Video of the Seminar “Pluri­verse, Education and Ter­rit­orial Justice”

HELSUS Global South Encounters has just released the video of our presentation (October 2021)

Abstract – The comprehensive development project manifested in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) proposes an overall engagement on “quality education for all” and supports social justice by promoting equal access to education for the most deprived groups. However, the SDG4 on quality education does not acknowledge diversity in ways of being (ontologies) and knowing (epistemologies) around the world and the need to support alternative ways to learn and produce knowledge. The role of education to achieve social and environmental justice is not new. At the institutional and international level, the debate around education has become central in the post-2015 development agenda, and within the territorial turn, education engenders and sustains projects with the potential to resist structural socio-environmental injustices and move toward more regenerative futures.

In this seminar, the panelists discuss how territorial justice and education offer paths toward the pluriverse by touching upon knowledge, politics and pedagogical visions, ecocultural identities, humilocene, socio-environmental consciousness, place-based education and community experiential calendars. The seminar connects with the Academy of Finland’s DEVELOP programme project “Goal 4+: Including Eco-cultural Pluralism in Quality Education in Ecuadorian Amazonia“.


Paola Minoia is a Senior Lecturer in Global Development Studies at the University of Helsinki, and an Associate Professor in Political and Economic Geography at the University of Turin. Her research interests intersect the fields of political ecology and development studies with a focus on territoriality, state- and minoritized groups relations, socio-environmental justice, eco-cultural knowledges and the pluriverse. She is the Principal Investigator in the project Ecocultural pluralism in the Ecuadorian Amazonia (funded by the Academy of Finland 2018-2022) and a WG leader in the EU/COST Network Decolonising Development: Research, Teaching and Practice (2020-2024).

José Castro-Sotomayor PhD. is an Assistant Professor at California State University Channel Islands, U.S.A. He investigates ecocultural modes of human and more-than-human communication and how they influence our relationships with the Earth’s vitality. His work focuses on transversal forms of communication, agency, and dissent that inform participatory models for environmental peacebuilding and decision and policymaking. He is co-editor of The Routledge Handbook of Ecocultural Identity (2020), a transdisciplinary volume seeking to foster a radical epistemology by investigating ways ecocultural identities are being, and can be, thought, felt, performed, and experienced within wider sociopolitical structures in ways relevant to regenerative Earth futures. Originally from Ecuador, he worked as an independent consultant for environmental NGOs in Ecuador and Colombia.

Tuija Veintie is a postdoctoral researcher in Global Development Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland. Her current research focuses on the integration of ecological and Indigenous knowledge in intercultural bilingual upper secondary education in Ecuador. Her study is part of a research project ‘Goal 4+: Including Eco-cultural Pluralism in Quality Education in Ecuadorian Amazonia’. Veintie has a multidisciplinary background in education, anthropology, and Latin American studies. She received her PhD degree in Educational Sciences from the University of Helsinki in 2018. Her research interests include social justice and diversity issues, epistemic power hierarchies, intercultural and Indigenous education as well as minority and Indigenous peoples’ rights.

Johanna Hohenthal is a postdoctoral researcher in Global Development Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki. She has worked in a research project ‘Goal 4+: Including Eco-cultural Pluralism in Quality Education in Ecuadorian Amazonia’ that studies intercultural bilingual education and eco-cultural knowledges of the Amazonian Indigenous groups. Her interests focus on the accessibility of intercultural bilingual education and its relation to Indigenous territoriality and place-based learning as well as on participatory research methods. She received a PhD degree in Geography in 2018. Her doctoral research focused on water resource governance and local ecological knowledge in the Taita Hills, Kenya.

Chaitawat Boonjubun, chair of the event, is a postdoctoral researcher at Global Development Studies, the Faculty of Social Sciences, the University of Helsinki, Finland. His research interests focus on understanding the social, political, economic, and cultural determinants of sustainable urban land use, the discourses and practices of urban regeneration, the politics of public lands, urban informality, religious land, and inequalities in cities.

Nueva publicación: ‘Fomentar la conciencia socioambiental de los jóvenes indígenas mediante el aprendizaje basado en el lugar en la Amazonia ecuatoriana’

Un nuevo artículo de acceso abierto por Johanna Hohenthal y Tuija Veintie (y el equipo de investigación) se publica en la revista Globalizations.

Resumen en español: La educación juega un rol fundamental en la preparación de los jóvenes para abordar a los problemas socio-ambientales que amenazan los territorios indígenas en la Amazonia ecuatoriana. En este estudio, nos enfocamos en el aprendizaje basado en el lugar (place-based learning) y analizamos cómo los diversos espacios de aprendizaje en la vida cotidiana de los jóvenes indígenas les permiten la involucración con diversos conocimientos sobre temas socioambientales. Realizamos un mapeo participativo, fotografía y entrevistas con estudiantes de bachillerato en tres unidades educativas interculturales bilingües de la provincia de Pastaza, en Ecuador, para estudiar las percepciones de los y las jóvenes y los “momentos pedagógicos” (teachable moments) para aprender sobre problemas socioambientales. Según los resultados, las experiencias cotidianas de los y las jóvenes, la vida familiar y las reuniones comunitarias ofrecen un valioso espacio para el aprendizaje de los problemas socioambientales locales, el conocimiento indígena y la cosmovisión. Sin embargo, en la enseñanza en el nivel de bachillerato, los temas socioambientales se discuten principalmente como fenómenos globales aislados, mientras que unas conexiones más explícitas con temas ambientales y conocimientos locales contribuirían a pluriversalizar la educación y a apoyar los vínculos territoriales y la conciencia socioambiental crítica de los estudiantes.

Artículo completo publicado en inglés: Hohenthal, J. & Veintie, T. (2022) Fostering Indigenous young people’s socio-environmental consciousness through place-based learning in Ecuadorian Amazonia. Globalizations.

New publication: ‘Fostering Indigenous young people’s socio-environmental consciousness through place-based learning in Ecuadorian Amazonia’

A new article authored by Johanna Hohenthal and Tuija Veintie was published open access as part of a special issue ‘Education and Socio-environmental Justice in the Pluriverse’ in the journal Globalizations.

The article focuses on place-based learning and analyses how diverse learning spaces allow the Indigenous youth in Ecuadorian Amazonia to engage with diverse knowledges on socio-environmental issues. The study draws from interviews, participatory mapping and photography done with and by students in three intercultural bilingual upper secondary schools in the Pastaza province of Ecuadorian Amazonia. The field work was carried out in collaboration between the Nordic and Ecuadorian researchers/university students and supported by the Goal4+ project and the Universidad Estatal Amazónica based in Puyo.

‘The findings suggest that young people’s daily embodied experiences, family life, and community meetings offer rich grounds for learning about local socio-environmental issues, Indigenous knowledge, and cosmovision (worldview). However, in the intercultural bilingual upper secondary schooling, socio-environmental issues are discussed mostly as detached global phenomena, while more explicit connections to local issues and knowledge would contribute to pluriversalizing education and supporting students’ territorial ties and critical socio-environmental consciousness.’

Hohenthal, J. & Veintie, T (2022). Fostering Indigenous young people’s socio-environmental consciousness through place-based learning in Ecuadorian Amazonia. Globalizations. DOI: 10.1080/14747731.2022.2038831


Nueva publicación: “Las (im)posibilidades de la educación en la Amazonia: evaluando la resiliencia de la educación bilingüe intercultural en medio de múltiples crisis”

Un nuevo artículo de acceso abierto por Tuija Veintie, Johanna Hohenthal, Katy Machoa y Anders Sirén se publica en la revista Diaspora, Indigenous and Minority Education. Estudios sobre migración, integración, equidad y supervivencia cultural.

El artículo analiza las desigualdades educativas relacionadas con la brecha digital y la resiliencia de las comunidades frente a las múltiples crisis. El estudio aporta las perspectivas de las comunidades indígenas amazónicas Kichwa y Shuar de la provincia de Pastaza en Ecuador. Jóvenes de las comunidades indígenas amazónicas no están representados en las encuestas a nivel nacional debido a la baja calidad de las redes de telecomunicaciones y al limitado o nulo acceso a las tecnologías de la información y la comunicación. Este estudio se basa en entrevistas con los directores de nueve escuelas secundarias superiores interculturales bilingües y en un estudio de caso en el que participan profesores, estudiantes, padres y líderes de una remota comunidad rural indígena Kichwa. Continue reading “Nueva publicación: “Las (im)posibilidades de la educación en la Amazonia: evaluando la resiliencia de la educación bilingüe intercultural en medio de múltiples crisis””

New publication: “The (im)possibilities of education in Amazonia: assessing the resilience of intercultural bilingual education in the midst of multiple crises”

A new open access article by Tuija Veintie, Johanna Hohenthal, Katy Machoa and Anders Sirén is published in the Journal Diaspora, Indigenous and Minority Education. Studies of Migration, Integration, Equity, and Cultural Survival.

The article discusses educational inequities related to digital divide, Indigenous education and community resilience against multiple crises. The study brings forward perspectives from the Amazonian Indigenous Kichwa and Shuar communities in the Pastaza Province in Ecuador. National level surveys do not reach the Amazonian youth living in Indigenous communities due to poor quality of telecommunication networks and limited or no access to information and communication technologies. This study is based on interviews with school directors from nine Intercultural bilingual upper secondary schools and a case study that involves teachers, students, parents and leaders in one remote rural Indigenous Kichwa community.

Continue reading “New publication: “The (im)possibilities of education in Amazonia: assessing the resilience of intercultural bilingual education in the midst of multiple crises””


Durante el 22 y 23 de julio, parte del grupo de investigación participó en parte de una serie de conferencias virtuales organizadas por el Grupo de Interés Especial (Special Interest Group–SIG, en inglés) en Diseño Pluriversal de la Sociedad de Investigación en Diseño (Design Research Society –DRS, en inglés): Pivot 2021: Desmontaje/Montaje, herramientas para futuros alternativos. Las conferencias se centraron en mantener conversaciones interculturales sobre la descolonialidad y la transformación social. Con el objetivo de identificar herramientas y prácticas de desmantelamiento y reensamblaje que podrían favorecer formas de remodelar la presencia humana en la Tierra, así como casos concretos de creación de futuro alternativo en todo el mundo.




During July 22-23, part of the research group participated in part of series of virtual conferences organized by the Pluriversal Design Special Interest Group (SIG) of the Design Research Society (DRS): Pivot 2021: Dismantling/Reassembling, tools for alternative futures. The conferences focused on sustaining intercultural conversations about decoloniality and societal transformation. Aiming to identify tools and practices of dismantling and reassembling that could favor ways of reshaping human presence on Earth, as well as concrete cases of alternative future-making from all around the world.



Academy of Finland’s Programme for Development Research: Webinar on Tuesday 14 December at 10.00–15.30

We have participated in the Webinar organized by the Academy of Finland in cooperation with the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We have presented our team and project location, and then the research focus, methodology and preliminary findings. Here below I report some excerpts from the presentation, but first of all, I have acknowledged all research collaborators. Their names are in the following slide.

“The theme of our research project is located at the intersection between the accomplishment of the right to education for all, as stated by the SDG4, and the right to pertinent education, as stated by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights for Indigenous Peoples of 2007. In a country that is Plurinational by Constitution, Education contributes significantly to reinforcing political emancipation and territorial self-determination of indigenous peoples. This intersection has been articulated through programmes of Intercultural Bilingual Education (IBE). For indigenous students, IBE means to support emancipatory pathways via revitalization of traditional languages, land-based knowledges, and philosophies of life that respect humans and non-humans in nature. These components form a whole that can maintain their identities against rural-urban migration and assimilation into the urban-Hispanic hegemonic culture. Intercultural education is an education that can represent a way for young indigenous people to exit marginalization and poverty, not as individuals but within their own communities and indigenous nationalities. The preservation of indigenous communities on their lands can guarantee protection of ecological diversity against land use changes, and especially deforestation and extractive mining that cause environmental and climate changes.

In methodological terms, we looked at different policies of education and their contingent impacts in terms of access, pedagogies and results, through different tools. The research methodology has been mainly qualitative and we have used interviews, walking interviews, focus groups, mapping, and projects of caring through design in times of Covid-19.

Some of the research foci have been:

  1. Analysis of policies, conflicts and negotiations on education between State ministries and indigenous organizations; considering that in some cases, they were not alone but closely linked to negotiations for territorial rights and environmental planning. Examples are Planes de Vida (life plans) of the kichwas that see students as important agents.
  2. Analysis with statistics on schooling of indigenous and rural peoples in Pastaza; and statistics of students of the Universidad Estatal Amazonica (UEA) that self-identify as members of indigenous nationalities. There has been an increase of students who identify as Indigenous at the national level and in the UEA in the past years. The work has also provided an analysis of the problems in the transition between secondary and tertiary education, and between school and work related to the acquired education.
  3. Analysis of school topics and their reference to environmental sustainability; and of educational materials and pedagogies that have been used with the aim to revitalize indigenous knowledge, onto-epistemic plurality and inter-generational learning.
  4. Analysis of home-school mobility and school accessibility, especially considering some recent turbulences (or challenges) posed by the Organic Law on Education, by strikes, and by Covid-19: showing the importance to integrate socio-cultural, territorial and mobility justice perspectives into the global agenda of quality education, and also looking at the importance of the envirionmental and territorial engagement of students who attend schooling in their communities. .
  5. Accessibility has also been studied in terms of digital divide especially during the Covid-19 that has exacerbated educational inequalities, to which the state response has been weak. The UEA has self-organised distribution of laptops and gigabites thanks to other private funding. A subproject has build networks of information and care between the UEA and student of the Pontificia Universidad Catholica del Ecuador.

Until 30.12.21 you can watch the replay from the webinar here. The presentation of our project starts at the 1:45′.

Three chapters in the book: Situating Sustainability: Handbook of Contexts and Concepts

Our Helsinki-based team has participated in the book Situating Sustainability: Handbook of Contexts and Concepts edited by C. Parker Krieg and Reetta Toivanen, published in November 2021, with three conceptual chapters that refer to our research within the project “Goal 4+ Eco-cultural Pluralism in Ecuadorian Amazonia”. The three chapters deal with the concepts of: Anthropocene from the indigenous perspective of the Kawsak Sacha (living forest); Intercultural Bilingual Education experiences in Ecuador; and Politics of Scales informing territorial strategies of indigenous peoples.

Chapter 3: Anthropocene Conjunctures: The Anthropocene is the proposed name for a new geologic era in which humans are held to be a defining agent of planetary history, largely by the effect of fossil fuel use in industrial societies. This chapter contextualizes the rise of Anthropocene discourse across academic disciplines and provides critical examples from an ‘ecomodernist’ institute located in California, and from the indigenous Kichwa people of Ecuador and their strategies of political ecology based on the kawsak sacha (living forest) principle. The chapter illustrates the pitfalls and potential offered by this new periodization of anthropogenic change and the definition of the anthropos that the term calls into question. Drawing on posthumanist geography and cultural studies, it also challenges the centrality of the human agency.

Krieg, C. P., & Minoia, P. (2021). Anthropocene Conjunctures. In R. Toivanen, & C. P. Krieg (Eds.), Situating Sustainability: A Handbook of Contexts and Concepts (pp. 39-50). Helsinki University Press.

Chapter 5: Education: This chapter illustrates the transformative role that national education systems can play in working toward Sustainable Development Goals. Offering comparative examples from the ‘plurinational state’ of Ecuador and the ‘Northern European welfare state’ of Finland, the chapter discusses diverse approaches to sustainability through education within global discourses and national education policies in two different contexts. The chapter highlights the potential of teaching languages, critical thinking and global consciousness, and cultural alternatives to high-consumption lifestyles. In the first example, it examines the buen vivir (good living) principle in the context of Intercultural Bilingual Education in the Latin American plurina­tional, pluricultural, and multiethnic state of Ecuador.

Veintie, T., & Hohenthal, J. (2021). Education. In C. P. Krieg, & R. Toivanen (Eds.), Situating Sustainability: A Handbook of Contexts and Concepts (pp. 63-77). Helsinki University Press. /HUP-14-5

Chapter 7: Scales: This chapter rethinks scales as an opportunity for sustainability studies to engage with decolonial strategies that stand against the confinement of Southern studies as local knowledge, compared to the Western knowledge that is seen as universal. Politics of scales inform sustainability science to focus carefully on peoples’ institutions, territories, and territorialities as contingent levels of power interactions. Examples are offered by the plurinational ‘scale jumping’ as rescaling strategies played by indigenous organizations in Ecuador in relation to the central powers, to affirm the plurinational identity of the state; and by kinship networks in Northeast Madagascar. These strategies redefine the western ordering of scales and redress complicated histories of ecological and social colonization.

Minoia, P., & Mölkänen, J. (2021). Scales. In C. P. Krieg, & R. Toivanen (Eds.), Situated Sustainability : A Handbook of Contexts and Concepts (pp. 91-104). Helsinki University Press. /HUP-14-7

New article: ‘Territorial and mobility justice for Indigenous youth: accessing education in Ecuadorian Amazonia’

A new research article written by Johanna Hohenthal and Paola Minoia (with acknowledgements of the contributions of the whole ‘Goal4+’ research team) was just published (open access) in the journal Mobilities. The article aims to
articulate the relationship between access to eco-culturally pertinent
education, and mobility and territorial justice. It suggests that the “accessibility of quality education should be interpreted as the exercise of the right to education encompassing ecological, cultural and linguistic diversities, and supporting the identities, emplacement and territorial control of Indigenous people.” This definition of accessibility includes three important dimensions: the eco-cultural pertinence of education, spatial proximity and sustainable mode of school travel. The argumentation of the article is based on an analysis of ‘turbulent’ events that have disrupted educational mobility and access to education within the Indigenous territories in the Pastaza province of Ecuador: 1) an education reform that began during rule of the President Rafael Correa in 2011, 2) Indigenous protests linked to territorial struggles, and 3) the Covid-19 pandemic.

The article concludes: “Above all, the realisation of both mobility and territorial justice means the opportunity to make sustainable life choices that do not force uprooting of Indigenous people from their territories but allow access to education and thus participation in the wider society. In addition, mobility justice means the possibility to move in a sustainable way that allows the creation and maintenance of body-territorial connection and learning without damaging the environment. Territorial and mobility justice perspectives should be integrated into the social justice agenda of quality education globally. This would allow the emergence of reformative actions that move beyond the essentialised constructions of the social and educational disadvantages of the Indigenous areas and people, and instead, recognise the particularities of Indigenous places and mobilities and support Indigenous territorial strategies.”

Hohenthal, J. & P. Minoia (2021). Territorial and mobility justice for Indigenous youth: accessing education in Ecuadorian Amazonia. Mobilities (online).