Ilona Szabo de Carvalho is a civic entrepreneur and a thought leader on issues of civic action, drug policy, and violence prevention and reduction. She is the co-founder and executive director of the Igarapé Institute, a think and do tank that develops pioneering research, new technologies, and policy on security, climate, and development. Igarapé was ranked the number one social policy think tank in the world by Prospect in 2019.
Ilona has extensive experience leading global networks. Between 2011 and 2016 she was the executive coordinator of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, a network of former presidents, entrepreneurs, and public intellectuals, including Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Richard Branson, and the former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
She is also the co-founder of the AGORA movement that aims to shape and help implement a new vision and public policy agenda in Brazil.
She is a Public Policy Fellow at SIPA, at Columbia University. She earned a Master’s Degree in International Studies from Uppsala University in Sweden, and a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations. She has joined several executive courses, such as in Global Leadership and Public Policy for the 21st Century at the Kennedy School at Harvard and Transformational Leadership at the Said Business School at Oxford University.
She is a Young Global Leader at the World Economic Forum and was awarded several other prizes. She is a columnist at Folha de Sao Paulo and a TV commentator. A TED speaker and an author of 2 books. Ilona serves on several boards, including the advisory board of the Young Global Leaders.
In the mid¬-2000s she coordinated a national campaign on responsible gun control in Brazil and previously she worked for 5 years in investment banks in Rio de Janeiro.