EDMUNDO EDWARDS

ARCHAEOASTRONOMER, DIRECTOR, & CO-FOUNDER

BARTHELEMY d'ANS

ARCHAEOASTRONOMER & CO-FOUNDER

Edmundo’s passion for archaeology started when he was 12 years old and discovered a pre-Incan site in northern Chile, yet it was after visiting Rapa Nui in 1957, that he became enthralled by Rapanui culture and returned to the island in 1960 with archaeologist William Mulloy.  Edmundo has lived and worked in Polynesia ever since. In 1977 he co-founded the Centro de Estudios de Isla de Pascua where he carried out archaeological and ethnographic studies for the University of Chile until 1985. He then left for Tahiti, conducting archaeological surveys and leading restoration work in the Society, Marquesas, and Austral Islands until he returned to Rapa Nui in 1994. Edmundo has since then devoted himself to the scientific study and preservation of the archaeology and culture of the Pacific islands.  He is the co-founder of the Pacific Islands Research Institute (PIRI) and co-owner of Archaeological Travel Service (ATS). Edmundo is an active member of the Explorers Club and in 2011 he was honoured with the Lowell Thomas Award for his exceptional contribution to human knowledge through his valuable research and discoveries in Polynesia, and in 2016 he received the Citation of Merit.

Barthelemy was born in Belgium, but has lived in Latin America for over 45 years. He is a Civil Engineer, with a Master'´s degree in Senior Management in Defense and Aerospace Development, as well as a doctorate in environmental science and sustainable development. Barthelemy is the founder and current president of the Peruvian Institute of Astronomy and Space Sciences. He is also the founder and manager of the María Reiche planetariums in Nasca, Majoro, Ica, Arequipa Colca and Cusco-Sacred Valley in Peru, as well as founder and director of the Mayan Planetarium in Chichen Itza, Mexico. In addition, Barthelemy is a Professor of Andean Cosmovision and Traditional Crafts. His academic activity and array of interests have led him to write and participate in dozens of television specials in addition to writing numerous articles in the field of astronomy, astrophysics, and particularly archeoastronomy is a member of the Inter-American Society of Cultural Astronomy (SIAC). He has not only contributed to this project with his academic expertise, but his experience in designing and installing planetariums as well as the production of film scripts in full dome format specific for planetariums.

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ENZO MOGLIA

DIRECTOR

Enzo has been interested in astronomy since he was boy, but as a profesional he studied Engineering and for 15 years he worked in management in the food industry, biotechnology, and cosmetics.  Searching for new challenges, he obtained a degree in Maths Education and is now a maths and physics teacher on Rapa Nui, also leading the Kohu Ra’a (Solar Eclipse) astronomy workshop, which has won 1st place in the 6th Scholastic Astronomy Congress (University of Concepcion) and 1st place in the EXAEQUO Science in Action (Internacional Astronomical Union) in Alcoil, Spain. He was invited to participate in the 5th Summit of Astronomy Promulgation (Universidad de La Frontera) in Temuco, Chile and in the VII Interamerican Seminar of Astronomy in Culture (Universidad de la Serena).

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VANESSA WATANABE

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

Rock Art has always been one of Vanessa’s great interests, but at the end of 2018, after working on Rapa Nui and befriending the local people, she has dedicated herself to studying Rapanui rock art and its association to ethnoastronomy. The main objective of her college thesis was registering, valueing, and incentivationg the conservation of this invaluable manifestation of Rapanui heritage. Vanessa is now working on her masters degree at the Catholic University of Chile, taking an even deeper look into this subject.  She is also in a voyage of discovery of her own art, applied to paintings, drawings, 2D animation, as well as creative writing.

ALEXANDRA EDWARDS

RESEARCHER IN CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY

Alexandra is a researcher in Cultural Anthropology, documentarian, and ethnoastronomer. For over 25 years, she has been working on projects that shed light on the life and times of the many different cultures and civilizations that developed in the Pacific, the largest ocean in the world. Originally a Latin American Studies and Film double-major from Wesleyan University, Alexandra returned to Rapa Nui in 1995. Alexandra is an Explorers Club Fellow, having participated in 6 Explorers Club expeditions and contributing to several documentary projects by National Geographic, the BBC, the History and Smithsonian Channels, and CNBC Canada, working in places as diverse as Kosrae, Pohnpei, Rapa Nui, Ra’ivavae, and the Marquesas and Society Islands.  She is co-author of When the Universe was an Island: Exploring the Cultural and Spiritual Cosmos of Ancient Rapa Nui. Alexandra complements her research work conducting private tours, and lecturing aboard expedition cruise ships about her favorite parts of the world: the Americas, Oceania, and Southeast Asia.

MARA RIROROKO

LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE

Mara has worked with Edmundo Edwards, her husband and lifelong partner, since the mid-1980s. She has participated in over a dozen archaeological projects and expeditions, surveying and recording material and ethnographic data all across the Pacific, from her native Rapa Nui to the remote Kariwari region of Papua New Guinea. She has worked extensively in the Marquesas, Australs, and Society islands, and has participated in two Explorers Club Flag Expeditions. Mara is also the logistics manager of Archaeological Travel Service (ATS), a premium cultural tour operator in Chile and Polynesia of which she is the co-proprietor.

TAKUANA BÓRQUEZ PAOA

ASTRONOMER & ASTROPHOTOGRAPHER
GRAPHIC ARTIST, ILLUSTRATOR, & PAINTER

Takuana is one of the illustrious sons of Rapa Nui, having achieved international recognition for his paintings and drawings, which have been featured in several books and magazines worldwide.  In  addition, he is one of two Rapanui artists  who  year  after  year  paint  the  large  mural  that  serves  as  a  backdrop  for  the  annual Tapati Festival,  the  most important celebration on Rapa Nui today. Takuana has also worked as a commercial illustrator and his images have been featured in the labels, advertisements, signs, posters, merchandising products, and displays of several local businesses, as well as in the storefronts of Santiago, Chile. He lives with his young son and wife, also an artist, in a quiet neighbourhood in the main town of Rapa Nui in a unique little house with wooden furniture and other features, which he himself has designed and crafted.  

YURI BELETSKY

Born in Belarus, Yuri now lives in Chile, where he works as an astronomer at the Carnegie Las Campanas Observatory located south of the Atacama desert. Yuri’s scientific research has been published in leading astronomical journals worldwide, however astrophotography, particularly nighttime photography, is now one of Yuri’s greatest passions. Yuri has been an enthusiastic stargazer since childhood, and he now taking images of the night sky, wide-field panoramas of the Milky Way, and other natural astronomical phenomena.  Yuri’s images have received international recognition and appear in various popular books, magazines, websites, and on TV. Yuri is an active contributor to NASA APOD, having more than 30 images featured on the NASA website. He continually shares his passions for astronomy and astrophotography with people around the world.