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Dartmouth Commencement 2009

Posted 06/14/09

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Honorary degree citation to Maria Otero (Doctor of Humane Letters)

Maria OteroYou came to this country from Bolivia when you were twelve years old and you have embraced both America and Bolivia as parts of yourself. Following your undergraduate years at the University of Maryland, you committed yourself to helping the world’s poor, and women in particular, become less economically vulnerable.

Through positions at the Inter-American Foundation and the Centre for Development and Population Activities, you provided the grants and leadership training needed to make lasting changes for people in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Since 1986, you have worked for ACCION International, effectively blending the worlds of finance and social change. You have enabled a great many small entrepreneurs to access business loans, bringing stability to their families and a sustainable infrastructure to their communities. Named President and CEO in 2000, your leadership has made this groundbreaking organization a model for development.

The results of your work have been impressive, but the true impact of your efforts will be seen and felt for generations to come as you continue to work to eradicate poverty. Last month President Obama nominated you to serve as Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs.

Just as you learn from the people directly served through your work, so too, do we learn from your commitment to a better life for all. With gratitude for these lessons, Dartmouth confers its honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters.

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