Maria Otero Honored by the Society for International Development Washington Chapter

December 19, 2012

This week’s Gala Dinner for the Washington, D.C. Chapter of the Society for International Development (SID-Washington) honored Maria Otero, Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights at the U.S. Department of State.

Otero won the SID-Washington Award for Leadership in Development for “her profound contributions to the international development community,” particularly in the areas of microfinance, inclusive economic development, women’s issues, and poverty alleviation.

Speaking on stage about his friend and colleague, DAI CEO Jim Boomgard said Otero’s leadership in the microfinance field in the late 1980s and early 1990s was pivotal. “She was the leader that microfinance needed at the time and she stepped forward, with grace, courage and an unwavering commitment to the underprivileged and underserved, to create a path that others were inspired to follow.

“Maria’s leadership was transformative. She helped open up a new world of microfinance that was built from the best that all the competing camps had to offer. This new world was committed to reaching the poor: offering products and services that they—as customers, not beneficiaries—valued, achieving massive scale that was only possible through commercial viability—not donor dependence; and insuring sustainability by integrating microfinance with financial markets.”

The dinner, held at the Washington Hilton, was attended by about 670 people representing a diverse constituency of nongovernmental organizations, development consulting firms, government agencies, multilateral institutions, and universities actively engaged in the field of international development.

Click here to read more of Jim Boomgard’s speech outlining Otero’s accomplishments, along with a dose of good-natured ribbing.

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