By María Alejandra Hincapié
The Humboldt Institute is the official research institute on biodiversity of Colombia. Created by government decree as a response to the Convention on Biological Diversity in the early 1990s, the institute operates as an independent non-profit and has grown to work in regional and international levels with the motivation to expand and share information on biodiversity, ecosystems, conservation, and
sustainability. It hosts online catalogs with thousands of data points, has a rich team of researchers, and supports the writing of reports and projects where biodiversity and nature are considered.
This summer I had the opportunity to intern within the Office of International Affairs, Policy, and Cooperation of the institute (OAIPC). I worked as part of a team of two focusing on international cooperation and supported problem solving within the larger team. Part of my responsibilities included monitoring for funding opportunities, translating and generating cooperation documents, and contributing to the grant writing process. During this time with the OAIPC team I was able to attend meetings with representatives of the Inter-American Development Bank, the Presidential Agency of Cooperation of Colombia, GEF, and IPBES. Early in August, the institute received Samantha Power, administrator of USAID, as part of the transition for the new government of Colombia. Leading up to the visit, I helped my direct supervisor, Diana Pulido, prepare to be part of the welcoming team. My final and perhaps most important project was supporting the writing and translating of a proposal to host the Technical Support Unit for the upcoming IPBES Business and Biodiversity assessment. I also had the opportunity to translate documents
developed for the “Amazon Region Biological Diversity and Ecosystem Services Assessment” by the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization, for which the institute was serving as Technical Support Unit.
This internship fulfilled many of the learning objectives I had for myself. When considering the possibilities for summer ventures I knew I wanted to gain experience in grant writing and stakeholder engagement as well as practice using Spanish in a professional environment. This experience also had the added benefit of exposing me further to the world of biodiversity and conservation, which I’ve become increasingly passionate about.