Maria Otero served most recently as Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights in the administration of President Barack Obama. Born in La Paz, Bolivia, she was the first Latina Under Secretary in State Department history. She also served as the President’s Special Representative for Tibetan issues. Prior to her service at the State Department, she spent more than 20 years – including 10 years as president and chief executive officer – at ACCION International, a pioneer and leader in microfinance and economic development, working in 25 countries around the world. She also served previously as the economist for Latin America for the Women in Development Office of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
Ms. Otero previously chaired the board of Bread for the World and served on the board of the Calvert Foundation. She was appointed by President Clinton to chair the board of the Inter-American Foundation and to serve on the board of the U.S. Institute of Peace. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She currently serves as a trustee on the boards of the Kresge Foundation, Herbalife, BancoSol (Bolivia), Development Alternatives, Inc., the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery and Oxfam America.