The Unrecognized Contribution of Pehuenche Indians to Global Private Sector Social and Environmental Policies

  • 19 Apr 2023
  • 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
  • Online via Zoom (must register to receive log in information)


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IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This talk will be presented online using Zoom. Registration is required before 3:00 pm on Wednesday, April 19, 2023. Log in information for Zoom will be emailed to those who have registered with their registration confirmation as well as by 3:00 pm on Wednesday, April 19, 2023.

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Date: Wednesday, 19 April 2023 

Location:  Online meeting via Zoom

Time: 7:00 pm

YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/xEHRVn3KE-c


Theodore Downing, PhD, Research Professor of Social Development; President, The International Network on Displacement and Resettlement, University of Arizona 

About the talk:

The Unrecognized Contribution of Pehuenche Indians to Global Private Sector Social and Environmental Policies

International social policies, just like indigenous peoples, have their origin stories.  Dr. Ted Downing will  recount how  a small band of Pehuenche Indians in Chile triggered the formation of  crucial  global private sector social and environmental policies. Specifically the Pangue project brought about a strengthening of International Finance Corporation’s  institutional capacity to address environmental and social issues, adoption of the Safeguard Policies (i.e. Performance Standards); and establishment of its compliance office. These, in turn, led to the Equator Principles - the foundation of global social policy for international financing. Ted will share field methods that he and his wife Carmen used to empower  Pehuenche voices -- bands with only a single secondary school graduate.  Anthropologist colleagues are deeply ensconced in this story - including Claudio Gonzales and Jeanne Simon, Terrance Turner, Barbara Rose Johnston, Michael Cernea, Dan Aronson, Bill Partridge and other former and current WAPA members. And credit is given to the American Anthropological Association, who convened an unprecedented hearing on human rights violations in Washington. Ted seasons the story with some applied anthropological lore.

About the speaker:

Dr. Theodore (Ted) Downing was trained in Social Anthropology at Stanford University.  He approaches forced displacement from many perspectives. As a consultant for three international financial intermediaries, Ted is experienced in project appraisal, supervision, evaluation, including investigating two accountability complaints for the World Bank’s Inspection Panel. As a theoretician, Ted and his wife Carmen developed a model of the social impacts of displacements, focusing on how a forced displacement upsets routine culture--the customary spatial/temporal and social order--giving rise to a temporary rearrangement, dissonant culture. As founding President of the oldest professional association of specialists working on this problem, the International Network on Displacement and Resettlement (​www.displacement.net​), Ted has voluntarily represented and organized groups to represent persons involved in involuntary resettlement, including two iterations of the World Bank’s involuntary resettlement policies. His assignments and writings have crossed the mining, hydropower and energy development boundaries sectors, including public and private sector projects. Ted has also worked with many NGOs. Ted's advocacy took an unexpected turn when, in 1996, circumstances forced him to file the first three human rights charges made against the International Finance Corporation (IFC) over the harm a Chilean hydropower resettlement was inflicting on the Pehuenche Indians of Southern Chile. The American Anthropological Association (AAA) held hearings in Washington and supported his claims.  A positive outcome of his complaints was that it nudged a sequence of events that led the IFC to write its Social and Environmental Performance Standards and set up the IFC Compliance Accountability Office. Ted eventually returned to the Bank as an investigator for its Inspection Panel, completing constructive investigations of the Bujagali (Uganda) and West African Gas Pipeline. Thanks to the voters in Arizona, Ted was elected lawmaker to the Arizona legislature, where he was a member of the Arizona House Judiciary and Ways and Means committees. While there, he successfully crafted incremental changes in the laws of eminent domain. He also authored Arizona’s innovative hand-count audit law that was cited on the floor in Congress after it reconvened following the January 6 insurrection. Ted serves as a Research Professor in Research, Innovation and Impact at the University of Arizona. He is a former Arizona President of the State American Association of University Professors, former board member of the Arizona ACLU, and Past President of the Society for Applied Anthropology.    His advocacy and academic work and personal background is available at​ ​www.TedDowning.com.

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