique Campus, AHC5 366. Tel: 305-348-1209


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