Peru spans 90 microclimates including 1,500 miles of arid coastline, the dramatic peaks and valleys of the Peruvian Andes, and 13% of the Amazonian rainforest, the second-largest portion after Brazil. It is also a safe haven for several endangered species including monkeys, cats, and a particularly beautiful species of hummingbird.
UC Irvine Impact Academy has two bases in Peru: one in Lima, the Peruvian capital poised on the cliffs of its seaboard, and one in Cusco, the former stronghold of the Incan empire nestled away in an Andean valley. These two locations give UC Irvine Impact Academy students the chance to study how conservation and sustainable development goals are successfully achieved by local organizations in both an urban and rural context.
Peru features over 60 ethnic and linguistic groups but many are still not recognized. Traditions are being lost due to people moving from rural areas, in the Andes and Amazonian regions, to urban settings, namely Lima, in search of greater economic opportunities. Delivering the same quality of healthcare and education in both urban and rural regions is a challenge. Managing the extreme weather conditions of the country, in addition to the rapid changes brought about by the climate crisis, is another. In the Amazonian region, deforestation also needs to be addressed.
- Learn and analyze how communities in the greater Cusco area are working to effectively manage their main source of potable water.
- Research how these same communities surrounding Cusco are building heat-regulating homes to prevent energy expenditure.
- Investigate how these communities are using their traditional practices to create economic opportunities through cultural tourism.
- Study how indigenous medicinal practices and the western medical system interact to improve the health of the Peruvian population.