Paraguayan-born, Martin Burt has been active for many years in promoting civil society and economic development in Paraguay. He has a degree in Public Administration and Interamerican Studies from the University of the Pacific, in California, and a Masters degree in Science, Technology, and Public Policy from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Burt started Fundación Paraguaya, an NGO, in 1985, when Paraguay was still under the dictatorship of General Stroessner. He also started the country’s first microfinance program and was instrumental in launching the country’s first environmental protection foundation. He was elected twice as president of the Paraguayan-American Chamber of Commerce. From 1991 to 1993, he served as Vice Minister of Commerce. He was elected Mayor of the capital city of Paraguay, Asuncion, in 1996, and served a five year term.
Mr. Burt is currently serving as General Manager of Fundacion Paraguaya, which has become one of Paraguay’s largest NGO’s. Working through a network of 17 regional offices that reach over 100 towns, Fundacion Paraguaya’s beneficiaries include 10,000 micro-entrepreneurs and 13,000 students that take Junior Achievement entrepreneurial training.
The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship distinguished him as a 2004 Outstanding Social Entrepreneur at the recent World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland. He has also recently received the 2005 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.