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    Ximena Querol

Southwestern graduate founds non-profit organization in Peru

Southwestern University graduate Ximena Querol is proof that alumni can make a difference worldwide. She co-founded a non-profit organization in Peru in 2008 that has attracted volunteers from 10 different countries.

Querol, originally from Peru, started Nexos Voluntarios (NeVo) in her home country to provide a venue for volunteers to be matched with projects of interest in Peru. Querol started the organization with her longtime friend Carolina Benavides, with a shared mission to serve and help others volunteer. She spearheaded the organization with Benavides in 2008 after working as a consultant for McKinsey & Co., a company in Peru.

“I enjoy seeing how people can make an impact just by giving their time and their care. I enjoy seeing how, little by little, we are contributing to a better country and making the lives of those in need better every day. I enjoy seeing how each one of us can add a drop of water until the glass is full,” Querol said.

Querol lived in the Austin area for six years while pursuing her higher education. She received a bachelor’s degree in business from Southwestern in 1996; and both a master of arts in Latin American studies and master of business administration degree from the University of Texas in 2001. While at Southwestern, she was involved with the International Students Club.

Both Querol and Benavides had lived in the United States and had noticed people who are willing to travel outside of the country to help others.

“Carolina and I, based on our individual experiences living in the United States, had realized that there were many caring individuals and organizations who wanted to devote part of their time to contribute to development in a meaningful manner,” Querol said.

NeVo sponsors projects in human rights, micro-business, environmental conservation, education and public health. It is supported by the Inter-American Development Bank, which seeks to promote Peruvian development through a variety of social projects. Volunteers reside in what is called the NeVo House, a rustic house in Urubamba, Peru. Some of their missions include teaching English, working on construction and participating in medical and environmental campaigns.

“We started NeVo as a platform to facilitate the participation of caring individuals and organizations in the development of Peru and developing countries as a whole,” Querol said.

Querol said her time at Southwestern helped her think about the world in a different light.

“Southwestern changed my life and my view of things,” Querol said. “The liberal arts education opened my eyes to new realities and new ways to analyze and question the status quo. As a result, I became more critical and analytical.”

−Kristen McLaughlin