The Praxis Award for Excellence in the Practice of Anthropology was established by the Washington Association of Professional Anthropologists in 1981 and since then has been competed on a biennial basis.

WAPA is pleased to announce that Amanda Stronza has won the 2011 Praxis Award (including a $1,000 check) for her competition entry: Posada Amazonas: A Partnership for Ecotourism in the Peruvian Amazon.    

Amanda Stronza

Posada Amazonas is a community-based ecotourism lodge in the Peruvian Amazon. It was built in 1996 as a joint venture between the Native Community of Infierno, a village of 150 families, and Rainforest Expeditions, a private tourism company. The partners split profits and agreed to co-manage the lodge for 20 years. Community members work not only as boat drivers, cooks, and guides, but also as directors, owners, and decision-makers in the company. Successes to date include substantial economic returns for the community, local stewardship of forests and wildlife, and a variety of social benefits, including strengthened community organization and local autonomy. For nearly two decades, Stronza has collaborated closely with both partners to gauge economic, social, cultural, and environmental impacts. Few ecotourism projects have been so carefully documented using the tools of anthropology. Stronza has shared the story of Posadas Amazonas in the popular media, public presentations, and a documentary film. In 2003, she directed a series of tri-national workshops with indigenous leaders in similar community-based ecotourism projects in Bolivia and Ecuador. For its achievements in connecting conservation and development, the Posada Amazonas project has earned many international awards, including recognition by the United Nations Development Programme Equator Initiative.

Amanda Stronza is Associate Professor of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Sciences, and she co-directs the Applied Biodiversity Science NSF-IGERT Program, at Texas A & M University.

Also, Adam Koons has earned the 2011 Praxis Award Honorable Mention for his competition entry: Afghanistan Vouchers for Increased Production in Agriculture.

Adam Koons

In 2008, Koons, an anthropologist working for an international NGO, co-designed a $60 million one-year emergency agricultural recovery program for northern Afghanistan in response to drought and increasing food insecurity. Through local knowledge and cultural sensitivity, and through consultation with and involvement of local communities, the project maintained local dignity, self-determination, and participant ownership, while enhancing local productive relationships. At its conclusion, the program had assisted 341, 301 small farms (1.7 million persons) to regain their own food security. This was the largest project of its kind ever implemented by the U.S. Government. The project’s success led to its expansion within Afghanistan and time extensions that continue to 2011.

Adam Koons is Director of Humanitarian Assistance at International Relief & Development.

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