Ecuador: Culture and Development

Faculty and Staff

Faculty and lecturers typically include:

Diego Quiroga, PhD
Diego Quiroga holds a PhD in anthropology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is currently vice president of external and student affairs at Universidad San Francisco de Quito and co-director of the Galapagos Academic Institute for the Arts and the Sciences (GAIAS). His area of expertise is sociocultural anthropology and his topical interests include medical anthropology, environmental anthropology, and indigenous and Afro-American cultures of Latin America. Dr. Quiroga has served as dean of the graduate school, dean of academic affairs, dean of social sciences, and full-time professor at Universidad San Francisco de Quito teaching courses in history, Andean anthropology, and medical anthropology. He has conducted extensive research in Ecuador, and his work has been published in many prestigious academic journals. Amazon Basin Productive Systems and Health in Communities Living in the Upper Amazon Basin, Ecuador and Magic and Healing: The Role of the Devil and the Saints in Muisne, Ecuador constitute some of his major contributions to the field.    

María Cuvi, MA
María Cuvi holds an MA in literature from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador. She is considered one of the leading feminist authors in Ecuador. She has extensive experience as a researcher, teacher, and activist. As a professor, she has taught several courses on gender and development, poverty, ethnicity, social movements, environmental issues, and academic writing at several universities and graduate schools including Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), Universidad Politécnica Salesiana del Ecuador, Instituto Complutense de Estudios Internacionales de Madrid, Universidad de LLeida, Catalunya, Universidad Mayor de San Simón, Cochabamba, Bolivia, and Pitzer College Program in Ecuador. María Cuvi is the author and editor of several pioneer studies in the field of gender both in Ecuador and in the Andean Region. 

Sebastián Granda, MA
Sebastián Granda holds an MA in Latin American studies from Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar. He is currently enrolled in a doctorate program on Latin American Cultural Studies at the same university. He serves as director of social sciences and human behavior studies at Universidad Politécnica Salesiana del Ecuador and teaches sociology of education and bilingual intercultural education. Sebastián Granda is also a research director and teacher at the Pitzer College Program in Ecuador. As a researcher and author, he has contributed significantly in the fields of indigenous rights, intercultural education and pedagogy, citizenship, and migration.

Fabian Espinosa, Academic Director

Fabian Espinosa, Academic Director
Fabian Espinosa studied biology and anthropology at the University of California at Santa Cruz, where he completed his MA in anthropology. His previous experience includes serving as communication and information coordinator for the Charles Darwin Research Station on the Galápagos Islands, executive director of and researcher for the Cofán Ethnographic Museum in the Cuyabeno Nature Reserve, and advisor to the president of Ecuador on environmental and indigenous affairs. Additionally, he has extensive experience in Ecuador as a naturalist guide and cultural interpreter, leading specialized groups in archaeology, indigenous cosmologies, and natural history. He is also associated with the Instituto Cientifico de Culturas Indigenas (ICCI) and the Universidad Intercultural Amawtay Wasi (UIAW). He co-directed the SIT Ecuador: Development, Politics, and Languages program from 1999 to 2013 and, since 2013, has been the sole director of the program.

View Fabian Espinosa's full CV.

Leonore Cavallero, Intercultural Specialist

Leonore Cavallero, Intercultural Specialist
Leonore Cavallero has an MA in multicultural education/bilingual counseling from the University of San Francisco, California. She has worked with SIT since 1993, as an academic director of the Ecuador: Culture and Development program and, for one semester, SIT’s Cape Town, South Africa, program. Her professional experience in Ecuador includes eight years working for the Peace Corps Training Center as family coordinator, master trainer, and interim training center director. Prior to the Peace Corps, she worked for two years as a guidance counselor for Ecuadorian high school students. Leonore regularly presents sessions on intercultural/interpersonal relationships and safety issues to international education and volunteer organizations based in Ecuador. She wrote Surviving Re-entry: A Readjustment Manual for Parents, a handbook for parents of students returning home from studying abroad, as well as a safety manual for students. In her role as intercultural specialist, Leonore serves both SIT programs in Ecuador using her expertise to provide support and assistance to students and staff. She has lived in Ecuador since 1981 and raised her two children in a bilingual environment. She has Ecuadorian residency and dual nationality in the US and Italy.

Review Leonore Cavallero's full CV.


Costs Dates



Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Quito

Language Study: Quichua,  Spanish

Prerequisites: 4 semesters college-level Spanish or the equivalent and the ability to follow coursework in Spanish, as assessed by SIT. Read more...

View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Fall 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Spring 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Fall 2012 Evaluations (PDF)


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