Friday, July 21, 2006

New [USAID] Mission Director for Cambodia Sworn-in

July 20, 2006
Press Office: 202-712-4320
Public Information: 202-712-4810

WASHINGTON D.C. - Today, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced the swearing in of Ms. Erin Soto as its new Mission Director for Cambodia. Deputy Administrator for USAID, Frederick Schieck, administered the oath of office and Assistant Administrator for Asia and the Near East, James R. Kunder acted as master of ceremonies.

"Ms. Soto will lead USAID efforts to improve the lives of the Cambodian people. Her extensive experience and outstanding leadership abilities will help to move the country towards a more prosperous future." said Kunder.

Most recently serving as Deputy Mission Director in Senegal, Soto began her career with USAID in 1987 as a Secretary. After serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala, Soto's initial responsibility at USAID was to help initiate the Agency's first HIV/AIDS prevention programs across the globe. In 1993, she joined the USAID Democracy Center where she contributed to the establishment of democracy as a technical sector within USAID development programs. There she managed several sensitive election support programs as well as provided assistance in the development of strategies to promote democratic governance to dozens of USAID Missions around the world.

In 1997, Soto joined the Foreign Service and served USAID in many capacities, including in Mali on elections and decentralization issues and in Haiti, where she directed USAID's assistance to legislative elections, built support for judicial reform of the justice system, and introduced activities to protect the independence of the media.

Before serving in Senegal, Soto also served as Director of USAID's Alternative Development Program in Peru and managed an annual $63 million multi-sector program aimed at reducing cocaine production.

Soto holds a bachelor's degree in education from the University of Wisconsin and a master's degree in public management from George Washington University in Washington, DC. Married with two children, she is fluent in French and Spanish.

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