South America: where, for five years, Humboldt and Bonpland explored the world through as many fields of study as they could muster, seeking to reinterpret the ideas of the time. They flirted with art, geography, astronomy, politics, mountaineering, mathematics…
In doing so, Humboldt realized how every discipline nourishes the next, an idea that eventually led him to create the many volumes of Cosmos, where he illustrates the world’s perpetual interrelationships and how everything — species, elevations, ocean currents, stars and human beings —are connected.
Two hundred and fifty years after Humboldt’s birth, his legacy continues to inspire the academic program of the Department of Human Sciences of the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador (PUCE). With six schools under its helm, the department’s professors focus on building critical thinking and creating a more pluralistic view of the world, as well as an environment of cooperation between researchers and students, who truly get the best of their education.
For Andrea Muñoz (PhD), Department Dean, it is important that the programs focus on research as a tool for learning, where data and reference sources must be understood through current academic procedures.
“It is vital to rethink the relationships between culture, nature and society when forming our new professionals. – Andrea Muñoz, PhD -”
When exploring tourism attractions, for example, students are confronted with the ecology, anthropology, even archeology, of each destination. The institution in itself is keen on strengthening ethics and environmental awareness in students, through a desire to conserve nature and promote ancestral values, while creating innovation within the tourism industry. This perspective comes into dialogue with the School of History (the only one in the country) in order to better grasp the identity of a place’s tourism potential. At the School of Geography, one of two such institutions in the country, finding common ground between humans and their environment is also pivotal, and can even bring students to combine their studies with subjects as varied as Gender Studies or Statistics.
The field work, travel, in-depth research regardless of the branch of human knowledge, and constant sharing of discoveries with scientific colleagues around the world were crucial tools for Humboldt when constructing a new way of understanding life on Earth. Today, despite the centuries, this view is still a valuable resource when confronting today’s social and environmental crises.
Whilst generating interdisciplinary projects, the schools that make up the Department of Human Sciences support each other to promote a more holistic knowledge and understanding of the world.
Like 200 years ago, when Humboldt walked this land, we remain a complex country. Finding new approaches when seeking to couple Ecuador’s social, cultural and natural dynamics and diversity to the demands of the world, is a major objective of the Department of Human Sciences at PUCE, in its pursuit of a more united and holistic world. PUCE offers visionary takes on our academic degrees that respond to today’s realities and important resources for students such as financial aid and different international exchange and internship programs. At PUCE, like throughout our present world, Humboldt is still very relevant.
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