December 7, 2015

Marcela Escobari, Executive Director of Harvard's Center for International Development (CID), has been nominated by President Obama to serve as U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Assistant Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).

In Latin America and the Caribbean, USAID works to make the region more peaceful, secure, and prosperous by strengthening the capacity of governments and private entities to combat crime, improve governance, address climate change, and create a prosperous economic environment. Throughout the region, USAID has 17 field offices, 4 regional programs, and Washington-based programs focusing on Cuba and Venezuela.

"The mission of the Harvard Kennedy School is to train exceptional public leaders and develop ideas to help solve public problems," said Archon Fung, Acting Dean at the Harvard Kennedy School. "Marcela, an HKS graduate and executive director of CID, is a fantastic leader and innovative thinker on international development issues here at the School. All of us are very proud that she will bring this expertise to amplify the work of USAID in Latin America."

Escobari has served as Executive Director at CID since 2007. Over this time she has spearheaded the growth of the center, which now encompasses more than 60 staff and fellows and 80 faculty from across Harvard University. Prior to joining CID, Escobari led the Americas region and served on the Executive Committee of the OTF Group, a strategy consulting firm that advised private and public sector leaders on how to improve export competitiveness.

"It is a very well-deserved nomination and we are proud of Marcela. She has done a tremendous job expanding CID’s reach and without a doubt possesses the experience, knowledge and passion needed to drive impact at USAID and further the important work it does in the region," said Ricardo Hausmann, CID Faculty Director.

Escobari holds a B.A. in Economics from Swarthmore College and a Master’s in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Escobari's nomination requires confirmation by the U.S. Senate. If confirmed, Escobari plans to take a leave of absence from Harvard University.

For more information about USAID's programs in Latin America and the Caribbean and around the world, visit

USAID is the lead U.S. Government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential. USAID works in over 100 countries to promote economic prosperity, strengthen democracy and good governance, protect human rights, improve global health, advance food security and agriculture, improve environmental sustainability, further education, help societies prevent and recover from conflicts, and provide humanitarian assistance in the wake of natural and man-made disasters.

About CID
The Center for International Development (CID) at Harvard University is a university-wide center that works to advance the understanding of development challenges and offer viable solutions to problems of global poverty. CID is Harvard’s leading research hub focusing on resolving the dilemmas of public policy associated with generating stable, shared, and sustainable prosperity in developing countries. Our ongoing mission is to apply knowledge to and revolutionize the world of development practice.

Contact: Chuck McKenney
Phone: (617) 495-8496