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).

Lanzamiento de un libro discutiendo las realidades excluyentes y desiguales de los pueblos y nacionalidades indígenas de Abya Yala

El lanzamiento del libro “Los pueblos indígenas de Abya Yala en el siglo XXI. Un análisis Multidimensional”, se celebrará el miércoles 13 de octubre de 2021, a las 11 a.m. de Ecuador, (7p.m de Finlandia).

Los 826 pueblos indígenas integrados por 45 millones de perso­nas hacen de Abya Yala (América Latina) un continente de gran diversidad social, cultural, lingüísti­ca, demográfica, política y territorial. Representan más del 8,5 % de la población en América Latina y constituyen el 30 % de las personas en situación de pobreza extrema.

El acceso a la educación, salud y justicia con aplicación intercultural; la plurinacionalidad y la democracia; la juventud y la identificación étnica; la revitalización lingüística y la música son algunos de los temas tratados en esta publicación.

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Oportunidades en la práctica intercultural en la Universidad Estatal Amazónica

Texto: Ruth Irene Arias Gutiérrez

Por el séptimo aniversario de creación de la Facultad de Ciencias de la Vida de la Universidad Estatal Amazónica (UEA) y la celebración del Día Mundial del Medio Ambiente, se presentó la II Convención Científica Internacional UEA 2021, entre el 31 de mayo al 04 de junio, donde se ofrecieron las participaciones de las investigadoras del proyecto “Pluralismo ecocultural en la educación de calidad en la Amazonia ecuatoriana”, en el Primer Congreso de Plurinacionalidad, Saberes Ancestrales y Gestión del conocimiento.

La ocasión se hizo propicia para discutir las oportunidades de construir un entorno intercultural y decolonial en la universidad, en el territorio amazónico, porque se ha constatado a nivel nacional que los pueblos indígenas tienen menor acceso a servicios públicos básicos, infraestructura y educación superior; así como han experimentado la colonización y el despojo de tierras, recursos y conocimientos, mientras la escolarización ha contribuido a su asimilación a la sociedad dominante, obstaculizando la reproducción de las subjetividades ecológicas indígenas y las prácticas sociales (Rival, 2000). Sin embargo, las universidades también tienen el potencial de contribuir al empoderamiento de las poblaciones indígenas y ayudar a cambiar las relaciones de poder desiguales al reconocer y apoyar el conocimiento que tienen (Wilson, 2004).

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‘Education and Social Justice in the Pluriverse’ – EADI ISS Conference, 5 – 8 July 2021

On Tuesday 6 July, our group was excited because we were finally able to organize the panel at EADI ISS Conference that had been postponed for one year due to coronavirus pandemic. The idea of the panel was at first connected to the forthcoming special issue for the journal Globalizations. Therefore, the panel was included in the category of “harvesting”, meaning that the presentations were on researches at their “mature” stage. The discussion was then based on the drafts the participants had sent beforehand. We had two sessions with nine presentations that looked at pluriversal educational alternatives and critical intercultural education from different perspectives and in different regional and cultural contexts.

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From discourse to structure: intercultural education from the experience of the Universidad Estatal Amazónica (UEA) – EADI ISS Conference 2021, 5 – 8 July 2021, The Hague

The text is an excerpt from the paper that Ruth Arias (UEA) has presented at the Conference.

In her presentation at the EADI ISS Conference 2021 – Solidarity, Peace and Social Justice, Ruth Arias from the Universidad Estatal Amazonica (UEA) has spoken of the necessity of interculturality as a central axis of the Pluricultural State. However, interculturality is a challenge in Ecuador, and especially in higher education. Indigenous and Afro-descendant students access and complete their studies in alarmingly inequitable conditions (Mato, 2008). Policies to modify monocultural higher education need to address structural problems of the population they are intended to serve (Cuji, 2012). This aspect is not only related to the education sector, but is overall political.

The talk started with a video self-produced by Mariana Canelos (Student of Communication), Indira Vargas (Tourism Engineering graduate), Dixon Andi (Environmental Engineer, Laboratorio de plantas) and edited by Mario Rodríguez Dávila y Diego Lucero Rivas. The three UEA students and graduates, from the kichwa nationality, have presented their point of view on interculturality in higher education.


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Sesión de grupo de trabajo: prácticas pedagógicas innovadoras y conceptualizaciones alternativas de desarrollo que surgen de comunidades locales en América Latina

Texto compilado de presentaciones y resúmenes de los autores.

Nuestro grupo de investigación participó en la 6ª Conferencia conjunta de investigación sobre el desarrollo nórdico, celebrada en línea del 21 al 22 de junio, por la Universidad de Jyväskylä, Finlandia. La conferencia se organiza conjuntamente entre la Sociedad Finlandesa de Investigación para el Desarrollo, la Asociación Danesa de Investigadores del Desarrollo en Dinamarca, la Asociación Noruega para la Investigación del Desarrollo y la Red Sueca de Investigación sobre el Desarrollo, atrayendo por lo general, a investigadores del desarrollo y responsables políticos de los países nórdicos y colaboradores de investigación del Sur global. El tema de este año: Desarrollo, aprendizaje y educación: consideraciones posteriores a la pandemia, invitó a los participantes a reflexionar sobre el desarrollo, el aprendizaje y la educación y cómo las crisis globales apremiantes, como el cambio climático y el COVID-19, intensificaron presiones para transformaciones radicales que desafían las conceptualizaciones sobre el “aprendizaje” así como el “desaprender” en el desarrollo.

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Working group session: innovating pedagogical practices and alternative conceptualisations of development emerging from local communities in Latin America

 Compiled texts from authors’ presentations and abstracts.

Our research group participated in the 6th joint Nordic Development Research Conference, held online from 21 to 22 of June, by the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. The conference is organized jointly by the Finnish Society for Development Research, the Danish Association of Development Researchers in Denmark, the Norwegian Association For Development Research, and the Swedish Development Research Network., usually attracting development researchers and policy-makers from Nordic countries and research collaborators from the global South. This year’s theme: Development, Learning and Education: Post-pandemic Considerations, invited participants to reflect on development, learning and education and how pressing global crises, as climate change and COVID-19, intensified pressures for radical transformations that challenge conceptualizations of “learning” as well as “unlearning” in development.

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Texto: Riikka Kaukonen Lindholm

[Click here for English version]

A finales de mayo y principios de junio, las integrantes del grupo de investigación participaron en la II Convención Científica Internacional organizado online por la Universidad Estatal Amazónica (UEA). Con el discurso inaugural del rector David Sancho, la convención brindó una plataforma para conversaciones científicas en torno a tres temas diferentes: Plurinacionalidad, Saberes Ancestrales y Gestión del Conocimiento; Turismo Urbano, Patrimonio y Desarrollo Territorial; Gestión Ambiental y Conservación de la Biodiversidad, que representan áreas de estudio importantes para la UEA, que trabaja para desarrollar la investigación y la educación superior en la región Amazonía de Ecuador. Nuestro grupo de investigación contribuido en la parte del programa del congreso sobre el tema Plurinacionalidad, Conocimiento Ancestral y Gestión del Conocimiento coordinada por el rector Oliver Meric. Continue reading “II CONVENCIÓN CIENTÍFICA INTERNACIONAL UEA 2021”