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María Soledad Rueda

Humanitarian by heart, conviction and occupation, Maria Soledad is a highly qualified and dedicated humanitarian professional with over twelve years of management and technical experience working in some of the most challenging parts of the world. She has developed a passion for diversity and humanitarianism through volunteer service in Colombia and Panama, which then guided her work with UN, non-profit organizations and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Before joining Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), Maria Soledad led operations for the ICRC as Deputy Head of Sub-Delegation in Gaza. Born and raised in San Gil, Colombia, she has managed the influx of thousands of refugees along the border region of Somalia and South Sudan in Ethiopia; ensured conditions for detainees in prisons and labour camps in Myanmar. She also helped lead relief efforts for displaced communities in the conflict-stricken Central African Republic; fought Ebola in Liberia and negotiated agreements between Israeli and Palestinian authorities for the population in Gaza. In June 2018 she joined the Master in Public Administration Edward S. Mason Program at HKS where she was awarded an unrestricted scholarship by Harvard University. At HKS Maria Soledad is also member of Center for Public Leadership Development Cohort 2019. She holds a master's degree in Development Studies with a specialisation in Peace and Conflict from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.

In the future, Maria Soledad will continue leading humanitarian aid operations in regions where the need is greatest, in an expanded leadership position where she can play a more active role in shaping the policies that impact the most vulnerable. With a deep and first-hand understanding of the consequences of armed conflict and violence, in the longer-term Maria Soledad envisions her career with devotion, in the field of conflict resolution and mediation, with a significant role in peace promotion worldwide.

Harvard Affiliation / Current Practice

  • Harvard Kennedy School

    Maestría en Administración Pública | Mid-Career Master in Public Administration

    Candidate 2019

Research and Professional