Patricio V Márquez

General Assembly Member

One of the first things that I wanted to do after I retired from the World Bank Group in August 2019, where I worked for 32 years as a Public Health specialist serving in over 80 countries, was to finds ways to “reconnect” with Ecuador. I left Cuenca, my native city, decades ago, so it was time to “come back”, although I reside with my family in Washington D.C.
During a visit to the Galapagos Islands in November 2019, I became enchanted by their sheer beauty, and was deeply impacted by the realization that the observations made on the nature of the Archipelago in 1535 by Fray Tomas de Berlanga, bishop of Panama, whose vessel drifted off course in the Pacific Ocean en route to Peru to an “unknown and strange land”, and later by Charles Darwin in his epic voyage in 1835, have in large measure withstood the passage of centuries. Indeed, I was not only not only captivated by a sense of distance and isolation from mainland Ecuador, but I was confronted by a “strange mixture of volcanic terrain pummeled by strong ocean currents, tick mists that make the islands disappear and then reappear at sunrise, leafless shrubs, large cacti, and strange animals, that are not afraid of humans”. Indeed, during the visit I was able to fully comprehend Darwin’s observation in the “The Voyage of the Beagle”, a journal that underpinned his seminal work “On the Origin of the Species” that: “Considering the small size of the islands, we feel the more astonished at the number of their aboriginal beings, and at their confined range. Seeing every height crowned with its crater, and the boundaries of most of the lava-streams still distinct, we are led to believe that within a period geologically recent the unbroken ocean was here spread out. Hence, both in space and time, we seem to be brought somewhat near to that great fact--the mystery of mysteries--the first appearance of new beings on this earth.”
During my 2019 trip to the Galapagos, I also visited the Charles Darwin Research Station campus and had the opportunity to chat with some of its staff and learn in detail about their work. As an Ecuadorian living abroad for most of my adult life, I felt great pride for the work done by the Foundation and the Galapagos National Park in preserving this UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site.
While responding back to public health duty in February 2020, to help prepare the US$26 billion COVID-19 Global Emergency Response Program at the World Bank Group and serve as a Senior Associate at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, I started to explore in parallel options to bring my accumulated global experience and connections to the service of the Charles Darwin Foundation. This in order to contribute to decades-old work of the Foundation in conserving the Galapagos Islands’ unique ecosystems and marine reserve.
On November 8, 2021, after being nominated and applying to the position, I was honored to be elected as a Governing Member of the Charles Darwin Foundation at its Annual Meeting. This reinforced my commitment to serve with honor and dedication in supporting the work of the Foundation guided by a deep conviction developed after my 2019 visit that we all have an obligation to protect the Galapagos Islands as a legacy of humanity to future generations.

The ‘Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands’, in French ‘Fondacion Charles Darwin  pour les Iles Galapagos’, Association Internationale sans but lucrative (AISBL), has its registered office at Avenue Louise 54, 1050 Brussels, Belgium. Trade Registry # 0409.359.103

© 2022 Charles Darwin Foundation. All rights reserved.