Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Teryn Wolfe: 2014 Fulbright Scholar

<p><span>Teryn Wolfe working in the field over January term in Minca, Colombia.</span></p>

Teryn Wolfe working in the field over January term in Minca, Colombia.

June 18, 2014

Program: International Environmental Policy, Concentration in Business, Sustainability and Development

Undergraduate Institution: Ohio University

Fast Fact: Teryn will be researching Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM), a low-technology, often poverty-driven mining activity which occurs in most developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Not only is ASM a cultural heritage in many parts of the world, it represents a rapidly growing sector in the mining industry, providing socioeconomic opportunities for an increasing number of families globally.

Fulbright location: Tadó, Colombia

What will be the focus of your work and research, and why have you chosen to explore this topic?

My research will assess the benefits of the FAIRMINED certification for Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Miners (ASGM) in Tadó, Colombia. There are over 100 million ASGM miners globally. The ASM mining sector suffers from a negative reputation due to informality, mercury pollution, environmental degradation and poor social practices. Due to the fact that ASGM occurs largely in rural areas where there is poor governance, regulation and enforcement have had very little impact on improving the ASGM operations. The FAIRMINED certification system operated by the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) in Medellin, Colombia provides a unique opportunity to help ASGM miners solve the daunting challenges they face within the sector while reducing poverty and providing a better quality of life. I chose to study a fair trade certification system for ASGM because I strongly believe that market-based mechanisms like the FAIRMINED certification have the potential to leverage even rural extractive activities for poverty reduction and environmental protection locally and globally.

How has your experience at MIIS prepared you to take this step? 

Studying at MIIS has equipped me with the analytical tools that I need to solve complex problems and work collaboratively in multicultural settings. The range of topics I was able to study at MIIS in the context of my particular areas of interest have prepared me to address issues regarding business, policy, conflict management and more. Notably, through my time at MIIS I developed an extensive network of professionals that I have- and will continue- to learn from throughout my own professional development.