Press Release

Local Culture, Global Environment

February 6, 2018 – by Katie Kuckelheim '19

Ohio Wesleyan graduate Kemi Fuentes-George, now a professor in Vermont, returns to his alma mater Feb. 20 to discuss how local culture impact international environmentalism. (Photo courtesy of Kemi Fuentes-George)

Ohio Wesleyan Alumnus, College Professor to Share Research Feb. 20

DELAWARE, Ohio – Kemi Fuentes-George, Ph.D., a 2001 Ohio Wesleyan University graduate, returns to his alma mater on Feb. 20 to discuss “Post-Slavery Narratives and Conservation in Rural Jamaica: How Local Culture Affects Global Environmental Governance.”

Fuentes-George, now an assistant professor of political science/environment studies at Middlebury College in Vermont, will speak at 7 p.m. Feb. 20 in Benes Room B of OWU’s Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, 40 Rowland Ave., Delaware.

An international studies major at Ohio Wesleyan, his presentation is sponsored by the OWU International Studies Program and by its Arneson Institute for Practical Politics and Public Affairs.

Fuentes-George’s talk is based on his recent book, “Between Preservation and Exploitation: Transnational Networks and Conservation in Developing Countries.” The book explores how local justice claims affect states’ abilities to fulfill their obligations under international environmental agreements .

“After learning more about conservation projects in developing countries,” Fuentes-George said, “I have become even more engaged at learning how environmental management can be carried out in ways that promote social justice among marginalized people. 

“I have seen firsthand how poor people and ethnic minorities can have their interests pushed aside, either by conservationists or by commercial interests,” he said, “and it is an issue that bothers me tremendously as someone from a developing country.”

After graduating from Ohio Wesleyan, Fuentes-George enrolled in the University of Massachusetts, Amherst to pursue a doctorate in political science.

“Only when I finally started taking classes that intersected with my pre-existing interest in human rights and the environment did the purpose of a Ph.D. program really click with me,” he said.

When he started teaching, Fuentes-George said, he tried to model himself after OWU professors who were always “accessible, encouraging, and knowledgeable.”

From his lecture, he said, Fuentes-George hopes his former professors, current students, and everyone in the audience, gains a better understanding of the importance and impact of justice claims on global governance. 

In addition to publishing his book in 2016, Fuentes-George has published research in Global Environmental Politics Journal, book chapters in Routledge, and environmental justice articles on Salon.com.

Learn more about Fuentes-George at www.middlebury.edu. Learn more about Ohio Wesleyan’s International Studies Program at www.owu.edu/internationalstudies and the Arneson Institute at www.owu.edu/arneson.


Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 90 undergraduate majors and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through Ohio Wesleyan’s signature OWU Connection program, students integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.