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Javier Cuestas-Caza (EPN, Ecuador) visits the Arnold-Bergstraesser-Institut

Christina Espinosa, Fabricio Rodríguez, Javier Cuestas-Caza

Cristina Espinosa, Fabricio Rodríguez & Javier Cuestas-Caza in Freiburg.

Javier Cuestas-Caza, a distinguished scholar from the Escuela Politécnica Nacional (EPN) in Ecuador, visited the Arnold Bergstraesser Institute (ABI) in Freiburg, Germany. His stay from 23 May - 1 June 2024 was marked by productive discussions about collaborative research at the intersection of science and technology studies, governance, and Andean-Amazonian notions of well-being with his colleague and co-author from ABI, Fabricio Rodríguez. Fabricio had previously reviewed Javier’s work in the ALMA review blog, which features reviews of inspiring colleagues in and from the Global South, from whom ABI researchers draw inspiration and which contributes to building relationships of reciprocal exchange.

Javier’s agenda included a conversation with Cristina Espinosa from the Chair of Sustainability Governance at the University of Freiburg. Javier, Cristina and Fabricio all come from Ecuador and share an interest in the political trajectory of the concepts and implementation of plurinationality, rights of nature, and post-Western alternatives to ‘development’ in/from South America. They held conversations about the question of what Sumak Kawsay (Kichwa for “good life/living”) means for current debates on alternatives to “development”, natural resource conflicts, and postcolonial practices. This question is partly addressed in a recent open-access article that Javier and Fabricio co-authored with Lucía Toledo (EPN, Ecuador) and published with Forest Policy and Economics under the title „Transcultural bioeconomy governance in a plurinational state: Sumak Kawsay and bio-based production in two Kichwa territories of Ecuador“ 

Javier Cuestas Caza’s visit provided a unique opportunity for the ABI to deepen its commitment to fostering academic exchange and interdisciplinary research. This experience highlights the importance of building reciprocal relationships to address key topics and produce original research across geographical borders and disciplinary boundaries. 

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