Leonardo is an Afro-Colombian political scientist (1999) and historian (2001) from the University of the Andes in Bogota. He is an alumnus of the International Human Rights Advocates Program (2002) at Columbia University in New York and he also has a Master of Arts in Political, Economic and International Affairs (2005) at Externado University in Bogota. This M.A Degree was received in the frame of the inter-university consorsium (agreement) that Externado University has with both the Institute of High Studies for Development (IAED) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bogota, and the Insitute of Political Science (Science Po) in Paris. Leonardo is currently a Ph.D. Candidate (Political Science Program) at the New School University in New York.
Leonardo has participated in several international programs on social development, democracy and human rights that have been held in the United States, Holland, Belgium, France, Mexico, Canada, Brazil and Switzerland. Also, he went to Louisiana State University (LSU), where he took doctoral seminars for one academic year, before transferring to the New School University. He is pursuing his Ph.D. Degree in the frame of the prestigious program Colciencias-DNP-Fulbright, and he is also a Colfuturo grantee. As a Fulbright scholar, Leonardo won the first ‘Sue Davis Award’ for talented Ph.D. students who have produced key knowledge at the university level in the United States.
Leonardo has worked for the Afro-Colombian National Movement CIMARRON for more than ten years, and he has also been adjunct instructor at both the District University and La Salle University in Bogota. Leonardo is Correspondent in Latin America for the World Association of the School as an Instrument for Peace (EIP), an international NGO with consultative status to the United Nations, which is located in Geneva (Switzerland). He has published his academic and professional works in different books and academic journals at both national and international levels. He represented the Afro-Colombian communities at the Human Rights District Committee (2002) in Bogota, as well as the United Nations Working Group on Minorities (2005).
He has lectured at conferences on the impact of racist practices and the (Colombian) internal armed conflict on socio-economic development. It is important to underline that Leonardo is a well-known story teller in Colombia, and he always relies on his story-telling skills when training young people and community leaders on human rights and development issues. He has presented his story-telling stories in different countries of the Americas and Europe, taking advantage of the langagues in which he is fluent (French, English, Portuguese and Spanish).