Friday, January 08, 2010

A Bread Person at the U.S. State Department

It's about six months too late, but I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the new Under Secretary of Democracy and Global Affairs: Maria Otero.  Maria was chair of  Bread for the World's board of directors for most of the six years in which I served on that deliberative body.

She is pictured here with Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) at a Bread for the World reception on Lobby Day in the mid-1990s.  Also pictured is Canon Burgess Carr, who was vice chair of the board that year.

And with Rep. Steve Schiff (R-NM) at the same reception.  The late Rep. Schiff preceded Rep. Heather Wilson and Rep. Martin Heinrich in the New Mexico First Congressional District.

Maria comes to the job with very strong credentials. Here is a quote from the State Department website
Ms. Otero was formerly the president and CEO of ACCION International, a pioneer and leader in microfinance working in 25 countries in around the globe. Under Ms. Otero’s tenure as CEO, ACCION’s network of microfinance institutions expanded its reach from serving 460,000 people to over 3.7 million, through a combined portfolio that grew from $274 million to nearly $3.6 billion. She is a leading voice on sustainable microfinance, publishing extensively on the subject and speaking throughout the world on microfinance, women’s issues and poverty alleviation.
(which by the way, has a passing mention of her role at Bread)

And Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had high praise for Maria in the aftermath of her Senate confirmation back in August 2009.
“I am proud to have Maria Otero join my team as Under Secretary of Democracy and Global Affairs in order to advance issues crucial to America’s foreign policy,” stated Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. “I look forward to working with her to address crucial challenges that face our nation and the international community.”

Maria's presence at the State Department is even more important, given Secretary Clinton's commitment in a speech this week to make global development a higher priority for U.S. foreign policy.  See Asma Lateef's post in Institute notes.

I saw Maria just this past summer at the dinner commemorating Bread for the World's 35th birthday.  This was a few weeks before her confirmation.  Check out this photo.

1 comment:

Jennifer Stapleton said...

Thanks for this post Carlos. The other great thing about Maria Otero is that she is just an awesome person. She goes to my church and has a really great family.