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Karen Wong-Pérez, MSc MPhil

Karen Wong-Pérez, MSc MPhil

PhD candidate. Thesis title: From mirrors to windows: Understanding the links between the Natural Environment and local perceptions of Human Well-being and Environmental fairness in San Felipe, Yucatán, México.

My research aims to explore the local notion of 'Environmental fairness' in a fishing community of Yucatan, México. By understanding the local perception of how the natural environment contributes to a 'good life' my research aims to understand how poverty and human well-being metrics relate to local notions of environmental fairness.



  • 2014-2015: Independent Consultant for organizations including:
    1. UNEP-OCHA Joint Environment Unit (JEU) of the United Nations Environment Programme and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs -
    2. PACÍFICO, a platform comprised of five trust funds in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Colombia and Panamá
    3. Tarahumara Foundation, Mexican NGO focused on the development of indigenous communities living in the Tarahumara Sierra, Chihuahua, México.
  • 2012-2013: Knowledge Management and Mexico Mosaics Initiative (MMI) Program Manager - The Nature Conservancy (TNC). The MMI is a 10-year collaborative initiative between TNC, local NGO's, government agencies, multilaterals and private sector around a common vision of conservation, economic development and human well-being.
  • 2005-2012: Strategic Partnerships and Capacity Building Program Manager. The Nature Conservancy - Mexico Program
  • 1999-2005: Coordinator of the Environmental Leadership Program 'Friends of Nature' - Tecnológico de Monterrey. Environmental Quality Centre


  • PhD candidate (Geography), University of Cambridge, 2015 - Present
  • MPhil (Conservation Leadership) University of Cambridge (Distinction)
  • MSc (Environmental Systems and Natural Resources Management) Tecnológico de Monterrey, México
  • BSc (Chemical Engineering with minor in Environmental Engineering) - Tecnológico de Monterrey, México

Honours and awards

  • Tim & Wendy Whitmore Fund - Fieldwork funds (2016)
  • CONACYT Cambridge Trust Scholarship (2015 - 2018)
  • Santander Cambridge Trust Scholarship (2013 - 2014)
  • CONACYT Scholarship (2013 - 2014)
  • Churchill College Grant 2014
  • Recognition as one of the 2012 'Ethical Heroes'. The Nature Conservancy, 2012
  • CODA Fellowship. The Nature Conservancy. 2011 - 2012
  • Student Leadership Award. Granted by the Student Union Department. Monterrey Tech Institute. December, 2000
  • State Youth Award- Conservation and Environment Category: Granted by Nuevo Leon State Government. Honorific Mention. Monterrey, Nuevo, León, 2004.


My research is focused on a Mexican fishing community in Yucatan, México. It aims to understand the local concepts and perceptions of what constitutes a good life, worth to be lived and its links to the natural environment. It then seeks to explore the social process under which a shared notion of inter - generational environmental fairness could be reached. This socially-constructed notion of Environmental fairness involves the combination of qualitative research methods (i.e. in-depth interviews and focus groups) to get an account of the local meaning of Environmental fairness and its components. In essence, the first stage involves the understanding of the environmental elements that are considered vital components of human development. In-depth interviews will be used to get individual perceptions, while focus groups will allow me to understand how the notion of Environmental fairness is contested between participants. Finally, the measurement of Environmental fairness involves the application of household surveys to get qualitative and quantitative information about the environmental components of fairness - defined during the previous research stages- through the combination of a participatory approach (bottom-up approach) and policy analysis.


Selected publications and presentations

  • Wong-Pérez, Karen Jossuely & Lasch-Thaler, Cristina (2012) Measuring the success of the Management Capacity Building Program for Marine Protected Areas in the Gulf of California, Knowledge Management for Development Journal, 8:1, 93-104.
  • Wong-Pérez, Karen Jossuely (2007); Biochemical functions of geophagy in the maroon-fronted parrot (Rhynchopsitta terrisi). December. Monterrey, Mexico. MSc Thesis.
  • Wong-Perez, Karen Jossuely; Ramos, Daniel. (2007) Capacity building processes for Protected Areas Managers. Paper presented at the II Latin American Parks Congress, Bariloche, Argentina. October.
  • Wong, Karen Jossuely; Enkerlin-Hoeflich, E.C; Marroquin, R.; Correa-Sandoval, A. Nelly; (2005) Environmental Paradigm Shift and Community Benefit. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the North American Association For Environmental Education, Oct 24, 2005

External activities

  • Member of the Ecosystem-Based Management Tools Network
  • Member of the Efroymson Coaches Network for Conservation Planning
  • Board Member of CreeSer, a Mexican NGO with focus on Education for Peace
  • Commission Member - IUCN WCPA Europe 2013- 2016