Foreign Service National Spotlight: Monica Romo

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Meet Monica Romo, who supports indigenous rights, forestry, conservation enterprises, and more in Peru.

As a child in Peru, Monica Romo traveled throughout the country, visiting coastal provinces in the west and seeing the Andes mountain range. Then, in high school, she visited the Amazon region for the first time and found her future career direction. “I was so inspired by the Amazon and the forest,” Monica says, “that I studied biology and specialized in ecology.”

In 2011, Monica transferred her ecology studies to her role as a Regional Amazon Environment Specialist with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). She currently manages two activities: Amazon Indigenous Rights and Resources and Strengthening the Capacities of Indigenous Organizations.

“You have the ability to think of solutions to environmental problems and turn them into reality.”

Both programs foster indigenous rights and economic opportunities while also strengthening natural resource management. Despite the challenges of international development, Monica appreciates the rewarding experience of seeing results in her work.

Monica Romo in Peru

Looking to the future, Monica envisions an Amazon region in which “governments incorporate more of the goals of biodiversity in different sectors.” She thinks that both environmental and social sustainability can be more consistently integrated into programs, especially those that rely on natural resources. At USAID, Monica is a champion for conservation, particularly now that the world is experiencing unprecedented rates of biodiversity loss. In the face of such environmental challenges, Monica sees hope in the younger generation. “They have been more exposed to and educated on environmental matters. They can be leaders.”