This program is currently enrolling for spring 2021.
Please see our list of available and modified programs for fall 2020.


Multiculturalism, Globalization, and Social Change


Faculty and Lecturers typically include:

Saul Cossio
Saul Cossio is a biologist, an expert on the Amboro National Park, and former municipal administrator in charge of integral development and tourism in the municipality of Samaipata.  He owns and manages his own small business, Tucandera Tours.

Oscar Crespo
Oscar Crespo is president of the neighborhood organization in the Casco Viejo of Samaipata. He produces honey and honey products, and provides technical assistance to other apiculturists. He is experienced in the protection and conservation of watersheds, the formation of horizontal networks, fruit tree grafting, and the environmentally friendly cultivation of coffee.

Fernando Huanacuni
Former Secretary of State (Canciller) of Bolivia
Fernando Huanacuni served as Bolivia’s secretary of state from 2017-18.  Prior to that, he was selected by President Evo Morales as the protocol ambassador in the Bolivian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2008-12). He is an Aymara lawyer and has been initiated by Aymara elders in Andean cosmovision as an Aymara spiritual leader. He is the founder of a martial arts school in Bolivia and for several years hosted a national television program on Andean cosmovision.

Calixto Quispe Huanca
Village Stay Coordinator
Calixto Quispe is an Aymara yatiri (natural healer and spiritual leader) as well as a deacon in the Catholic Church, the only Bolivian to hold both of these titles. He is president of the Ecumenical Commission of Interreligious Dialogue, and dedicates much of his time working to build respect and understanding between religious groups. He has co-authored four books from the collection Indigenous Spirituality, published by Editorial Verbo Divino.

Kathryn Ledebur
Kathryn studied Andean history at FLACSO in Quito, Ecuador. She has collaborated with human rights and drug policy organizations in the United States and Latin America. Since 1997, she has worked at the Andean Information Network (AIN), an organization dedicated to investigation, analysis, education, and dialogue on the impacts of US-funded counterdrug policy in Cochabamba, and has been AIN’s director since 1999. She is the author of numerous articles and the chapter on Bolivia in the book Drugs and Democracy in Latin America (2003).

Juan Carlos Martínez Maigüa
Natural Therapist
Juan Carlos Martinez is a natural healer and co-founder of the Center for Alternative Medicine Saber Vivir in Samaipata, which is dedicated to the natural prevention, diagnosis, and treatments of illnesses, focusing on diet and bodily and spiritual healing.

Sonia Virginia Matijasevic Mostajo, MS
Sonia is a zoological veterinarian with master’s degrees in natural environment management and conservation. She has been a professor in Santa Cruz at the Universidad Ecologica and La Escuela Militar de Ingenieria since 2012. She has worked on sustainable development projects with indigenous groups including the Chiquitano and Guaranie Pueblos and has been the director of protected areas in Bolivia since 2010.

Karina Mariaca Olivera, MS
Karina holds a master’s degree in environmental management and ecotourism from the University of Costa Rica. She is co-director of Quinta Consciencia, an experimental permaculture and ecotourism farm in Paradones, Bolivia. She is currently in charge of strategic planning for the municipality of Samaipata.

Felix Muruchi
Felix Muruchi leads a team researching indigenous community justice systems in Bolivia. He studied law at the Public University of El Alto. He was born near one of Bolivia’s major tin mining centers in 1946, began work in the mines as a teenager, and rose to become a union leader. He was imprisoned and twice forced into exile before returning to Bolivia in 1985, where he continues to be an activist as well as a social science researcher. He is the co-author of two books: Pochos Rojos and an autobiography.

Leny Olivera
Leny is a graduate of the University of San Simon in Cochabamba. Since 2000, she has been an activist with Bolivian youth organizations and social movements, in particular with the efforts of Bolivians to address issues related to water, gas, and natural resources. She has been active in international exchanges related to popular education in Bolivia, Sweden, and Tanzania. More recently she has been working to challenge the oppression experienced by young women.

Oscar Olivera
Activist and former shoe factory worker Oscar Olivera was one of the main protagonists in Cochabamba’s Water War of 2000, one of Latin America’s first and most important victories against corporate globalization. The protests of ordinary Bolivian citizens during the Water War pressured the Bolivian government to cancel Cochabamba’s water privatization contract with the Bechtel Corporation. Oscar has been executive secretary of the Cochabamba Federation of Factory Workers since 2000 and is the spokesperson for the Coordinating Committee for the Defense of Water and Life. He was awarded the Letelier-Moffit Human Rights Award in 2000 and the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in 2001. He is the author of the book Cochabamba!: Water Rebellion in Bolivia.

William Powers
William has worked for two decades in development aid and conservation in Latin America, Africa, and North America. He managed the community components of a project in the Bolivian Amazon that won a 2003 prize for environmental innovation from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. His essays and commentaries on global issues have appeared in The New York Times and the International Herald Tribune and on National Public Radio’s Fresh Air. He has worked at the World Bank and holds international relations degrees from Brown and Georgetown. He is a senior fellow at the World Policy Institute and an adjunct faculty member at New York University.

Rafael Puente
History Lecturer
Rafael Puente is one of the most prominent figures in Bolivia’s intellectual, educational, and political arenas. He was selected by President Evo Morales to serve as interim governor of Cochabamba in 2008 and as vice minister of the government in 2006. From 1989-92, he was a national congressman for Cochabamba. He has more than 40 years of experience as an educator in formal and informal settings. He has served as professor, advisor, and evaluator for many prestigious institutions and organizations in Bolivia and abroad. He has written several books and has led many research projects, including founding and directing CIPCA, one of Bolivia’s most prominent centers for the research and promotion of campesinos in Santa Cruz. He is the moderator of a weekly political analysis television program called Vamos a Andar. He is an active and passionate promoter of popular rural education and formerly responsible for the government’s “Mobile School” for the political formation of social organizations. He is currently the director of “Kusikuna,” an alternative elementary and high school on the outskirts of Cochabamba.

Cecilia Quiroga
Cecilia is a Cochabamba native who grew up in the U.S. and decided to move back to Bolivia to study Quechua and deepen her connection to the land. She received her degree in architecture at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Currently, she teaches middle school at Kusikuna Communidad Ecoactiva and is founder of Bike Art Tour. Her work in education focuses on intercultural communication and bridge building. She believes life is the best teacher, and that politics, spirituality, and art are interconnected.

Alejandra Ramírez Soruco, PhD
Alejandra is a sociologist with two master’s degrees, two postgraduate degrees, and a PhD in sustainable human development from the Universidad Bolivariana de Santiago de Chile. She has served as an SIT Study Abroad ISP advisor and co-instructor of SIT Bolivia’s Research Methods and Ethics course and is a member of the program’s ISP Local Ethics Review Board. She heads the Development Studies Center for Higher Education at the University of San Simon in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and teaches undergraduate and graduate level classes at three universities. Her areas of academic interest/research include human development, interculturality, cultural policy, and citizenship. Her most recent co-authored book is Brave Women: Women’s Citizenship and Sustainable Quality of Life in Cochabamba.

Roberto Sahonero
Roberto is the founder and director of the award-winning Bolivian folklore music group Los Masis, and of Centro Cultural Los Masis, an organization in Sucre that promotes the education of marginalized children through traditional music. Los Masis was named by the National Bicentennial Committee as cultural ambassador to Europe, where they performed in Germany, Austria, France, and Switzerland. The group regularly tours throughout Bolivia, Europe, and the United States.

Vivian Schwarz, PhD
Vivian Schwarz, a native Bolivian, has a PhD in political science from Vanderbilt University and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the Universidad Mayor de San Simon. She is research coordinator at the Cochabamba NGO Ciudadania, a community of social science studies and public action. She also coordinates a women’s project called Free without Violence and conducts research on themes of violence, violence against women, citizen security, and access to justice. She has numerous publications and has done extensive research in the social sciences and on public opinion and political participation.

Juan Tellez, PhD
Mayor of Betanzos
Dr. Tellez has been the mayor Betanzos, Potosi, since 1974. He was advisor to the Bolivian Ministry of Development Planning in 2009. He was born in Huantapita, a Quechua community on the outskirts of Potosí. He has a PhD from the Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas, México; a master’s degree in international development studies from Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Canada; and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and theology from the Universidad Católica Boliviana. He is an adjunct professor at the University of St. Mary’s and director of the Atlantic Community Economic Development Institute both in Canada. He has been a guest professor at various universities in Latin America. He has been involved in social movements since 1974 and is currently dedicated to the construction of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. He has worked for various social organizations, educational institutions, government agencies, and community development organizations in Canada, the United States, Central America, Africa and Latin America.  He has visited 37 countries over a period of 35 years, researching successful experiences of local-community economic development and participatory planning.

Gustavo Deheza Ugarte, PhD
Gustavo holds master’s and doctoral degrees in sociology from the Catholic University of Lovaina, Belgium, where he was also a professor. His previous positions include rector of Universidad Privada Abierta Latinoamericana; director of Universidad Católica Boliviana’s Sociology Department; doctoral dissertation advisor at Universidad de Lanús, Argentina; professor at private universities in Bolivia; evaluator for Canadian University Services Overseas; coordinator of the Intermón-Oxfam (Spain-England) program in Bolivia; and external consultant of graduate studies for Bolivia’s Ministry of Education. Gustavo has worked in rural development projects and has published extensively on and lectures in sociology, rural development, education, culture, and research methodology. He is currently president of the MARES Foundation. Gustavo has been an advisor for many SIT students over the past 15 years. He is currently co-instructor of the Research Methods and Ethics course and is a member of SIT Bolivia’s Local Ethics Review Board.