Luis Fernando Arias Arias Young Professionals Program


The Luis Fernando Arias Arias Young Professionals Program is designed to empower and cultivate the next generation of leaders in international development. This immersive 12-month initiative invites eight passionate and driven individuals to delve into the heart of USAID's endeavors in Colombia. Through hands-on involvement in planning, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating USAID's development programs, fellows will not only gain invaluable experience but also contribute meaningfully to the advancement of inclusive practices and the promotion of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility goals.

Embracing diversity in all its forms, the program actively seeks out young professionals from Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities eager to expand their horizons and carve out impactful careers in the realm of international development. By bridging the gap between aspirations and action, the Luis Fernando Arias Program not only enriches the lives of its participants but also enriches USAID's mission by infusing it with the vibrant perspectives of ethnic communities, thus fostering a more inclusive and effective approach to development efforts.

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Diorly Yiseth Lozano Mosquera

Social Worker - Afro-Colombian 
Andagoya, Chocó


Diorly identifies herself as an Afro-Colombian woman proud of her roots. She is the daughter of mining and farming parents, who instilled in her that education is the fundamental tool to achieve her dreams. She is also the mother of Sofia, whom she wants to inspire with her example. 


Royce de Jesús Iguarán López

Procurement Attorney - Wayuu Indigenous Peoples 
Uribia, La Guajira


Proud of her indigenous heritage, Royce is a fundamental pillar of her extended traditional Wayuu family in Uribia, La Guajira, Colombia's indigenous capital. For her, being a Wayuu woman means embracing her ancestry, strengthening the social fabric, preserving her territory, and being the main guardian of her people's ethnic identity - protecting their uses, customs, and their own normative system.

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Samuel Smith Méndez Mattos

Journalist and Social Communicator - Afro-Colombian
Barranco de Loba, Bolívar


Communication for social transformation is Samuel's passion. He founded the "Kara Ti Loua Rural Community Led Communications Group" to work with Afro-descendant children and young people who are victims of the armed conflict in cultural and peace processes. He is also dedicated to journalism and the production of community films. He has volunteered with foundations and community radio stations in his region, and was general editor of his University's media outlet.

Cristian A. Fernández Chaguendo

Sociologist and Anthropologist - Nasa Indigenous Peoples
Silvia, Cauca


Inspired by his indigenous identity and the struggles of his community, Cristian has dedicated his studies and work to strengthening intergenerational dialogue in indigenous communities in Cauca. His goal is to position the decision-making capacity of young people as a fundamental pillar for the transformation of their own realities. 

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Yésica Paola Izquierdo Mejía

Sociologist - Arhuaco Indigenous Peoples 
Sierra Nevada, Cesar


Muney worked with a number of indigenous organizations. She has contributed within the framework of the Agreement for the Strengthening of the Commission on the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples with the Ministry of the Interior. Her main interest is to strengthen indigenous leadership and promote interculturality. She believes that the value of identity and ancestral knowledge of indigenous peoples is fundamental to build a more just and equitable future for all.

Adriana Lucía Guaza Casas

Social Worker-  Afro-Colombian
Tamalameque, Cesar


The region's history of resistance and ethnic freedoms has marked its Afro-Colombian identity, which represents diversity, socio-cultural richness and development. Adriana comes from a multicultural family, with roots in Northern Antioquia, the Pacific Coast and the Caribbean. She has a deep love for the Middle Magdalena region, a territory affected by violence. For this reason, she has dedicated her work to the investigation of the conflict and peacebuilding in that place.

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Sarita Estefanía Mora Pantoja

Geographer - Pastos Indigenous Peoples
Pupiales, Nariño


Sarita's territory faces many social and environmental difficulties that are intensified by climate change. In addition, her community struggles with threats that jeopardize their way of life and traditions.  Sarita is a graduate from the University of Nariño. Her studies focused on understanding social and environmental dynamics to promote environmental conservation. She has worked with public entities, ethnic communities and environmental organizations in environmental projects.  

Roslin Angélica Agualimpia Copete

Attorney - Afro-Colombian
Istmina, Chocó


Her passion for social justice has led her to work on various projects that seek to improve people's lives. For example, Rous was the co-creator of the Gayo Civil Chatbot Project, an artificial intelligence educational tool to bring civil law closer to citizens. Rous graduated as a lawyer from the Sergio Arboleda University thanks to the "Ser Pilo Paga" and "Excellent Young People and Leaders of Chocó" scholarships.

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