MPP Alum Helps to Preserve Costa Rican Forests
Olga Corrales, MPP ’92, came to the Institute to get a certificate from the Program in International Development Policy and left with both the certificate and a degree from the MPP program. Corrales had entered the Institute with a law degree and experience in international development. While at the Institute, she enjoyed the flexibility and size of the MPP program and took advantage of classes at the Nicholas School of the Environment, as well as networking opportunities through the Organization for Tropical Studies and Research Triangle Institute.
While at Duke, Corrales did a summer internship with the Organization of American States, which allowed her to spend a month in Panama researching the legal and institutional challenges facing the indigenous Guaimy community in northern Panama with the creation of the Mesoamerican corridor. Thanks in part to her work, the Guaimy’s land became a protected area.
Since graduation, Corrales spent eight years at the World Bank working on a variety of environmental projects from Mexico to Ecuador. She also worked for UNDP in Costa Rica as an environmental program officer. Now, Corrales works with model forest projects in Costa Rica, these projects center on local people controlling their own land around sustainable use. The program is based at the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center, considered to be the most important educational institution for natural resources management in Latin America.
Of her time at Duke, Corrales says that the program “reshaped my analytical skills.” In particular, she felt that Robert Behn’s case study course and Sunny Ladd’s classes in economy were amazing. “The skills and language I learned have allowed me to navigate in the world of decision makers.”
Corrales’ husband, David Feingold (MPP ’92), also is working on development in Costa Rica. His work centers on developing socially conscious small businesses and promoting tolerance through interfaith dialogue. In 1997, David opened Boston Bagel, San Jose’s first bagel company.