External speakers

Marcela Escobari

Acting head for data & research, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth

Marcela Escobari is currently a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution in the Global Economy and Development program. She spent the last year of President Obama’s administration as Assistant Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean. Marcela was confirmed by the U.S. Senate and joined USAID in May 2016, and led the bureau and its initiatives on poverty, inequality, citizen security, and governance. Throughout the region, USAID has 13 bilateral missions, three regional missions, and U.S.-based programs focusing on democracy, humanitarian assistance, and the environment. The bureau manages an annual budget of approximately $1 billion.

Since 2007, Escobari served as executive director at the Center for International Development at Harvard University, a research center working to generate breakthrough ideas that bring stable, shared, and sustainable prosperity to developing countries. During her tenure, the Center achieved tremendous impact, tripling in size with projects in 17 countries across five continents.

She has also worked as head of the Americas region at the OTF Group (a spin-off of Monitor Group), where she advised governments on how to increase export competitiveness and harness the private sector to eradicate poverty. She began her career as a Mergers & Acquisitions banker at JP Morgan in New York. The World Economic Forum named her a Young Global Leader in 2013. She co-authored the book “In the River They Swim: Essays from around the World on Enterprise Solutions to Poverty,” holds a B.A. in economics from Swarthmore College and a M.A. in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.