Success Story: Carmen Kameko, alum leads economic, social and environmental remediation in Peru

Filed Under: EARTH News
Date: June 20th, 2019

Carmen Kameko (’03, Peru) has dedicated her career to channeling producers’ competitiveness into the advancement of biodiversity.

Carmen Kameko (’03, Peru)

Photo by courtesy of Carmen Kameco

She studied forestry and was working on reforestation projects at the Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonía Peruana (the Amazon-focused research arm of Peru’s Ministry of Environment) when she first heard about EARTH University. EARTH graduate Ronald Corvera (’97, Peru) was working for the same governmental agency when he told Carmen about his beloved academic experience. “[Ronald] gave me the application form and explained so much about the University that I really wanted to study there. I was so excited. I wanted to make a change in my country, and it soon became clear that EARTH was the place where I would find the tools to do so.”

She came to adore the campus’ rich diversity. “I learned to take advantage of the wealth of cultures – absorbing their positive experiences and applying them to my home country. I learned not only to value my own culture, but also to appreciate the cultural knowledge of my classmates and professors. That, in addition to EARTH’s education model, was wonderful.”

The University’s academic program comprises four areas of formation:

Carmen’s EARTH education opened many doors. She has since completed two master’s degrees – the first in Applied Life Sciences from Kyoto University (Japan) and the second in Economics from the National University of San Antonio Abad del Cusco (Peru).

Carmen Kameko (’03, Peru)

Photo by courtesy of Carmen Kameco

Professionally, Carmen exemplifies how EARTH graduates do not merely conduct research or provide technical assistance; rather, they are empowered men and women who drive meaningful sustainable development within communities.

She worked for Fondebosque – the promotional fund for forestry development in Peru – where she focused on native species reforestation projects. She also served as a consultant on various projects, analyzing social, economic and environmental returns on investment (ROI). One collaboration, carried out with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, involved the coordination of a sustainable model for the restoration of degraded areas.

Currently, she serves as the executive director of MINAM+CAF, a program of Peru’s Ministry of Environment that seeks to strengthen the ecosystems of vulnerable communities through public investment.

Carmen Kameko (’03, Peru)

Photo by courtesy of Carmen Kameco

“At EARTH, I made my life’s most precious memories. I was able to live and share with marvelous people: professors, staff and students. All of them, in every interaction, instilled in me a love for the earth, for the environment, and for my fellow humans. There, I strengthened my desire to contribute to the development of my region. I am realizing that desire through the execution of my current work,” she says. “Something that made a big impression on me was the work we did in the communities neighboring the University, working alongside the farmers. That was very enriching because I was able to gain knowledge simply by doing and could observe how sharing all I had learned at the University changed the lives of families.” 

Today, Carmen works to boost the abilities of local producers to earn a living and protect the land, while also seeking to improve the capacities of local and regional governments to remediate damaged environments and spur ecotourism.