Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Person with hair in a bun, wearing a dark shirt, against a dark background.

Americans for the Arts is pleased to announce that Mariaesmeralda Paguaga has joined the organization as its new Vice President of Strategic Communications.

Paguaga comes to Americans for the Arts with a broad and deep cultural foundation from which to build Americans for the Arts’ strategic communications plan that meets the needs of the organization’s diverse audiences internally and externally. Bringing over two decades of social impact leadership, Paguaga has an extensive and proven record in achieving transformational change via strategic communications, program innovation, brand positioning, integrated marketing campaigns, strategic partnerships, celebrity and dignitary relations, creative production, and mission-driven events. Her career has been anchored working with the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, including over 15 years as an international civil servant within the UN System and as part of leadership teams within international NGOs.

Americans for the Arts’ President and CEO Nolen V. Bivens commented, “I am excited to welcome Mariaesmeralda Paguaga to Americans for the Arts. She is a true ‘people-first’ leader who will support, develop, and build our communications team. As the organization concludes its Strategic Realignment Process and workplace culture rebuild, Mariaesmeralda is an incredible ambassador for an inclusive organization, as well as the arts and culture ecosystem as a whole.”  

Most recently, Paguaga led PeaceTech Lab’s Office of Strategic Communications and Special Projects at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP). During the global pandemic in 2020, she conceptualized, directed, and produced the prestigious International Peace Honors (IPH), a global event broadcasted in Spanish, Portuguese, French, Kiswahili, and sign language, to inspire global action. The IPH celebrates the impactful work of some of the most outstanding global leaders and changemakers who help defend human rights and protect the environment, and lead global actions for the fight for equality and social justice.

Paguaga directed the Office of Innovation and Strategy at the Pan American Development Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Organization of American States (OAS); and served as executive vice president of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, created by the White House in 1987, where she strengthened the organization’s financial viability and operations and expanded its work across international borders. She also executive produced the Hispanic Heritage Awards at the Kennedy Center, which were broadcasted on NBC, Telemundo, and the Armed Forces Network.

Paguaga has served as a founding board member of the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame. A devoted social-impact executive, the arts have been a constant in her life and career. She has applied and lived the power of music as a bridge for peace and galvanizer for social good; art therapy as a release of emotional trauma for children in refugee camps; storytelling as a unifying force for communities; dance as a connecting thread to ethnic diversity, health, and wellbeing; and creativity and innovation as drivers of creative problem solving and global socioeconomic development.