Carlo Arze

Country Representative, Paraguay

Working at PADF these past nine years has been tremendously fulfilling in that it has grown my ability to better serve the needs of some of the most vulnerable populations.”

Participants in PADF’s “Basic Life and Employability Skills” (BLES) training complete a community service project.

In this interview, Country Representative for Paraguay Carlo Arze shares his personal and work experiences over nine years of work at the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF).

Carlo has more than 30 years of professional experience working with different stakeholders and international cooperation organizations such as United Nations agencies, the U.S. Agency for International Development, Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), and Organization of American States. He has worked on more than 23 areas of human rights, including educational reform, youth development, fund management, prevention of human trafficking, and indigenous peoples.

He has made important contributions through his work in different areas and across Central America, Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean, where he has held different leadership and managerial positions. Through this work, he has helped generate new opportunities for the most vulnerable and marginalized populations.

As we celebrate our 60th anniversary, PADF recognizes the dedication and potential of our staff, which also inspires us to continue working together and fighting for a future with opportunity for all.

PADF’s team in Suriname highlights the faces and voices of “Kari Yu!” for the  USAID Mission Director.

What makes you most fulfilled or passionate about working at PADF?

Working at PADF these past nine years has been tremendously fulfilling in that it has grown my ability to better serve the needs of some of the most vulnerable populations. In particular, working with youth who are at risk or involved with the justice system has been a passion of mine for over 30 years, and PADF has allowed me to support youth in developing both soft and technical skills to access opportunities outside the illicit economy. First in Suriname, where I was Chief of Party for the “Youth Development and Juvenile Justice” project known locally as “Kari Yu!”

Could you share one or two significant memories from working at PADF?

In 2018, we moved from sunny St. Lucia to Honduras to direct a four-year “Juvenile Justice Reform Activity” aimed at supporting tertiary violence prevention. After 10 months of implementation, we were informed by the donor that because of budget cuts to the Northern Triangle (Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala) our program would close within 60 days. Consequently, rather than leaving PADF I was able to explore options to stay within the organization and moved to Paraguay as PADF’s Representative, where I had worked previously with the IADB and where our son and his family live. The fact that PADF did not have a portfolio in Paraguay illustrates both the human values and strategic vision of the organization.

What do you feel you have contributed to PADF, and what has PADF given you?

During these nine years at PADF I have been able to support New Business for Development (NBD) throughout the hemisphere on issues related to youth and community resilience as well as learn from the practice leaders and teams I have worked with. I still feel that the knowledge gained from engaging with project participants is unparalleled. Many times, this engagement turns what you think you know on its head.

Over your career, what institutional changes have you seen at PADF? How has the organization evolved or matured?

While the organization has always valued and prized its human talent, I have also seen an important shift these past few years with the introduction of the One PADF strategic vision. This shift has allowed us to move beyond the project focus to cross-fertilize our expertise in communities of practice and contribute in a participatory way to the development and implementation of the 2022-2024 Strategic Plan.

Looking ahead to the future, what new strategic opportunities do you see for PADF?

As we move forward as One PADF to meet the challenges of continued growth, let’s pause to celebrate our mission of creating a hemisphere of opportunity, for all, and continue to engage with the communities we serve. I’m confident the answers to their post-pandemic recovery reside within their collective knowledge.

Published on August 17, 2022.

Paraguayan youth leaders certified in prevention of gender-based violence share experiences in their communities.

Carlo Arze

Country Representative – Paraguay


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