Resident Director, Rehearsing Change and Instructor
Activist, educator, youth worker, and artist at heart, Chelsea Viteri was born and raised in Quito, Ecuador. She completed her undergraduate and graduate studies at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts with a major in Theater Arts and a minor in International Development. Her Masters’ degree is in Community Development and Planning.
A youth worker and community organizer for over 8 years, Chelsea has worked with diverse communities in both Ecuador and the United States, utilizing artistic expression, including theatre, music, poetry and documentaries, as a means for collective empowerment and creative conflict transformation.
A scholar-practitioner, Chelsea is also active as a researcher. Her earlier work centered on the experiences of women in the midst of extractive industries in Latin America. In Guatemala she carried out an oral history project with the women from La Puya, a community actively resisting a mine and in Ecuador she conducted research on the experiences of women in Tundayme, a rural-indigenous town located in the middle of Ecuador's first mega mining concession in Ecuador. Currently she is leading Pachasyana's projects in Participatory Action Research, with one project focused on Gender and Hip Hop in Quito and another exploring Indigenous epistemologies from the Amazon region.
In her spare time, Chelsea enjoys hiking, writing and making music. She is very excited to be part of the Pachaysana family, striving to decolonize our minds and collaborate in intentional and non-extractive ways.
Daniel "Millaghe" Acosta
Community Coordinator and Instructor
Daniel was born in Ecuador, where his parents instilled upon him the importance of working with the communities of his country. A communication specialist, community activist and defender of Mother Earth, Daniel’s mission is to work with the children and youth, helping to bring them into a more intimate relationship with the earth, agriculture and the protection of seeds. He lives in Santa Teresa de Pintag where his community projects crossover between art, liberation pedagogy and agro-ecology. Currently he is carrying out a Seed Bank project, which seeks to build greater consciousness of local identity via the cultivation and curation of diverse seeds. With formal studies in communications, Daniel is a a renaissance-man, having also studied, formally and informally Political Law, Global Education, Local Empowerment, Theatre, Film, Permaculture and Agroecology.
In addition to teaching and facilitating workshops, Daniel works closely with our partner communities to coordinate the Rehearsing Change program and provide support for our many grassroots development and education projects. He also coordinates the logistics of our coursework, assuring that they are effectively applied to community needs.
Executive Director and Instructor
An educator, activist and artist, Daniel specializes in the use of participatory theatre as a means of education, empowerment and development. Originally from the United States, he has lived most of the last 20 years in Ecuador, where he has worked with indigenous and marginalized communities, in both rural and urban sectors, while teaching at the University San Francisco de Quito. In his current role as Executive Director of the Pachaysana Institute, he is developing research on Fair Trade Learning and how international education programming can simultaneously serve local education programming. He is also active in co-developing participatory, arts-based research that rethinks the way in which we construct/reconstruct cultural identity. Daniel’s most recent community arts projects focus on Ecuador’s troubled Amazon region, where he facilitates workshops on conflict transformation and community empowerment among indigenous and settler peoples. In addition to his work in Ecuador, he lectures and leads workshops at universities across the United States, most recently with American, Brandeis, Brown, The Ohio State University, Clark University, North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Texas at Austin, College of the Holy Cross and Juniata College. Previously, he co-founded the internationally renowned cultural educational organization, Fundación Quito Eterno, lectured/researched under a Fulbright Scholar Grant in Quito and directed study abroad programming in Ecuador. He holds an MA in Education from the University of Tulsa and an MFA in Theatre from UCLA. Daniel offers a diverse array of Presentations, Workshops and Residencies in Ecuador and abroad.
María Belén Noroña
Belén was born and raised in Quito, Ecuador. She is a scholar, activist, and educator with over ten years of experience working with rural and indigenous communities in social development and educational projects in Ecuador. She has a Ph.D. in Human Geography with research interests in indigenous territories, the pressures of oil and mining extraction over rural land, and race and gender discrimination. She has taught for Beloit College, The University of Oregon, and the Universidad San Francisco de Quito. Belén is a co-founder of the Pachaysana Institute and the Quito Eterno Foundation, and she has been involved in the production of formal and popular educational methodologies for both organizations.
Belén currently works as a post-doctoral Mellow Foundation Fellow at the Center of Environmental Futures (CEF) at the University of Oregon. Her research is geared towards a better understanding of race and gender violence in the Amazon region. As the Research Coordinator with Pachaysana, Belén is applying her research to Pachaysana’s educational model and will be making the results widely available to both U.S college students and rural communities in Ecuador. This collaboration includes the participation of students and community members in activist research, and it also focuses on improving teaching methodologies among Pachaysana educators.