Marcela Escobari

Marcela Escobari headshotMarcela Escobari, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution

Marcela Escobari is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, where she is leading the Workforce of the Future Initiative. Her recent report on “Growing Cities that Work for All” explores industrial development strategies for all US cities in the context of evolving labor markets and job quality.

She was Assistant Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean in President Obama’s administration. Escobari was confirmed by the U.S. Senate and led the bureau and its initiatives on poverty, inequality, citizen security, and governance. 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 an M.A. in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.