THE TECHNICAL ADMINISTRATIVE SECRETARIAT
EUGENIA SAINI – Executive Secretary
Born in Argentina, Eugenia Saini is an Agronomist and a Doctor in Agricultural Sciences with a passion for agriculture, feeding people and improving the lives of farmers. With almost 25 years of experience in strategic planning and execution of regional cooperation projects, Eugenia is especially interested in science & development, technological innovation and sustainable agribusiness for small farming in Latin American and the Caribbean.
Eugenia has taken on the challenge of strengthening strategic alliances among public and private organizations to enhance governance and increase investment in R&D. Eugenia’s professional background enables her to work in multicultural and interdisciplinary teams, synergizing knowledge of basic and applied sciences, portfolio financial management, and agribusiness policy design. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study Food and Agribusiness Policy at Cornell University and more recently with the Abshire-Inamori Leadership Academy (AILA) Scholarship at the Center for Strategic &International Studies (CSIS) in Washington D.C
KATERINE ORBE VERGARA – Administrator. Programming and Operations Specialist
Katerine Orbe Vergara is an Ecuadorian biologist with a degree from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador (PUCE); she has an MBA in Senior Management from the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, and an MBA in Project Management from CEREM. She was a researcher in entomopathogenic viruses in the Molecular Virology laboratory of the PUCE. Starting in 2009, Katerine worked at the National Agricultural Research Institute of Ecuador (INIAP) as a researcher in national and international projects in the area of molecular biology and plant protection; she also took part in three Antarctic expeditions with the Ecuadorian National Antarctic Institute (INAE).
At INIAP she worked as a researcher, research analyst, Coordinator and Head of the National Department of Biotechnology, Head of the National Department of Plant Protection, and, from August 2018 to May 2019, as Director of Research. In addition, her experience earned her a place on the technical board of the National Biosafety Committee of Ecuador.
In October 2019, the United States Embassy in Ecuador and the Department of State selected her to be part of the “Hidden No More” International Visitor Leadership Program.
ALEXANDRA MANUNGA RIVERA – Administration and Finance Specialist
A Colombian economist with a Master in Rural Development, Alexandra has 10 years of experience in agricultural research institutions working on the formulation of international cooperation projects as well as on their operational and financial monitoring.
Alexandra has also been a researcher on multidisciplinary teams in areas such as climate change, sustainable intensive production and market research.
In 2020, she joined the FONTAGRO team to serve as an Administration and Budget Specialist.