Monday, May 18, 2009

President Obama Nominates ACCION Executive to U.S. Department of State

President Obama has nominated Maria Otero, the Chief Executive of ACCION International to be the undersecretary of global affairs at the US Department of State. She has announced via ACCION press release that she intends to accept the nomination, provided that her appointment is confirmed by the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee.

Ms. Otero is a native of La Paz Bolivia and has been part of ACCION since 1986 and CEO since 2000. She was honored in 2005 in Newsweek’s special report “How Women Lead” and was regarded as one of the 20 most influential women in the United States. She received Hispanic Magazine’s “Latina Excellence Award” and has also been featured in the magazine.

Since 1997 Ms. Otero has been an adjunct professor at the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies (source: Leigh Bureau speakers bureau).

The position of Undersecretary of Global Affairs in the U.S. Department of State is responsible for U.S. foreign relations on a variety of issues including democracy, human rights, environment, health, population, trafficking in persons, influenza and women’s issues among other things.

Catherine Quense, the Chief Deputy at ACCION will assume Ms. Otero’s duties immediately while the board conducts a global search for a successor.

ACCION is an international private non profit organization with the mission of giving the poor the financial tools that they need to work out of poverty. They provide microloans, business training and other financial tools. ACCION has disbursed more than 28.5 million loans in the last ten years, which total $23.5 billion USD (Source, PR Newswire).

Jessica Ward is a freelance writer and blogger who covers frugality and the financial sectors. She is based in Seattle. For more information, visit her Web site at or follow her on Twitter as @jessc098.

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