Interview: Ilona Szabó de Carvalho
Published on Sam Potolicchio’s Leadership Notes
Ilona Szabó de Carvalho is the cofounder and executive director of the Igarapé Institute, a think and do tank based in Brazil and a cofounder of Agora, an initiative to promote and implement more effective public policy. She is a drug policy and citizen security specialist and coordinated the Global Commission on Drug Policy from 2011 to 2016. Ilona is a columnist at Folha de Sao Paulo and a regular contributor to global and national media outlets. She gave a TED talk on citizen diplomacy. She is the author of two books Drugs: the Untold Stories, and Public Security to Change the Game, published by Zahar in 2017 and 2018 and the co-script writer and researcher for the award-winning documentary Breaking the Taboo. She is a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and a Responsible Leader of the BMW Foundation. She earned a Master’s Degree in International Studies from the Peace and Conflict Studies Department from the University of Uppsala in Sweden, a specialist degree in International Development, from the Oslo University and a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations.
Potolicchio: What are you doing at Igarapé?
Ilona: We are undertaking data-driven policy and action on some of the most urgent global challenges. At the Institute, we are focused on smart solutions to strengthen safety, security, justice, migration and climate resilience. It’s a big agenda, but we are convinced that the only way to tackle issues like urban violence, digital threats, population displacement and illegal resource extraction is by thinking across silos. We undertake research, forge strategic partnerships, engage in media outreach and design, test and scale new technologies.