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Viridiana Rios

Mexican Scholar and Political Analyst

Instructor, Harvard University

Viri Ríos is a political scientist specializing in public policy and US-Mexico relations. She is a lecturer at Harvard Summer School and received her Ph.D. in government from Harvard University. Her work has been published at The Journal of Conflict Resolution, Comparative Political Studies, and Justice Quarterly, among other academic journals. Prof. Ríos regularly advises top political leaders, helping them identify, measure, and expose counter-intuitive policy truths using data. Besides her labor as an academic, she is a columnist at the European newspaper, El País.

She is a member of a new generation of academics that rejects the notion that academia is inextricably separated from policy decisions and social impact. Instead, Ríos relies on data analysis, research journalism, and close collaboration with academic peers to develop a keen understanding of Mexico's most pressing social problems and to design and promote novel solutions for them.

Ríos teaches U.S.-Mexico politics at the Harvard Summer School and write for the European newspaper El País and the Mexican newspaper Milenio

Her latest book, No Es Normal. The rigged game that fuels Mexican inequality and how to change it [in Spanish] examines how to create a more equitable, inclusive, and prosperous Mexico by improving fiscal, labor, and competition regulations. The publication received the "Latin American Leadership Award" from The Global School of Social Leaders in Vienna. 

Ríos has published a number of peer-reviewed papers in journals such as The Journal of Conflict Resolution, Comparative Political Studies, Justice Quarterly, Latin American Research Review, and Latin American Politics and Society, as well as an edited volume titled The Missing Reform, which focuses on how to enhance the Rule of Law in Mexico. As academic, serving as a visiting assistant professor at the universities of Harvard and Purdue.

As a public policy advisor, Ríos works with prominent public and corporate leaders to uncover surprising policy realities through data-driven analysis. She nurtures an extensive network of high-profile relationships with business leaders and political figures. She has also founded and directed applied research institutes like #MéxicoComoVamos, which promotes regional development in Mexico, and #Dateras, a group of women who utilize coding to strengthen strategic thinking.

Ríos was honored to be selected by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader 2020, and the Harvard Gazette recognized me as one of Harvard’s fifteen outstanding alumni in my cohort. She is a fellow of the International Women's Forum and served as a member of Mexico's National Anti-Corruption System in 2018, a position bestowed by the Mexican Senate upon eminent academics and activists. The British magazine The Economist described me as a “mover and shaker” in Mexico's civil society, and The Library of Congress designated my work on migration as a "Latin America Editor's Pick". In 2014, the American Political Science Association awarded me the prize for the best dissertation in public administration.

Baidoa, Somalia

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