Colombian native Catalina Cock Duque went back to her roots after getting a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland and a master’s from the London School of Economics. After starting the Amigos de Choco Foundation, which served prospectors who used environmentally safe mining practices, and the Alliance for Responsible Mining, Duque accepted a position as head of Mi Sangre.
Founded by Latin pop superstar Juanes, Mi Sangre has two missions, healing the wounds of war and preventing violence among Medellin’s youth through music, theater, writing and arts programs. More than 50,000 children participate in these programs at neighborhood centers and schools. Education and psychological services are provided for those wounded by war, especially children who have been injured by landmines. In her work, Duque relies heavily on traditional feminine traits, such as empathy, hope and communication. As she puts it, “The man is a fist. The woman is open arms.” These characteristics help Mi Sangre achieve its goals, and continue to expand its influence among Medellin’s youngest citizens.