Eliana Escobedo

As long as she can remember, Eliana has always been on the move. She became an expat at age 4, moving from Peru to Belgium, where she learned French and a new set of cultural rules. Then at age 8, the defining move to Africa to live in Burundi and Rwanda. One of the most memorable events was driving with her father from the shores of Dar e Salam to Burundi in a bright red Volkswagen beetle and then crossing the Serengeti in that same car. What stuck with her beyond that experience was the discovery of big open spaces, silence, nature, adventure and the magnificent wildlife.

After a few years running barefoot in Africa, it was time for more serious pursuits, Eliana first moved to the south of Spain and then back to Belgium to complete studies in the arts and a Masters in Communications. But whenever she could, she would pack a suitcase and visit her father where ever he was: Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Bolivia.

After her graduation, Eliana worked for few years as an event coordinator for a non-profit in Brussels. That’s were she learned to be a producer, organizing and dealing with various service providers and institutions. She then moved to Barcelona to work as a communications associate for an internet start-up and later for a communications agency. Then, in early 2003, her father was appointed to Afghanistan with the United Nations.

Eliana gave up her job in Barcelona and traveled to Afghanistan in search of opportunities. She ended up staying in Kabul for almost two years. As a graphic designer for the UN World Food Program, she developed a set of illustrations and posters for the national “Food for Education” campaign. Then as a public information officer, she regularly briefed the national press on WFP projects and photo documented food distributions for Internally Displaced People and micro-credit projects. In Afghanistan, she met Francis, her future husband.

Together, they moved to Burundi. While Francis was working for the UN Mission, Eliana landed a consultancy with the World Bank. Her task was to evaluate the communication campaign carried out by the Burundian government to demobilize and reintegrate former combatants, taking her through most provinces of the country. Several more consultancies with the World Bank took her to Rwanda and DRC, where she designed a communication strategy to demobilize, repatriate and reintegrate combatants.

In 2007 Eliana moved with Francis to Lebanon where she redirected her life focus and started working on conservation and environmental issues. She participated in beach cleanups, sea turtle conservation activities and animal welfare. This inspired her to create an educational and illustrated iPad children’s storybook about the endangered Sumatran rhino EKA - The Little Sumatran Rhino, now published and available on Apple's app store. So began the seedling of an idea that evolved when Eliana and Francis began their journey together and would culminate in their current collaboration, Extraordinary Conservationists - A Panotriptych Photo Expedition.

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