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Passport to Peru

Join us for a series of live online lectures with our experts as we take an in-depth look at Peruvian history and culture. From the days of the Inca to modern-day traditions, these conversations cover a variety of compelling aspects about Peru.

Our specialist hosts are award-winning authors, educators, and scholars that bring extensive knowledge of the country’s history, culture, and economy.

Past Lectures

Artisan Traditions of the Sacred Valley
by Kennedy Leavens, founder of Awamaki

In this exciting lecture, Kennedy Leavens discusses life in Quechua villages and how women are building sustainable futures for their families through the work of Awamaki, a non-profit that helps Andean artisan women start their own businesses. She also explores the rich artisanal and textile traditions of the Sacred Valley and the role they play in Quechua culture and the modern economy.

Mystic Motifs of the Ancient Andes
by Samantha Encalada, Director of Institutional Relations at the Larco Museum

In this session, Samantha Encalada, Director of Institutional Relations at the Larco Museum, explores the intimate bond that existed between pre-Columbian societies and the natural world, and how they were represented in pottery, metals, stone and textiles for posterity, open for us to explore.

Lima’s Melting Pot
by Javier Puente, PhD Georgetown University

Peru's capital holds more than a third of the country’s population. This session follows Lima from its pre-Columbian origins through Spanish rule to its cultural explosion from twentieth century to today.

The Nature of the Andes
by Javier Puente, PhD Georgetown University

This session explores how the dramatic elevations of the Andes mountains have affected Peruvian cultural, political, and social developments, from ancient times to the present.

The Peruvian Culinary Boom
by Javier Puente, PhD Georgetown University

Within the last decade, Peru has acquired a privileged place in the global culinary landscape. This session illustrates the potential and challenges of cuisine as an element of twenty-first century nationalisms.

Machu Picchu’s Legacy
by Javier Puente, PhD Georgetown University

Machu Picchu lies at the core of Peru’s archeological and historical heritage. This session explores Machu Picchu's history of neglect, as well as the manifold preservation challenges that lie ahead.

Land of the Incas
by Kim MacQuarrie, four-time Emmy winner and Peru explorer

This session discusses the pre-Columbian period in Peru, including the rise of the mighty Inca Empire leading up to the Spanish Conquest.

The Conquest of the Inca Empire
by Kim MacQuarrie, four-time Emmy winner and Peru explorer

This detailed session explores the conquest of Peru by Spanish conquistadors, including the capture of Inca Emperor Atahualpa and the subsequent series of battles that led to the Spanish victory.

Meet the Speakers

Kim MacQuarrie
Peru Explorer & Four-Time Emmy Winner

Kim MacQuarrie is an American-born Four-time Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker and author of 3 books on Peru. He has a bachelor’s degree in biology and a Master’s in anthropology.

He has spent several years in Peru visiting all the Inca ruins he has been able to find, and living with the Yora, a recently-contacted tribe of indigenous Amazonians. This experience was the inspiration for his book The Last Days of the Incas, which recounts one of the greatest epic stories in the Americas - the conquest of the 10-million-strong Inca Empire by 168 Spaniards.

Javier Puente
Ph.D. in Latin American history from Georgetown University

Javier Puente holds a Ph.D. in Latin American history from Georgetown University. His research focuses on twentieth-century agrarian, rural, and environmental history of the Andes.

He is a professor of Latin American and Latino/a Studies at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. Javier’s extensive knowledge of the history of the Andean region and the know-how of the ins and outs of guiding is a significant piece of the puzzle in making our travelers genuinely experience the most out of their tours.

Kennedy Leavens
Founder of Awamaki

Kennedy Leavens is the founder and director of Awamaki, a non-profit in Peru working to connect Andean women artisans with the modern economy through their ancestral crafts.

Peru captured Kennedy's imagination on a school trip in 2001. She went on to study Latin America and economic development at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, and moved to Peru after graduation. There, she founded Awamaki, and she lived in Peru for most of about eight years. During that time, she earned her Masters in Public Administration, specializing in nonprofit management, from the University of Washington in Seattle. Kennedy now lives in Seattle full-time, travels to Peru regularly, and dreams of moving her family back there someday.


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