E3-S2 Giselle Huamani: What a Changemaker is Made Of

Summary & Key Takeways

Growing up in a difficult period of Peruvian history, Giselle, like many of her generation, was deeply influenced by the country’s civil war. An energetic young lawyer she grew committed to changing and improving people’s lives. Giselle found her home learning and doing Conflict Resolution in the United States. She then became a well-known professional, not only for her academic credentials but her relentless commitment to working with communities and practicing the notion that as professionals, we are, but mere facilitators. Giselle carries this attitude today in her high-level job at Peru’s ombudsman’s Human Rights office. To learn about her stellar career in Conflict Resolution, Human Rights and community –driven projects listen to Episode 3 of The Social Change Career Podcast.

Listen to Giselle here

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In this episode we discuss:

  • Growing up in 1960’s 1970s in Lima with military coups; the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) insurgency and subsequent civil war
  • How she left in 1989 to study in the United States and how she returned to Peru 16 years
  • How Giselle ask a young law student learned her first lesson in the field with a rural community and she realized how little she knew
  • Combining raising 3 children, working and studying for her PhD
  • The story of working with local youth gang and motherhood
  • On getting consultancies while pursuing grad school
  • How Giselle always volunteered in many projects that she deemed interesting from the beginning of her career
  • How one of her strategies is simply relating and connecting to people
  • Giselle’s recommendations for starting your career and accumulating practical experience
  • The importance of networking people and programs
  • Giselle tells the story of Scar’s program that connected practitioners, professors and programs
  • The importance of being grounded in the field volunteering/service learning
  • How she found employment on her return to Peru (after 16 years living overseas)
  • How she worked in forestry, land and water issues in Bolivia and also in Peru
  • Why Giselle recommends working at micro-level issues rather than only nationally-led processes
  • In Peru she started working on water-related issues
  • Her current work at the Ombudsman in Peru as Conflict Advisor for the whole nation doing Conflict Resolution work
  • How the person in charge of the conflict office was a student of one of these programs that Giselle talked about she helped organized as she was a grad student
  • Giselle’s best career advice
  • Giselle’s take on failure
  • 3 things that Giselle recommends to start a career of impact


School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (Scar)

World Bank

UN Mediation

Peru Ombudsman Office

Become a member of the PCDN Career Campus to get daily access (to job opportunities) community (network with other impact professionals); learning with sector-experts and receive guidance from PCDN Career Coaches.


The fully funded Rotary Peace Fellowship increases the capacity of current and emerging peace leaders through academic training, field experience, and professional networking. Up to 100 leaders are selected globally every year to earn either a master’s degree or a professional development certificate in peace and conflict studies at one of six Rotary Peace Centers at leading universities around the world. The application deadline is 31 May.
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