Maria Soledad Nuñez Mendez

Academic Director, Public Policy Programme, UCOM University

Paraguay’s former Minister of Housing and Habitat. At the age of 31, she became the youngest Minister of the Executive Branch. Soledad oversaw a dramatic increase in the production of social housing for low-income households having worked with more than 30,000 families in her country. She also transformed the ministry from a housing-focused institution into a technical institution responsible for coordinating the implementation of the country’s New Urban Agenda. As part of that effort, she led the National Committee of Habitat, which included more than 50 public and private institutions. Soledad was also elected President of the Regional Assembly of Ministers and High Level Authorities of Housing and Urban Development for Latin America and the Caribbean in 2015. 

Before, Soledad coordinated the implementation of a National Poverty Eradication Plan and was an active leader in the Development of the Paraguayan Open Government Plan from the Technical Planning Secretariat for Social and Economic Development in the President's office. She has also served as National Director of TECHO Paraguay, a non-governmental organization that provides emergency housing solutions and promotes the active involvement of young people in the policy making process. During her time in TECHO, she was able to mobilize more than 15,000 young people for the cause. Currently, she is leading a training program for 150 public servants in Paraguay at UCOM University and belongs to the Advisory Board of the World Bank's initiative "Paraguay Ahora" which aims to promote social dialogues among young people to build a better future. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the NGO "Enseña por Paraguay" (Teach for all-Paraguay) and founding member of the women's network UNIDAS between Latin America and Germany.

Soledad began her professional career in the private sector implementing social infrastructure projects in rural areas. She has a degree in Civil Engineering from the National University of Asunción, studied Project Management in the Polytechnic University of Madrid, is an alumni of the Global Competitiveness Leadership Program at Georgetown University and has a Master's degree of Public Policy at Oxford University. 

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