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CONNECT AND IGNITE CHANGE

March 15-20 | 2019
Mexico City, Mexico

Several times a year, across the globe, National Geographic brings together the most fascinating and innovative scientists, conservationists,explorers, educators, and storytellers. One of our pinnacle convenings—the Explorers Festival Mexico City—is a multiday event comprising of training for our Latin American explorers and opportunities to hear about their discoveries and solutions for creating a healthier and more sustainable planet.

 

2019 Symposium Speakers

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Octavio Aburto
Octavio Aburto
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Marine biologist and photographer Octavio Aburto is an associate professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), Senior Fellow at the International League of Conservation Photographers, and former director of the Gulf of California Marine Program. Aburto obtained his Ph.D. at SIO’s Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation, receiving the University of California, San Diego, Jean Fort award for his doctoral research. As a WWF Kathryn Fuller Fellow and Hellman Fellow, his research and photographs have focused on marine protected areas and commercially exploited marine species in Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and the United States. His photographs have won international contests including Our World Underwater 2012 and 2016.

 

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Agustina Besada
Agustina Besada
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Agustina Besada is founder and co-director of Unplastify, an organization that, focusing in Latin America, promotes awareness about and seeks to rethink people’s relationship with plastic. She has crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a 36-foot sailboat—twice—to research firsthand the reality of ocean plastics and study international scalable solutions. Previously, she served as executive director of Brooklyn-based sustainability hub and recycling center Sure We Can. An industrial designer by training, Besada has an M.S. in sustainability management from Columbia University’s The Earth Institute and completed a Columbia Business School executive program on entrepreneurship. She is also a 2018 National Geographic Explorer.

 

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Carmen Chavez
Tropical Biologist & National Geographic Explorer
Carmen Chavez
 Tropical Biologist & National Geographic Explorer
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Carmen Chávez is a tropical biologist and serves as director of Peru programs at the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research Foundation (ACEER). Prior to joining ACEER, Chávez worked at Harvard University’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, and was an administrator at the Cocha Cashu Biological Station in Peru’s Manu National Park. Chávez has a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from San Antonio Abad National University, Peru, and an M.Sc. in biology with a focus in biological conservation from Wake Forest University, USA. For her work in conservation education, Chávez leads local teams of professionals and dedicated staff in Peru’s Madre de Dios Region in the design and implementation of experiential education and research programs to enhance the STEM curricula of local schools. Her programs have received national and international recognition. Chávez is currently based in Miami, USA, but travels frequently to Peru and the Amazon region of Madre de Dios.

 

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Emiliano Donadio
Emiliano Donadio
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An Argentine Patagonia native, ecologist Emiliano Donadio is head scientist at The Conservation Land Trust-Argentina. With a focus on wildlife conservation, Donadio investigates processes including predator-prey interactions, competitive interactions, and migrations. He has studied many organisms, from pumas and Andean condors to grasses and sedges. He also runs a small farm in the foothills of the Andes. Donadio has a B.Sc. in zoology from the National University of La Plata in Argentina and earned a master’s in zoology and a Ph.D. in ecology as a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Wyoming. He is a National Geographic Explorer.

 

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Eliana Elias
Eliana Elias
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Eliana Elias has worked for over 20 years in the Peruvian Amazon and other rural areas to design and implement strategies that combine communications, sustainable community development, and women’s leadership. Elias is co-founder and executive director of Minga Peru, a nonprofit promoting sustainable change for indigenous women and their communities in the Peruvian Amazon. Her work has been recognized by the Clinton School of Public Service, the Global Philanthropy Forum, and many others. A member of the Avina Foundation’s Latin American Leadership Network, she has received the Ashoka prize for social innovation and was the first international recipient of Southern Methodist University’s Triumph of the Spirit award.

 

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Liliana Gutierrez
Marine Conservationist & National Geographic Explorer
Liliana Gutierrez
 Marine Conservationist & National Geographic Explorer
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Liliana Gutierrez is executive director of Noroeste Sustentable, a nonprofit supporting coastal communities. A member of the Latin-American Network for Integrated Coastal Management, she works on highly complex multisectoral processes and has received training in conflict resolution, facilitation, mediation, and effective communication. In 2016, Gutierrez helped found Achamar, a for-profit organization that invests in fishery and community restoration. Previously, she was director of environmental policy at Mexico’s environment ministry, SEMARNAT. A graduate fellow at the Academy for Systems Change, Gutierrez has an M.P.A. from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and an M.Sc. from the State University of New York.

 

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Schedule of Events

Friday, March 15 - Monday, March 18

Sciencetelling Bootcamp & Explorer Workshops | Private
Hands-on, intensive trainings on public speaking, visual storytelling, and social media, as well as opportunities to network and collaborate with National Geographic staff and fellow explorers.

 

Tuesday, March 19

Explorer Spotlight | Invite Only
Opportunity for regional explorers to share their work with representatives from National Geographic’s media platforms and for university students interested in the fields of science, exploration, education, and storytelling to hear from those working in the field.

 
Wednesday, March 20 | 10 AM – 2 PM CST

Explorers Symposium | Invite Only | Watch via Live Stream
Hear from National Geographic Explorers and other experts from across the region on how innovation is driving the critical solutions needed to create a planet in balance.

10 AM
WELCOME
Jonathan Baillie, Executive Vice President and Chief Scientist, National Geographic Society
Rodrigo Medellín, Conservation Ecologist

10:20 AM
EMPOWERING THE NEXT GENERATION
Vicki Phillips, Executive Vice President and Chief Education Officer, National Geographic Society

10:35 AM
CITIZEN SCIENCE FOR BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION
National Geographic is committed to closing the biodiversity data gap, and now more than ever creative solutions to logging and analyzing data are needed. Citizen scientists can help bridge the gap and aid in making important observations and discoveries across landscapes and the ocean. Learn about three unique ways citizen science is helping to tap into new communities to empower everyone to be conservation ambassadors.
Octavio Aburto, Carlos Galindo-Leal, and Carmen Chavez
Moderated by Gael Almeida, Senior Director, Latin America, National Geographic Society

11:20 AM
SPECIES SNAPSHOT
Many species are at risk due to habitat loss, illegal poaching, and other threats. National Geographic is actively funding conservationists in the field to help some of the species in most critical need.
Emiliano Donadio, Marina Rivero, and Gustavo Hinojosa-Arango
Introduced by Emma Carrasco, Chief Marketing and Engagement Officer, National Geographic Society

11:40 AM
BREAK

12:10 PM
INSPIRING EMPATHY AND ACTION
Biodiversity is declining, but doom-and-gloom reporting may not inspire people to alter their behaviors. We need to change the narrative and communicate nature in a way that stimulates empathy and action. Hear from one National Geographic photographer who is documenting animals to illuminate the wonders of the natural world and inspire change.
Jaime Rojo

12:20 PM
TELLING THE STORIES OF LOCAL COMMUNITIES
Along with empowering local communities to engage and participate in conservation efforts, it is just as important to understand and communicate stories from within these communities. Hear from three storytellers chronicling indigenous communities.
Manuel Seoane, Tamara Merino, and Ismael Vásquez
Introduced by Kaitlin Yarnall, Senior Vice President, Storytelling, National Geographic Society

12:50 PM
AN EDUCATION ON THE PLASTIC PROBLEM
The volume of plastic in the environment and particularly the ocean is one of the biggest, most complex issues of our time, requiring creative approaches, new perspectives, and out-of-the-box thinking. Hear how one explorer used her love of sailing to fight against plastic waste.  
Agustina Besada
Introduced by Emma Carrasco, Chief Marketing and Engagement Officer, National Geographic Society

1 PM
PROTECTING THE LAST WILD PLACES
Three of our explorers discuss the power of partnership, storytelling, and community building in helping to protect and restore the world’s last remaining wild places.
Eliana Elias, Liliana Gutierrez, and Andrew Rhodes
Moderated by Alex Muñoz, Director, Pristine Seas Latin America, National Geographic Society

1:45 PM
CLOSING REMARKS
Diego Reck, Executive Vice President, Latin America, National Geographic Partners

2 PM
PROGRAM CONCLUDES

Interested in Attending?

The National Geographic Explorers Festival Mexico City is by invitation only. If you are interested in attending in the future, please register your interest.

 

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Watch Live

Tune in on Wednesday, March 20, starting at 10 AM CST to watch the Explorers Symposium.

Please note: the livestream will be broadcast in Spanish.

 

photographs by Jessica Rangel and E2K Staff