Wild Forests & Fauna (WildFF) will be hosting the fifth and final year of a 5 year pilot program in the Peruvian Amazon: the Future Leaders summit. Taking place between January 14-18, 2018, the summit will bring together 10-20 local youth leaders from both the Amazon gateway city of Puerto Maldonado and rural communities in the Las Piedras river to collaborate on sustainable business solutions to local challenges.
The program evolves year-to-year, focusing on different areas of sustainable development, and allows new and return participants to advance their skills in business, innovation, and environmental stewardship. January’s program will focus on developing marketing strategies for social change campaigns. As in previous years, participants will have the opportunity to meet and learn from local Peruvians and international guest speakers.
Most exciting in 2018 is an opportunity for the Future Leaders to collaborate with 16 American students from Maryland’s McDaniel College. These students are part of the Forest Online class which explores storytelling as a catalyst for social change.
“It’s a once in a lifetime cross-cultural opportunity for the McDaniel students to collaborate with their peers who live half a world away, yet share the same goals and passions for a more sustainable Amazon basin” says McDaniel Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies—and WildFF board President—Jason Scullion, PhD.
Peruvian non-profit ARCAmazon will be hosting the 2018 summit at the Las Piedras Amazon Center (LPAC), an 11,000 acre eco-tourism concession deep in the Amazon rainforest. This allows participants from the city to come together with youth from rural jungle communities to learn from each other and experience firsthand the reality of deforestation alongside sustainably-cared for rainforest.
Thanks to Kiwi Energy, Las Piedras Amazon Center, and other generous donors, the Future Leaders network of Peruvian youth—known locally as Innova Madre de Dios—will grow to 50+ youth innovators in 2018, all working toward a more sustainable and prosperous future for Madre de Dios and the Las Piedras watershed of the Amazon rainforest.
Liz Feldman, WildFF board member and program instructor shared, “We are so thankful for Kiwi Energy’s support through their Ecogold Environmental Fund. They have helped to make it possible to provide socially responsible, entrepreneurial education to Peruvian youth who are working hard to figure out how they and their neighbors can live in harmony with the Amazon for a more sustainable future. Every year the participants inspire me. It is an honor to work with such a dedicated, intelligent and passionate group of Peruvian leaders.”