In the first of a series of posts, we are introducing the people who make up our organization and our team. Today we’re speaking to Solsiré Cusicanqui, archaeologist and researcher for Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú involved with the SPI project site of San Jose de Moro, Peru.
You obviously have a keen interest in archaeology! Were you always interested in cultural heritage?
“Living in a country like Peru, with such rich cultural heritage, I grew up surrounded by archaeological sites and a strong cultural tradition. But it was through my father’s job that I was fortunate to travel around my country and learn about the rich culture we had, but also the poverty that existed especially in the most remote towns.”
“In Peru we have clear examples of how the appreciation of this heritage can become a source of income and an important identity builder. Starting with important archaeological discoveries, followed by an investment aimed at conservation, preservation and exhibition of them there has been a significant increase in tourism that promotes massive job creation, to name just one aspect, as it is in the case of cities in Lambayeque, Trujillo, and Cusco.”
Where have you trained and how has your career developed until now?
“I got a B.A. in Archaeology at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP) where I met Dr. Castillo who was my professor and now boss. I did diverse specializations in my career working on different projects in Peru. I am currently a researcher at PUCP as part of the San José de Moro Archaeological Program, and in charge of the Social Responsibility Project. I have also been working for the SPI organization for the last 3 years.”
How, and most importantly, why did you first get involved with SPI?
“Around three years ago, while working in PASJM, I met the CEO of SPI Larry Coben. We were the first project in Peru to work with SPI and the results were pretty good, so he asked me to join the team. Obviously, I agreed as I believed from the start in this new paradigm.”
What has been your favorite moment working for SPI so far?
“It is hard to think of a single good moment, because my work for SPI has too many. Generally, I like get totally involved in the projects, meet the local people and understand their needs and strengths. It is always great to see these projects begin and grow, watch how the excitement of people gets bigger, turning them into entrepreneurs and learning more about their traditions, which strengthens their identity and turns them into the leading advocates of heritage around them and their heritage.”
“The ability to improve the quality of life of people of my country is the best reward I can get from this job.”
Last but not least, what are your plans for the future?
“I would like to continue training myself in Cultural Management, combining the two things I love the most: archaeology and cultural heritage. I believe that in countries like mine, where more people increasingly value their heritage, we need different development proposals, both economic and social and cultural. I think the SPI paradigm should expand throughout Latin America, and I would like to be part of this process.”