Cesar Ricaurte: CEO
Mr. César Ricaurte is co-founder and executive director of the NED-supported Andean Foundation for Social Observation and Study of the Media (FUNDAMEDIOS), Ecuador’s first civil society organization devoted to the protection of free speech. He has actively denounced his government’s attacks on freedom of the press, including by way of testimonies before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and has been a frequent target of official harassment as a result. In 2012, the Argentinian publishing house Perfil awarded him an International Freedom of the Press Prize, and the Inter-American Press Association granted him its Grand Prize for Press Freedom. During his fellowship, Mr. Ricaurte is working on a project examining the Ecuadorean government’s systematic assault on freedom of expression, including the stigmatization of journalists, NGOs, and independent media.
Dagmar Thiel, USA Office Director
Ecuadorian-German journalist, appointed as Fundamedios’ Director in the U.S. in 2018 to lead its office start-up in Washington DC and manage it thereafter. She has ample experience in communications, public affairs, and corporate sustainability, and has worked over 25 years in media, non-profit organizations, and corporations. In Ecuador, Dagmar was a reporter and news anchor in Ecuavisa and TC TV, as well as a contributor of El Pais, and Deutsche Welle. In the corporative sector she was Head of Communications and Corporate Sustainability of Telefonica (previously BellSouth), Vice President of Foundation Telefonica, and became elected Chairperson of the United Nation Global Compact Network in Ecuador.
Frank LaRue, Advocacy and Human Rights Director
Journalist and lawyer from the San Carlos University of Guatemala. He also has studies in U.S. Foreign Policy in the School of Advanced International Studies Johns Hopkins University Washington, DC, and on Conflict Resolution at Eastern Mennonite University USA.
He has a long history as Human Rights defender in Guatemala, focusing his work particularly toward vulnerable groups such as children, youth, women and indigenous peoples, for which in 2003 he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. He has a wide experience in Human Rights, Democratic Development, Social Communication, Education, Latin American Analysis and political issues. Human Rights Lawyer in cases presented to the Interamerican Human Rights Commission and the Interamerican Human Rights Court and lobbying before the United Nations System on Human Rights. Former Director for the RFK Center for Human Rights Europe, Former UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection for the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, appointed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2008. At present he is the member of the Board of Directors of the DEMOS Institute, an NGO that works on the promotion of democratic values and provides support to the participation of youth, women and indigenous peoples in Guatemala.University professor, and Human Rights investigator. Member of the Google Advisory Council, and Pioneer Award winner 2014, granted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.