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Katya Rimkunas

Regional Deputy Director, Latin America and the Caribbean

Katya Rimkunas currently serves as the deputy director for Latin America and Caribbean programs.  In this capacity she leads and manages programs on strengthening democratic institutions and processes in more than 12 countries, and oversees the Institute’s Washington-based and regional staff.  She was appointed to this role in April 2014.

Rimkunas joined IRI in 2005 managing programs in Cuba, Mexico and Brazil.  She has covered almost every country in which IRI works in Latin America including Colombia, Guatemala, Peru and Bolivia and oversaw the opening and expansion of offices in El Salvador and Nicaragua.  She has led successful assessment missions to Panama and St. Lucia, establishing IRI’s program in Panama and became the division’s senior advisor on innovative programming, strategy and working in closed societies.

An expert in implementing programs on issue-based policy development, democratic governance, civil society strengthening and government accountability, Rimkunas has provided consultations and trainings to local Institute partners and program participants on a variety of issues ranging from organizational-capacity building to long-term sustainability to grassroots outreach.  She has also observed elections in Nigeria and Nicaragua.

Prior to joining IRI, Rimkunas worked in the office of Senator John McCain, who chairs IRI’s Board of Directors.  She was born in Peru, but grew up in Arizona and graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in political science and Latin American studies.  She is also a graduate of the Women’s Campaign School at Yale.  Rimkunas is a native Spanish speaker.