Mark Caicedo has been with the IAF since 1994 in a variety of roles, including Fellowship Representative, Translations, Photo Editor, Contract Specialist, and briefly as Foundation Representative. His love for Latin American culture began early on, growing up first in Lima, Peru and then attending high school in Mexico City. Eventually, he made his way to Colorado State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology. A desire to use his academic and cultural background prompted him to join the U.S. Peace Corps, where he worked for three years as a beekeeping extension agent in Copán and Santa Barbara, Honduras. After stints as a Peace Corps trainer and recruiter, he earned his master’s degree in Environmental Studies at San Jose State University, concentrating on the relationship between people, culture, and natural resource use. Shortly thereafter, Mark joined the IAF managing its Fellowship Program. As the foundation has evolved over the years, Mark has adapted to shifting circumstances and take on duties as diverse as budget and contract management, translations, and publications and outreach. He has traveled throughout Central and South America documenting the IAF’s mission through his personal and professional passion, photography. Today, in addition to working with the Operations team, he continues to put his photography skills to use providing visual content to the Office of External and Government Affairs for the IAF’s various online platforms.
Few would have imagined in the early days that former IAF grantee partner Fundación Defensores del Chaco would become a youth-led powerhouse mobilizing entire towns to advocate for themselves. But what started as a street soccer team became a space where young people and their communities could bring their problems and find solutions together.