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ABOUT ME

SHORT VERSION

I’m Mara. I am a sociocultural anthropology and public administration graduate with 10 years of experience in research, advocacy and management of human rights projects in Latin America, Europe, and Central Asia (particularly on alternative care and migrant and refugee children).

I’ve managed social projects, worked on advocacy, and researched for 10 years, mainly on child protection issues in Latin America.

My research has included performing fieldwork (observation-participation, in-depth interviews, and focus groups) involving state decision-makers, academics, State and NGO practitioners, children, and families. I have also carried out extensive desk reviews of different types of bibliographic sources. You can see my research here.

I have a geographically diverse professional and educational background. Besides Argentina, I have worked and/or studied in Brazil, France, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, and Portugal.

My research has led me to carry out fieldwork in Argentina, British Guyana, England, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Switzerland, The Netherlands, and the USA.

I moved to Hungary in 2015, where I am now the Project and fundraising manager at the Refugee Program of the human rights organization Hungarian Helsinki Committee (since March 2019). In my free time, I research and write about public policy issues that affect both Hungary and the Latin American countries.

A LITTLE BIT LONGER VERSION

I am a socio-cultural anthropologist (the University of Buenos Aires, one of the top-ranked anthropology programs worldwide), and a Master in Public Administration graduate from the School of Public Policy, Central European University, where I specialized in the design and management of evidence-based social policies and projects.

I’ve studied several courses on project management, social research, and social entrepreneurship.

I have conducted policy-oriented research on both child care and protection in Latin America as part of the staff of RELAF (the Latin American network for the right of children to live in a family).

As an independent advocate and researcher, I have worked with UNICEF Kazakhstan Country Office (in Astana) and with the International Labor Organization’s Alliance 8.7 (in Budapest). I also worked at the European Commission in Portugal, where I carried out background research and drafted briefings on several political developments. You can see my research here.

I have also represented RELAF on advocacy initiatives within the global children’s rights advocacy networks Child Rights Connect (former NGO Group for the Convention of the Rights of the Child), and the Better Care Network.

In affiliation with the Institute of Anthropological Sciences of the University of Buenos Aires, I carried out three years of in-depth academic research on the efforts of children’s rights global coalitions to influence governments and international bodies.

My research has led me to carry out fieldwork in Argentina, British Guyana, England, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Switzerland, The Netherlands, and the USA.

I’ve lived in Hungary since 2015, and in March of 2019, I became the Project and fundraising manager at the human rights organization Hungarian Helsinki Committee.

I’m a TEDx speaker, and I like giving talks and presentations whenever I have the opportunity to do so.

I love learning languages and studying abroad. I am fully proficient in Spanish (native), English (C2), and Portuguese (C2), and can also work in French (C1) and Italian (B2-C1).

 

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RECOMMENDATIONS / PRAISE

“I always admired her ability to engage with senior officials from governments and NGOs with confidence since she was young. Also, I am very proud of her recent achievements outside of RELAF, for they demonstrate how driven and hard-working she is. We continue to be friends at a distance, and I look forward to working with her again in the future!”

Maria Sanchez Brizuela
Project Development Coordinator - RELAF, the Latin American Network for the Right to Live in Family

“Mara maintained a highly entrepreneurial and forward-looking attitude when she was in charge of the cooperation with global networks at RELAF. She has shown to be very responsible, well-trained, and greatly committed to the defense of the rights of children. During the nearly 6 years we worked together, Mara’s high level of professionalism was evident in her outstanding capacity to comprehend and analyze complex and problematic issues and her efforts to achieve the integration of RELAF into international networks.” [Translation of the original in Spanish].

Federico Kapustiansky
Former Coordinator of Advocacy - RELAF, the Latin American Network for the Right to Live in Family.

“For one and a half years, I directed Mara in the elaboration of her dissertation research, which resulted in a high-quality piece of research. She proved to be highly independent and diligent, and she tackled the research process with a high level of maturity, discipline, and critical thinking. Also, she showed to be exceptionally hard-working and organized, and she was especially reliable when given tasks to fulfill for the research team.”

Doctor and Professor Carla Villalta
Professor, Buenos Aires University, Argentina Associate Researcher, National Council on Scientific and Technological Research (CONICET)

“I know her since she started working for Relaf, the Latin American Foster Care Network as a student. Ever since she showed creativity in developing ways to develop the network further and engaging with children and youth to incorporate their voices, she operated at a worldwide platform and represented the network in global meetings advocating for Latin America to be heard.”

Bep Van Sloten
International Alternative Care Consultant and Trainer

“Mara is perhaps the most talented, skilled, and driven youth I’ve ever met and supervised. She did a great job in different areas at RELAF over the years I was her boss. Her professional advancement within RELAF over time was a sign of how driven she is towards learning and capitalizing on her experiences and knowledge. This is also the sign of how far she will go in her professional life.”

Sara Josefina Gonzalez
Family and children’s wellfare expert - National Argentine government, Buenos Aires University and RELAF.

“Mara graduated in June 2017 from the two-year Master of Public Administration program at CEU in Budapest. Within this program, Mara came across as one of the most well-rounded talents of the cohort, since she combined sound professional skills with academic knowledge and curiosity. In addition to her academic achievements, I would like to highlight that Mara comes across as very dedicated to both learning and real-world impact.”

Doctor Sara Svensson
Former Research Fellow, Center for Policy Studies - visiting Professor, School of Public Policy, Central European University

“Mara is a talented researcher. Her work was considered highly supportive, well-executed, and of high quality. She maintained a high level of professionalism during the documentation process, including organizing key respondent interviews and focus groups. She has strong written and presentation skills. She showed that she is adept at innovating and using technology to enhance the communication of complex information. She quickly integrated with the UNICEF team in Kazakhstan.”

Fiachra McAsey
Deputy Representative UNICEF Kazakhstan (2016)
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