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Dr. Andrea Muñoz-Barr

Professor at Faculty of Natural Sciences at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador

Principal Investigator in Sustainability Studies for the conservation in the Charles Darwin Foundatio

Andrea Muñoz Barriga has a PhD in Natural Sciences in the area of Human Geography from the Sustainability Department at Ernst-Moritz-Arndt, University of Greifswald, Germany. The topic of her doctoral studies was “Governance and Management of two Biosphere Reserves in Ecuador: Galapagos and Sumaco”. She has also a Master of Sciences in the area of Agroecology from the Georg-August University of Goettingen, Germany. Moreover, she has a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador (PUCE) in Quito. Her research trajectory has an interdisciplinary characteristic. She have been working since 2007 in the Galapagos Islands with different research topics linked with the development and conservation in protected areas, tourism and conservation of the natural and cultural heritage, social ecological systems, gentrification, among others. She was the former Dean of the Faculty of Human Sciences (2016-2019) at PUCE, where she was fostering the harmonization between the different disciplines that belong to the Faculty. Therefore, she developed several research Projects and an interdisciplinary lecture in the field of social ecological systems. Her main objective is to work in the field of sustainable development and the conservation of biodiversity trying to evaluate the tied links between nature (geography and tourism) and society (anthropology, history and sociology). Now, she is professor and researcher in the Master of Biology at Faculty of Natural Sciences, as well as in the Master of Urbanism of the Faculty of Arts and Architecture. Moreover, she is the coordinator or the research group Social Ecological Systems at PUCE. She has won several grants among them a consolidation grant from the Leading House of St. Gallen, Switzerland to evaluate the ecological, social and psycographic carrying capacities of the Galapagos Islands in 2022. Andrea has several publications including peer review scientific articles, book chapters and scientific dissemination manuscripts. At the moment, she is the Principal Investigator in Sustainability Studies for the conservation in the Charles Darwin Foundation in Puerto Ayora, Galápagos and at the same time she continues to be part of PUCE.

Marco E. Benalcázar, PhD

Researcher at the Department of Computer Science and Informatics at the Escuela Politécnica Nacional (EPN)

Marco E. Benalcázar is an expert in artificial intelligence with over 13 years of experience. Currently, he is a faculty member and a researcher at the Department of Computer Science and Informatics at the Escuela Politécnica Nacional (EPN), in Quito, Ecuador. He is founder and the director of the “Alan Turing” Artificial Intelligence and Computer Vision Research Lab at the College of Systems Engineering at EPN. He earned his Ph.D. in Electronic Engineering from the Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, in Argentina. He was also a visiting researcher at Texas AM University in College Station, United States. He has led multiple research projects on foundations and applications of artificial intelligence (AI). He has published more than 65 articles in high-impact scientific journals and conferences worldwide. He is also a scientific disseminator and provides consulting services in the fields of AI and computer science. Finally, Marco has received several national and international awards for his outstanding research career.

Gisela Montalvo

Executive Director of the Ecuadorian Chamber of Innovation and Technology

Gisela Montalvo is the Executive Director of the Ecuadorian Chamber of Innovation and Technology, a chamber that represents the Tech industry and promotes Digital Transformation in Ecuador. For several years she worked in the public sector of Ecuador. She was an official of the Embassy of Ecuador in the US, advisor in the Coordinating Ministry of Production, Employment and Competitiveness. She was Director of Líderes para Gobernar Corporation, Director of the IDE School of Government and President of the Ecuadorian Center of Excellence in Anticorruption. Gisela has a Degree in Political Science and International Relations, Master in Public Policy and MBA. She has an Executive Program in Leadership Decision Making by Harvard Kennedy School. Wife of Roberto, mother of Sergio, Julia and Sebastian.

Michael Rowland

Professor of Political Science at Universidad de los Hemisferios

A French – Ecuadorian political scientist with a successful professional career as director, manager, and consultant in Latin America. Extensive work experience in open government, anticorruption strategies, good governance, conflict resolution, environmental conservation, civil society empowerment, political group strengthening, conflict resolution, local governments improvement, and constitutional reform.

Proactive interaction with women, youth, and indigenous people in polarized societies. Fluid cooperation with public agencies and third sector: USAID, IDRC, NDI, DFID, UNDP, IDEA, AECID, TI, Konrad Adenauer, Friedrich Ebert, and AVINA Foundations.

Ecuadorian Constitutional Assembly Member (1997-1998), “Red Interamericana de Democracia” Executive Secretary (2003), “Iniciativa Latinoamericana de Investigación para las Políticas Públicas” Executive Secretary (2016-2018). Ecuadorian Foreign Service Member (2009-2011), President of “Quito Honesto” (2019-2021). Currently, he works as a professor in Universidad de los Hemisferios.

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