Welcoming YPARD LAC coordinator: José Antonio Arana Salazar

Jose Antonio Arana Salazar, YPARD LAC coordinatorWe are delighted to welcome our new YPARD LAC coordinator: José Antonio Arana Salazar.

José Antonio is a social communicator and a journalist, by the Autónoma de Occidente University of Colombia. With a certificate in Project management and Evaluation by the Universidad del Valle, Colombia, he´s is also a specialist in International Cooperation and Social Management by the University of San Buenaventura, Colombia. Moreover, José Antonio has a master in Cultural Management by the University of Barcelona.

Since 2011, José Antonio works as Communications and Knowledge Management analyst at CIAT in Cali, Colombia. He facilitates and promotes the use of participatory tools and methods in areas such as strategic planning, research, monitoring and evaluation and documentation. He promotes the use of more traditional training in combination with these tools, so that the knowledge generated through scientific research are appropriate for farmers and technical assistants.

Before, José Antonio was Project Director at IMAGO Foundation in Bogotá, where he carried out the coordination of the management of international cooperation of the entity. He also worked for the Spanish branch of IMAGO in Barcelona during 2 years as Project Coordinator, writing and coordinating social and cultural reporting, as well as supporting outreach and media work of the association.

Likewise, José Antonio has a broad experience as communications´ director. He worked during five years at Esquina Latina Theatre in the Colombian city of Cali taking care of the corporate image and public relations media of the theatre.

He has been project coordinator at the Colombian Tierra Viva Foundation, designing, managing and implementing a radio program as the main instrument of the dissemination project of the Office of the High Commissioner of United Nations for Refugees (UNHCR).

Before that, he was a communications assistant at Sanofi-Synthelabo in Cali, where he implemented the internal policies and organizational communication. Likewise, he has experience as an outreach assistant at the press department of the Colombian Red Cross as well as journalist for the Colombian Magazine Comuna 10.

Apart from his experience in communications and project management, José Antonio has also experience in the education field. In 2006-2007 he gave the course “Organizational commnunications” at the Corporación Universitaria de los Andes, and in 2013 he taught at ICESI University a course on Social Intervention.

In addition, José Antonio has written many publications (e.g. co-author in 2014 of Designing knowledge management interventions in agricultural research for development: methods, experiences and lessons learned) and currently handles two blogs on CIAT as well as on “Clima y Sector Agropecuario Colombiano”.

Being YPARD LAC coordinator represents a new challenge for José Antonio in order for the youth to contribute to a transforming agriculture in Latin America and the Caribbean.

“My main motivation is to build a stronger YPARD network in LAC, as the rural areas in this region need a bigger participation of young professionals to improve an innovative agricultural research in order to solve current issues farmers face.

I have already worked with youth networks in the past and I firmly believe that generating initiatives and projects that involve them in a new development vision will originate a sum of efforts that will result into a sustainable future building.

For this, it´s fundamental to facilitate the generation, connection and exchange of knowledge among Young professionals from different backgrounds but with the common interest of provide the debate with better agricultural policies for the region.

According to this, I would focus on implementing a plan stablished by FAO and CIAT to identify new opportunities in the dialogue among institutions and universities in the following way: strengthen YPARD LAC by feeding YPARD website with more contents on opportunities, job vacancies, courses and success stories, among others, in Spanish.

I would also like to generate more discussions at a regional level focusing on young professionals’ role against the current challenges within the agricultural sector in LAC; and organize knowledge fairs at universities to promote among young people the agricultural development as a field to explore for their future careers.”

We thank Gipsy Bocanegra, former coordinator for LAC, for her hard work with us.

Welcome on Board, José Antonio & let’s build a stronger YPARD LAC!

If you want to get involved in YPARD LAC activities, please contact José Antonio at