The Honorable Maria Otero

From August 2009 through February 2013, Ms. Otero served as the U.S. Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights. She oversaw U.S. foreign relations on the global spectrum of civilian security issues, including population, refugees, human trafficking, narcotics, global criminal justice and countering violent extremism. Ms. Otero also served as the President’s Special Representative for Tibetan Issues.

Born in La Paz, Bolivia, Ms. Otero was formerly President and CEO of ACCION International, a leader in microfinance and economic development working in 26 countries. Prior to ACCION, where she worked for 23 years, Ms. Otero was the Economist for Latin America at the Women in Development office of the U.S. Agency for International Development, and she served for five years at the Centre for Development and Population Activities. She was an Adjunct Professor at Johns Hopkins’ Nitze School for Advanced International Studies before joining the State Department.

In 2000, President Bill Clinton appointed Otero to the board of the United States Institute of Peace, where she served for eight years. In 2006, she was appointed by Secretary General Kofi Annan to the U.N. Advisors Group on Inclusive Financial Sectors. She has served on several nonprofit and corporate boards. She is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.