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Photo by Tom Pablo, South America Semester.

Instructor introduction

¡Jallalla llajtamanta! Instructor introduction from Doug

My name is Douglas Williams, this is my first Dragons experience and I am humbled and honored to be an instructor on the Andes – Amazon program this semester. I am also blessed to be supported by my Bolivian wife and three daughters in this exciting opportunity. Since graduating high school, I have been adventure guiding in mountains, caves, rivers, forests, and jungles. I believe that wilderness adventure recreation is the most accessible path to reconnecting the human experience with our natural and original environment, and I LOVE being an agent and witness to people in the thrill of that reconnection. Also, working in isolated indigenous communities, I have found that locally initiated eco-tourism with professional consultation is a practical first step toward empowerment and culturally appropriate development, using natural and cultural capital to generate human and economic and built capital.

Since I see my educational role also as a guide, it felt like a natural transition into the classroom in Bolivian high schools and universities, teaching sustainable development, philosophy and ‘green’ economics which I have enjoyed doing professionally since 2006. However, teaching these subjects falls a little flat if you’re not practicing and living the principles you preach. Which is why, for the past 12 years I have lived in Bolivia, working in rural indigenous community development, constructivist education, “green” urban social movements, responsible business practices, eco-tourism, and lots of other entertaining things which you will hear about over campfires, on mountain ridges and jungle trails. I finished a double B.A. in environmental studies and philosophy before coming down to Bolivia with a rucksack and a duffle full of books. Three years later, I rowed out of the Amazon and went back to school for a master’s in order to be more effective in my newfound vocation, sustainable development .

I am finishing an intensive module on “The economics of sustainable development” at a local university; as I write this, my students are preparing a presentation on Monsanto, Zero Growth Theory and Green Economics. My brain is kind of fried, but I’m super excited to leave the classroom, strap on some boots and a pack and hang out with you guys for three months! I believe our group has been formed for this experience at this time for a specific reason, and I can’t wait to find out why!

¡Tinkuna kama!