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Climate Dialogue to Peru & Brazil completes 2 of 4 phases

May 24, 2018

The 2018 Northeastern University Dialogue of Civilizations on Climate Change Science and Policy, led by Professor Auroop Ratan Ganguly and co-led by his PhD student Udit Bhatia, completed the first two of the four phases. The team of twenty-eight undergraduate students, two student mentors (Francisco Franco Bulhões Mendes and Yara Gosula), one logistics manager (Prabodh Badoni), one PhD student co-instructor (Bhatia), and one instructor (Ganguly), started from Boston on May 12, spent about a week in Peru (Cusco and Lima) and about a week in Brazil (Rio de Janeiro). The interdisciplinary students are drawn from multiple Northeastern colleges including engineering, science, social science, computer science, and arts/media/design, and hail (or have heritage) from all habited continents across the globe other than Oceania. In less than two weeks, this Dialogue has touched two of the new seven wonders of world, specifically Machu Picchu (Peru) and Christ the Redeemer (Brazil), observed three intriguing camelid species (llamas, alpacas, and vicuñas), laughed and danced the way along the mountains of Peru and the beaches of Brazil, interacted with locals, tourists, and with each other, had dedicated academic sessions on climate science and policy, and interacted with a world-renowned climate scientist and policy maker (Carlos Nobre) and a couple of eminent professors (Roberto Schaeffer of UFRJ and his research group, as well as Carlos André Bulhões Mendes of UFRGS) in Brazil, a serial entrepreneur and a Brazilian representative at the World Economic Forum (Juan Carlos Castilla-Rubio, a Peruvian in Brazil), as well as Profs. Raul Enrique Injoque Espinoza and Mercedes Beatriz Gomez Lazarte from UPC in Peru and Peruvian industrialist Mario Salazar, President of Agricola Chavin. We have learned about the inequality in Brazil's Rio (including the favelas along the hills and mountains for the poor and the upscale highrises along the beaches for the rich), the replanted forests in the urban highlands, and how the forest separates two distinct stratas of society. We have learned how the Peruvian capital of Lima is called a selfish capital, and how the great Inca civilization was destroyed to the point that very little remains. We have been happy to experience the diversity of Brazil, while also pondering about the challenges in economics, environment, and governance. Meanwhile, we have learned about Lorenz equations and chaos theory, deep uncertainty and non-stationarity, climate models and data analysis, climate risk frameworks, and even artificial intelligence, and done a bit of coding in Python and MATLAB, even as we prepare for the climate change war games modeled partially on a CNAS-led climate war game. Finally, from home-cooked food prepared by locals to gastronomic indulgence in a restaurant run by the world famous Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio, we have tasted it all! The next two phases of the trip will be in Salvador, the cultural capital of Brazil, and Manaus, the gateway to the Amazons in Brazil.