Diego has led the research and international programs at USFQ for over 10 years. His vision contributed to make USFQ accomplish Number 1 post in Latin America in internationalization (Times Higher Education). His most recent position was Dean of Research and International Affairs as well as Co-Director of the Galapagos Campus in San Cristóbal, Galapagos.
Diego obtained his Ph.D. in Anthropology of University of Illinois at Urbana, Champaign. His research focus is Urban Ecology, Political Ecology and Medical Anthropology in the Galapagos, Amazon basin y the Andes. Diego has been working constantly in biodiversity and vulnerability research as well as traditional medicine in the region.
Diego believes that the role of universities is to be a part of the innovation ecosystem and that it should be tied to the community needs to develop public policy and support the private sector. His work philosophy is based in Liberal Arts, which promote inter disciplinary groups of work where each person contributes with its area of expertise to go forward in research.
Born in Quito, Ecuador. He is the founder of USFQ, the first totally private university in Ecuador, and co-founder of the Colegio Menor San Francisco de Quito.
He traveled to the United States where he obtained a B.S. in physics and a Master's in nuclear physics. He earned his PhD in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has written many articles on science and education. He graduated from the American School of Quito as the best graduate in the physics-mathematics specialization and made his first painting exhibition at the age of 18, a skill that he later dedicated to graphic design. Furthermore, due to his interests in Eastern philosophies he started a yoga and meditation center. He was a professor at several universities abroad and in Ecuador for over 30 years.
A prolific writer, columnist for the newspaper El Comercio and Hoy, book writer: The Fourth State of Mind, Meditation; Logbook of Vegetarian Cuisine and co-author of the third translation of Tao te Ching directly from Chinese to Spanish.
In 1996 he received the title of Doctor Honoris Causa from Kalamazoo College, Michigan, the world's first university for international programs.
In 2009, he was awarded the highest honor that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (the oldest public university in the United States) presents to his former students for “outstanding contributions to humanity”, the “Distinguished Alumnus Award”.
In 2012, he received the “Federico González Suárez” Award, granted by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce of Ecuador, for educational merit in recognition of the contribution to the education of youth.
He received the "Excellent Individual from the Confucius Institute in 2015" award from the Government of China.
In 2016 the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill honored him by naming 25 scholarships the name Santiago E. Gangotena Grants.
In November 2018, the Ecuadorian Institute of Political Economy awarded him the recognition of "Hero of Freedom" for his contribution to education in Ecuador under the elementary principle of Freedom.
He has been a very successful private entrepreneur, creating companies in the publishing, graphic design, and advertising branches. He promoted the construction of a highway that connects Guayaquil and Quito, La Vía del Sol.
Andrea C. Encalada is an Ecuadorian ecologist with over 30 years of experience in the fied of river conservation as well as the species living in them. Andrea obtained her Bachelor degree at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador and did her Ph.D. at Cornell University, USA. In 2004 she founded the Aquatic Ecology Laboratory at USFQ and in 2016 the BIOSFERA-USFQ Research Institute. In this institute, she has developed a wide high range research program with international cooperation that has produced more than 70 peer reviewed publications, six book chapters and 2 books. Due to her contribution to Ecuador´s research, she earned the “Matilde Hidalgo” National Award and was admitted to the Ecuador Scientific Academy. Additional to her research work, her teaching practice and her devotion to mentor young scientists, Andrea has led several regional conservation initiatives. One of the most prominent is her role as Co-chair of the Science Panel for the Amazon which is a global project to develop and compile the best scientific information possible to promote the amazon basin conservation in a long term. As a scientist, Andrea seeks to develop and use scientific information as a tool to promote biodiversity and ecosystems conservation, sustainable development, and social-environmental issues mitigation. As a professor and Vicerector at USFQ, it is her dream to contribute to a new generation of young professionals with high moral values and dedication to academic excellence, humanism, and solidarity within the framework of Liberal Arts.