Category: Harvard and Venezuela

Collecting Orchids In the Venezuelan Orinco-Amazon Interfluvium

Orchidaceae are by far the largest family of all flowering plants, with species occurring all over the planet except in its very coldest and driest habitats. However, as is the case with most other living organisms, orchids are not evenly distributed. Most species grow in the tropics; as we approach the poles, their numbers diminish rapidly. The United States and Canada, for example, have approximately 208 species, Mexico, some 1250 species …

Plants Under Stress in the Tropical High Andes: Learning from Venezuela and Beyond

Tropical mountains are privileged places for ecological studies. Going up and down the slopes, like the ones surrounding my home town of Merida, Venezuela, we may simulate changes in temperature. While moving from one slope to the next or moving along seasonal precipitation gradients, we may study plant responses to water availability. These studies have shed light on identifying possible climate change effects on …

A Design Revolution: Caracas on the Margins

We write with a sense of urgency as we hear the deafening sounds of the city. When we read that the price of oil has rocketed to more than $140 a barrel, here in Caracas we are reminded of the impact of oil on the development of our city, first by despotic petro-populist development and later by hyper real petro-dollar development. Caracas continually faces blind building aggregation and arbitrary political decision-making, but …

Forum Venezuela: Moving Students, Student Movements

Harvard’s Forum Venezuela, a student-run organization, seeks to promote awareness of Venezuelan issues and culture, while connecting Venezuelan students living inside the United States both to each other and with their countrymen and women back home. The Forum was founded in the mid-1990s by Kennedy School of Government students who wanted to reach out beyond the confines of the school and to the sizeable but …

Barrio Adentro: A Look at the Origins of a Social Mission

Barrio Adentro, a social program that has expanded throughout Venezuela providing health care to city slums and rural communities, started in the Caracas municipality of Libertador—which includes slums with extreme poverty and high population density. In 2002, the Local Development Institute (IDEL), an agency responsible for social programs in this municipality, found in a door-to-door survey that the community’s pressing needs …

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