Simon Gaviria, the former Director of Colombia’s National Planning Department, is a Visiting Scholar at the Marron Institute, serving as an expert adviser to Professor Shlomo Angel’s Urban Expansion program. While visiting Marron, Gaviria is conducting public policy research related to urban development, good governance, regulation, and economic growth in Colombia. He also advised Angel’s team on the work of the Urban Expansion program throughout Latin America. He recently published a paper on the journal Cities, Invisible Walls explaining Colombia's hyper-density in the context of organized violence.
Gaviria most recently served as the General Director of the National Planning Department (DNP) of Colombia. In this role, he launched initiatives and programs such as the Colombian National Development Plan 2014 - 2018, an ambitious plan that sees closing education gaps as key for an integral development of the regions and balancing the opportunities for all the Colombian citizens. He also led the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Green Growth country strategy, and led Colombia's accession on several OECD commities.
Gaviria was elected as a member of the Chamber of Representatives of Colombia for two consecutive terms representing the city of Bogota. While serving as House Speaker, he was also chairman of the Colombia's Liberal Party.
He earned a Master in Public Administration from Harvard's Kennedy School where he attended as a Mason Fellow. Gaviria received his Undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania, where he wrote an award-winning thesis about pension reform. Earlier in his career, he worked as a financial analyst at JP Morgan Chase Corporate Finance in New York.