Ecuador & Dominican Republic Notes 2012

05 September 2012

En route to Quito. It’s been a tiring day-and-a-half of airports, queues, flights, taxis and a brief few hours in a hotel. London-Miami-Santa Domingo-Panama City-Quito is certainly not the most direct way to get to Ecuador, but needs must.

The air time has been unusually unproductive and unreflective, despite pre-flight plans to mark Cambridge dissertations. Instead, I have been entertained by the Alien prequel Prometheus, an offbeat Scottish heart-warmer The Angel’s Share (bad lad finds meaning in life via a whiskey distillery) and the amusing period film Hysteria (about the invention of the vibrator as a cure for anxiety in housewives). I have also been listening to the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (A Study in Scarlet) and At World’s End (Ken Follett), besides reading wizard detective Pete’s exploits in Moon Over Soho (Ben Aaronovitch).

Ahead lies a busy schedule of talks in Ecuador, followed by a keynote in Dominican Republic, hopefully with a few days of R&R in and around Santa Domingo.

07 September 2012

Had a great day yesterday – addressed a CEO breakfast in Guayaquil, then drove 3 hours over the Andes to visit a porcelain factory in Cuenca.

I’ve written a review of John Elkington’s The Zeronauts – “guaranteed to inspire a new generation of sustainability”.

08 September 2012

Had a good workshop today in Quito, using the CSR 2.0 Self-Assessment Diagnostic tool. Interesting regional differences between cities.

09 September 2012

Arrived in Dominican Rep last night. Today, explored Santa Domingo’s old city. Hot & sticky, but a wonderfully vibrant culture & great music. Enjoying working at my hotel in Santa Domingo beside a pool with turtles swimming around & basking in the sun on the rocks! 🙂 Watching the US Open Tennis men’s final. Can Murray hold his nerve & go on to win his first grandslam title? Go Andy go!

11 September 2012

Enjoyed giving the keynote at Dominican Republic’s 1st CSR conference by INTRAS. Tonight, a taste of Santa Domingo’s music & dance!

13 September 2012

In transit in Miami airport for the n-th time. One day, I need to get beyond the terminal to the beach! Looking forward to being home.

19 November 2012

I’m in Quito, Ecuador for the week, presenting at various events on the ethical economy, responsible business 2.0. & future fitness

Just heard that I’m to be included in the CSR International Top 20 Sustainability Leaders of 2012, based on an expert poll.

21 November 2012

Had an interesting session today at the Chamber of Commerce in Quito, talking about safe, shared, smart, sustainable & satisfying futures

23 November 2012

Another busy day in Ecuador, including a TV interview. Tomorrow is the Charity Ball, where I’ll be posing as a penguin

24 November 2012


Had a packed week, presenting to students at the Catholic University, entrepreneurs at the British-Ecuador Chamber of Commerce, local government agencies at the National Decentralisation Strategy event, NGOs dealing with women and rural development, companies embarking on S2M certification in the security and oil sectors, and the newly established Minister of Transparency – all this as part of Responsibility 2.0 Week. The forums gave me a great opportunity to test out my 5-S Future-Fitness Framework, which proved to have great potential as a tool for dialogue and planning among multiple stakeholders. Participants were able to identify problems, measures and actions to guide progress towards a more safe, shared, smart, sustainable and satisfying future.

As always, I was generously hosted by Roberto Salazar and his companies, Hexagon and S2M. We have resolved to collaborate on a research paper based on our experiences this week, and I will also focus one of my Guardian columns on dialogue as a catalyst for social cohesion in Ecuador. We finished off the week with a Charity Ball last night, which saw me schmoozing with the British and EU ambassadors in Ecuador, doing my best to impersonate a penguin (in my tuxedo). There was a fantastic live band called The Academicians and the lively dancing was pure joy to watch – and to indulge in. No wonder Latin Americans score so high on measures of happiness and life satisfaction. Somehow, celebration is at the heart of their culture, despite all the challenges faced by people in the region.

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Ecuador 2011 Notes

01 October 2011

On my flight to Quito from Guayaquil in Ecuador, I watched a really good movie on the plane – directed by Woody Allen, called Midnight in Paris’. It’s about an aspiring writer who gets in touch with his nostalgia through travelling back in time, finally learning to live in and appreciate his present, albeit one in which he is more true to himself and his muse.

Also, I bought some books at the airport that I’m enjoying – Solar, by Ian McEwan, Slow Love, by Dominique Browing, and Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman. This last one is a story told by a boy who recently arrived in London from Ghana. It has echoes of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

The workshop in Quito went well. Then I spent some time with a colleague, Maria Sara, visiting the indigenous market, while my friend Roberto went to the service for his father, who passed away a month ago. I managed to find a beautiful tablecloth and authentically traditional bag.

After Roberto’s service, he took me to a restaurant overlooking the city. The changing light as the sun set was truly magical, especially as there were storm clouds gathering. After coffee at his brother in law’s, we came home and he played some piano and guitar for me. I even had a strum and tried to dredge up my memory of songs I used to play.

I found out a bit about refugees in Ecuador – a few hundred thousand, mainly from Columbia. The law here is very open and welcoming, which also has its own problems. In Columbia, there are apparently about 4 million internally displaced people.

Well, tomorrow I leave at 6.15 am for Galapagos, via Guayaquil. I am looking forward to a few days break, and the wildlife I will hopefully see. I will take lots of photos.

02 October 2011

I’m on the plane at Guayaquil, in transit from Quito to Galapagos. Once again, I am struck by how fortunate I am. This little escapade is being paid for by someone else (CEAL) as an incentive to induce me to stay on to speak at their conference next week, for which I am most grateful.

As much as the chance to see the islands’ exotic creatures, I am looking forward to getting more connected to Darwin’s story, a second link, after his Cambridge history. It is hard not to be swept up by the profound eddies of fate which brought Darwin to these islands and helped to confirm his theory of evolution. In a world of grey ordinariness, we inevitably bask in the reflected colourfulness of great discoverers, wishing that we could be the ones who left a luminous mark on the cave walls of history. I am no different.

Despite this imminent prospect of adventure – or at least new sights – I am reminded of Alain de Botton’s observation in ‘The Art of Travel’ that the only trouble with ‘getaway’ holidays is that we take ourselves along. And so when I read about the tragic fictional character of Nobel Prize winner Prof Beard in McEwan’s ‘Solar’, I am looking for my reflection on the page.

Related Diaries

Galapagos 2011 Notes

Related Poems

Galapagos | Serenity

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