A team of student journalists from UNC Hussman School of Journalism will develop stories about the community of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno in the Galapagos

Davison has been teaching photography, video, and transmedia documentary since 2001. During this time, more than 25 student groups have created multimedia projects in places including Thailand, Argentina, Mexico, Panama, Cuba, Colombia, Puerto Rico, North Carolina, and the Galapagos Islands. Many of these projects have received significant recognition.

The UNC Global Storytelling course is part of the Global Immersion program of UNC – Chapel Hill, whose main objective is to ensure students have the opportunity to discover and learn about different work alternatives that the world offers to their careers. One of these classes is “MEJO 584: International Projects” and allows students to travel globally and create a multimedia documentary project.

Patrick Davison reflected on his time with the program, sharing, “I started leading this program in 2008, but the Hussman School of Journalism and Media has been running it since 2002. Every year we choose a different location, select five topics, and form groups of students that include two videographers, a photojournalist, and a developer (programmer) to create in depth, rich media stories on the five topics. This year the themes we have chosen are related to terrestrial or marine ecosystems, governance, culture, and tourism and development.”

UNC Global Storytelling classes have been held in several countries, and this is the fourth time that it has been held in Galapagos thanks to the inter-institutional collaboration with Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) and the Galapagos Science Center (GSC).

Patrick Davison described how the class was initially created. ”We started developing the class in Galapagos when Steve Walsh, founding Emeritus Director of UNC Center for Galapagos Studies, suggested to me that I should consider running the class here. Steve provided an immense amount of help, including connecting me with the USFQ staff, since the GSC didn’t exist when the class was started in 2009. Their work has been fantastic in making it happen, as we needed a lot of local support to be able to develop the class. We needed permits and we also seek to show authentic stories told from the voices of local people. So, it is a collaboration and an inter-institutional agreement that works very well.”


Claire Revere filming a Galapagos member of the Biosecurity Agency

UNC Global Storytelling was born as an innovative way of documenting global stories through international journalism.

Patrick Davison added, “For students this is a life-changing experience. Something that I enjoy personally is seeing how students grow through this challenging experience. When students become professionals, they will have to work in interdisciplinary teams, so they have to see how all the members are successful, they have to adapt, listen, and even learn to translate another language. It’s a challenge for them.”

Camila Moreno interviewing a Galapagos National Park member

Camila Moreno Lizarazo, a third-year UNC Hussman student added, “When I have done reports at UNC – Chapel Hill, I have done them locally. Having the experience of entering another community that is not ours, with people who want to explain how things work on the islands and who open the doors of their homes to us, it is super beautiful. All the things that we have learned, all the things that we have known, the culture, in only 10 days has been incredible.”

Claire Revere filming a Galapagos member of the Biosecurity Agency

Claire Revere, a student in Hussman’s Master’s program in Strategic Communication commented, “The best part of this is working on a multimedia team. I have never worked with reporters, photographers, videographers, and graphic designers before. I think that being able to access all these different communication components and learning how to work in a team is both challenging and rewarding. I am sure that we will achieve a very complete product because we are creating them from different thoughts, opinions, and ideas.”

The Living Galapagos project will be screened publicly on April 26, 2022, at 6p.m. in the Nelson Mandela Auditorium of the UNC FedEx Global Education Center. 

The website www.livinggalapagos.unc.eduwill launch simultaneously with the screening, and will contain an archive page to host the 37 stories from the 2009, 2012, and 2013 Living Galapagos projects.

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In 2022, the Galapagos Science Center (GSC) and the broader UNC & USFQ Galapagos Initiative will celebrate its 10th Anniversary. We are proud to announce the World Summit on Island Sustainability scheduled to be held on June 26–30, 2022 at the Galapagos Science Center and the Community Convention Center on San Cristobal Island.

The content of the World Summit will be distributed globally through social media and results documented through papers published in a book written as part of the Galapagos Book Series by Springer Nature and edited by Steve Walsh (UNC) & Carlos Mena (USFQ) as well as Jill Stewart (UNC) and Juan Pablo Muñoz (GSC/USC). The book will be inclusive and accessible by the broader island community including scientists, managers, residents, tourists, and government and non-government organizations.

While the most obvious goal of organizing the World Summit on Island Sustainability is to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the GSC and the UNC-USFQ Galapagos Initiative, other goals will be addressed through special opportunities created as part of our operational planning of the World Summit.

For instance, we seek to elevate and highlight the Galapagos in the island conservation discourse, seeking to interact with other island networks in more obvious and conspicuous ways to benefit the Galapagos Islands, the UNC-USFQ Galapagos Initiative, and the world. We will seize the opportunity to further develop the I2N2 – International Islands Network-of-Networks. Further, we wish to highlight and emphasize multiple visions of a sustainable future for the Galapagos Islands and we cannot do this alone. Therefore, engaging the Ecuadorian Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Tourism, the Government Council of Galapagos, the Galapagos National Park, and local Galapagos authorities, including government and non-government organizations and local citizen groups, is imperative.

The Galapagos Science Center on San Cristobal Island, Galapagos

Borrowing from Hawaii’s and Guam’s Green Growth Program and the Global Island Partnership, we wish to examine existing global programs that emphasize island sustainability and their incorporation into life, policies, and circumstances in the Galapagos Islands. We will also seek to enhance our connections with the institutional members of our International Galapagos Science Consortium and expand the Consortium through the recruitment of other member institutions. We will also work to benefit islands and their local communities by working with citizen groups as well as important NGOs who seek to improve the natural conditions in the Galapagos and diminish the impact of the human dimension on the future of Galapagos’ ecosystems.

Lastly, we will use the World Summit to benefit UNC & USFQ and our constituencies through a strong and vibrant communication plan about the World Summit, creating corporate relationships as sponsors, identifying funding goals through donors, and benefiting our study abroad program for student engagement in the Galapagos Islands. We plan to develop and issue a Galapagos Sustainability Communique after the World Summit that includes the vision and insights of all its participants for a sustainable Galapagos with applicability to global island settings.

We are eager to hear your perspective and have you join us at the World Summit on Island Sustainability!