Introducing Rossi Taboada

UNMSM student Rossi Taboada in Canta, Peru

Rossi Taboada is a member of the IWSN research team led by Prof. Bram Willems of the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (the National University of San Marcos, or UNMSM). Rossi was born in Lima, Peru, in 1990, the youngest of eight sisters. She studied anthropology at UNMSM, the oldest continuously-operating university in the Americas, having been founded in 1551 via a charter from the Holy Roman emperor Charles V.

Although in her early years Rossi had in mind a different career, she was drawn to the idea of being a professional who would understand and contribute to the resolution of social problems. During her senior year of high school, she participated as a school leader in the Lima neighborhood of El Agustino, where she lives. There, she met young university activists and engaged in discussions about still-current issues that had come to the fore during a period in the 1980s that was marked by political violence. These interactions and discussions sparked her interest in the social sciences.

Initially Rossi studied gender issues in Lima and in the mountain city of Ayacucho, the base of the 1980s Sendero Luminoso insurrectionist movement. She also conducted research on health and food security in Lambayeque, in the northern Peruvian coastal plain.

Since 2013 her studies have been partly supported by the USAID-funded PEER (Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research) project “Strengthening resilience of Andean river basin headwaters facing global change,” directed by IWSN collaborative partner Prof. Bram Willems of the UNMSM Faculty of Physics Sciences. As part of this effort, Rossi is studying socioeconomic factors that support river-basin headwaters degradation and how the effects of that degradation can be addressed so as to enhance socio-ecological resilience. This social component of the PEER project is directed by UNMSM anthropologist Fabiola Yeckting, with whom Rossi worked in the Ayacucho studies related to family economy and gender.

In 2014 Rossi participated in a workshop on socio-ecological systems at the Ecosystems Research Center (at UNAM, the National Autonomous University of Mexico), in Morelia, Mexico. The workshop included students and researches from different scientific fields, from several Latin American countries. There, the group discussed such topics as socio-ecosystems, water management, environmental degradation, social conflicts, and policies and institutional frameworks. Partly based on the workshop’s outputs, the organizers expect to establish a Latin American Network of Socio-ecological Studies.

Rossi’s topics of interest are socio-environmental conflicts, development, gender, and public policy. In pursuit of her fields of interest and in order to strengthen her professional training, Rossi’s near-term goal is to pursue a Master’s degree in Social Sciences at another IWSN partner institution, El Colegio de Sonora (COLSON), in Hermosillo, Mexico, working with longtime Udall Center water-policy collaborator Prof. Nicolás Pineda. Rossi’s MA studies will be partly supported by funds from the IWSN project.

During her free time, Rossi likes to spend time with her family, friends, and pets. She also enjoys reading novels, listening to music (of any genre, but especially rock and roll), and watching movies – documentaries, drama and sci-fi. These last activities have honed her English-speaking skills.