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Agustín Gutiérrez

1st-Year MPP

Agustín Gutiérrez grew up in conflict-ridden Colombia, where he witnessed how many of those who face dire socioeconomic situations end up in poverty and engage in criminal activity. He thus became very interested in understanding how society could enable individuals facing such adverse circumstances to achieve resilient trajectories. This interest led him to study psychology at Universidad de los Andes and to research resilience. His work has been published in peer-reviewed journals and he has been invited to present his research in academic congresses in the United States, Europe and Colombia.

After the recent peace agreement between the FARC guerilla group and Colombia’s Government, the United Nations’ Migration Agency (IOM) invited Gutiérrez to lead a joint pilot project between IOM and the University of Pennsylvania, to assess the validity of using resilience and wellbeing frameworks to measure and strengthen programs in Colombia that seek to prevent the recruitment of vulnerable adolescents by illegal armed groups. This project involved measuring seven different programs implemented by the government and different NGOs, in twenty different regions in the country.

As a result IOM and USAID scaled this pilot up and Gutiérrez advised IOM in measuring and incorporating such frameworks into all relevant recruitment-prevention programs implemented in Colombia, and in a major project between the agency and Colombia’s National Police, which sought to prevent communal violence in critical rural areas.

While at The Pearson Institute and the Harris School of Public Policy, Gutiérrez hopes to gain expertise in program management and evaluation. He wishes to work in Latin America, managing programs with multilateral agencies, aiming to reduce violence, with a special focus on urban crime.

Baidoa, Somalia

Makeshift, temporary shelter made of plastic and clothing at a refugee center in Baidoa, Somalia.