Research and Policy
Manuel Bustamante grew up in Bogotá, Colombia, where he witnessed internal conflict firsthand. His interest in politics led him to study law in order to promote political reforms to foster stronger and more democratic institutions.
After earning an undergraduate degree in law from Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, he joined a highly recognized law firm in Colombia, where he advised major Colombian and foreign public and private entities as well as NGOs, focusing on taxation and public law.
As a lawyer, Bustamante participated in the drafting of a comprehensive report on a fundamental reform to the Colombian tax regime, which was presented to the Minister of Finance and the Colombian Congress. He also made policy recommendations on the implementation of tax incentives to investments in conflict areas and wrote multiple reports on the introduction of OECD-proposed alternatives to tackle tax evasion and profit shifting. Always interested in politics, Bustamante also worked as a volunteer for the campaign of candidate Sergio Fajardo in the 2018 Colombian presidential election.
At The Pearson Institute, Bustamante, who is fluent in Spanish, English, and French, aspires to focus on political and economic development. He wishes to explore how approaches to state-building from the top, traditionally used to intervene in conflict areas in Colombia, could be combined with bottom-up forms of organization, strengthening state capabilities and challenging patron-client relationships associated with violence and poverty. He hopes that by integrating peripheral communities into the national economy and political sphere, the peace agreement with the FARC guerillas and further peace negotiations will eradicate the threat of violence in remote regions of Colombia.