Dr. María Otero was born in La Paz, Bolivia, and is a leading voice in microfinancing, women´s issues, and alleviation of poverty. She has a Master degree in literature from Maryland University, a Master degree in international relations from the Johns Hopkins Advanced School of International Studies, Washington, D.C., and an honorary doctorate in Humanities from Dartmouth College. She is renowned for her work in microfinancing   ACCIÓN INTERNATIONAL She was the president and executive director of ACCION International, a pioneer company and leader in microfinancing in 25 countries throughout the world. Under her management the ACCION network of microfinancing institutions widen its scope of services to over 3.7 million people, through a combined portfolio which went from 274 million dollars to almost US$3.6 billion. Dr. Otero became the first Latin American woman in history to occupy the post of Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs in the United States. Also, when occupying that post during the first term of the Presidency of Barack Obama, she was the Latin American with the highest rank in the U.S. AWARDS In addition to the acknowledgements of Newsweek and Hispanic Business magazines, she received an award from the University of Notre Dame for Distinguished Services and received the Medal of Honor of Ellis Island.