President and CEO
AISD was founded by Cecilia Ciepiela-Kaelin in 2003, when she moved to Taos, New Mexico. Cecilia is an experienced economic development, project design specialist and urban planner, with over 25 years of private and public sector international practice in economic growth, agribusiness, post conflict, program strategy, project design, and sustainable urban planning. She has worked in many countries worldwide and in the United States, at the community, regional, and national levels with a wide range of public, private, civil society, and academic stakeholders. Cecilia is a trained facilitator and is recognized for her talent in design thinking and strategic planning to create, implement, and adapt integrated project designs, strategies and business models. Highlights of her career include:
- Advising the Panamanian opposition to Noriega and subsequently to the newly installed President of Panama, from 1989 to 1991
- Designing a $30 million White-House mandated recovery and reconciliation program to support the 1994 negotiated peace settlement between Bosnia’s Muslims and Croats, which preceded the Dayton Peace Accords that ended the conflict.
- Leading negotiation and design of a new program of USG assistance working with the Mayors and Governors of Novgorod, Samara and the Russian Far East from 1995-1999.
- Pioneering and successfully launching Uganda’s first cellphone-based market information systems, in 2001, to provide fish prices to fisherfolk on Lake Victoria in Uganda through cell phone Short Messaging Service (SMS), in partnership with South African telecom MTN.
- Serving as Senior Economic Advisor for USAID/Iraq and USAID/Yemen
- Vice President for Economic Growth at a Fortune 500 company
- Advising the USAID’s Office of Strategic & Program Planning (SPP) on internal capacity building and knowledge management around institutionalization of the Program Cycle.
MPS Sustainable Urban Planning from George Washington University
MIA International Affairs, Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), Latin American Studies
BA History from Williams College