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Fausto Sarmiento

Fausto O. Sarmiento, Ph.D., is professor of Mountain Science in the Geography Department at the University of Georgia in Athens. He is also Courtesy Faculty in the School of Ecology and Honors Faculty mentor. Previously Dr. Sarmiento served as Co Director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and as Director of the Office of International Education. His bachelor’s degree is from Catholic University of Ecuador in Quito (Biological Sciences); his masters’ degree is from Ohio State University in Columbus (Tropical Ecology), and his doctorate is from The University of Georgia (Landscape Ecology).

            Dr. Sarmiento has been involved in major disciplinary and institutional change processes to promote sustainable and regenerative development in mountain environments and in restructuring evaluation criteria used for landscape conservation in the Tropical Andes. He was Regional Editor for Latin America for the journal Mountain Research and Development, and Editorial Board member of Pirineos, the Journal of Mountain Ecology.  He serves in advisory boards of global mountain organizations and represented the International Human Dimension Program of Global Environmental Change to the Science Board of the Mountain Research Initiative (MRI).  He was chair of the Mountain Geography Specialty Group (2002-3 and 2014-5) of the Association of American Geographers (AAG) and is chair of the International Geographical Union’s Commission on Mountain Studies. He is a former president of the Andean Mountains Association (AMA).  Currently, he is executive committee (Capacity Building) on Mountains at the World Commission of Protected Areas (WCPA) and a member of the Protected Landscapes Task Force in the World Conservation Union (IUCN). He was the chair of the International Research and Scholarly Exchange Committee of the AAG, and now is on the board of the International Program of the Satoyama Initiative of the United Nations University (UNU).

            During his 40 years of experience in the developing world, particularly in academic leadership, administration, research, and education –starting as high school biology teacher and ending as Executive Director of the National Museum of Natural History in Ecuador–, Dr. Sarmiento has distinguished himself in Montology, receiving recognitions and awards from his peers, including a Fulbright Fellowship Japan, a Fulbright Scholar Ambassador, and a Fulbright Global Scholar award to Austria, Japan, and Chile.  He has published widely with more 16 books and over 120 journal articles and book chapters devoted to higher education, mountain research, conservation of biodiversity, environmental planning, ecological theory, and mountain community development; he presented keynote speeches in International Congresses and Symposia, developed numerous national presentations and international workshops; and demonstrated success in fund-raising and institutional strategic planning.  He was consultant to UNESCO and IUCN in matters related to conservation of mountain ecosystems and cultural landscapes.  He has been invited as international Juror for Nature Conservation Awards and as an evaluator and professor of international masters’ courses on Rural Development and Environmental Planning in Europe and Latin America.  He also provided technical assistance, teaching, and evaluation services to several universities.  He is node for the Latin American Ethnobotanical Sister Garden network, and the Latin American and Caribbean Mountain Research and Innovation Network (LACMONT).

            Dr. Sarmiento received recognition from the International Honor Society Phi Beta Delta for outstanding scholarship, leadership, and service in the field of international education; a plaque from AAG for fostering sustainable development in mountain environments; a plaque from CEPEIGE, the Pan American Center for Geographical Education and Research; and a distinction trophy from “La Tierra y su Gente” in Argentina. In 2007, SGA recognized him as Faculty of the year for his excellence in teaching and for his contributions to students at UGA. In 2019 he received the AAG’s Barry Bishop Career Award and recently the 2023 AAG’s Denali Recent Accomplishment Award. He received the Fulbright Global Scholar Award in 2022-2023 and has been selected as Jefferson Science Fellow by the National Academies of Science, Medicine and Engineering in 2024.

         When not in the field, in the classroom, or in commission elsewhere, he enjoys gardening, reading, listening to folk and classical music, and volunteering in the Latino community.