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Carlos Cadena-Gaitán Ph.D.

What am I passionate about?

I'm a teacher and an activist. I'm passionate about research, about understanding our world; how different people and regions can collaborate in order to learn from each other. But equally passionate about translating research to the wider world, to make a positive difference to people's lives, especially the most vulnerable. People who struggle to breathe because of air pollution; people who struggle to cycle to work because of ineffective governments; people —like any of us— who lack a fair and helping hand to fulfill their potential.


What have I accomplished?

I was born (1983) and raised in Medellín, Colombia. My quest for understanding our world has taken me to the United States, France, Finland, Hungary, Slovenia and The Netherlands, where I have lived and studied.

After obtaining my Ph.D. at the University of Maastricht/United Nations University UNU-MERIT (The Netherlands) in 2014, I returned to Colombia; based in Medellín.

Due to my public service accomplishments (as Transport Secretary for the City of Medellín), I was selected as one of the 21 Heroes 2021, by the Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative (TUMI), based in Germany.

Due to my research+action initiatives, I was granted the 2015 "Future Sustainability Leader" Prize by the Danish Think-Tank Sustainia and the Norwegian organization DNV-GL. I was also nominated to the "Inspired Leadership Award" by The Performance Theatre (TPT) in London (2016), and have received various local awards in Colombia.

When I am not working I enjoy yoga, cycling, scuba diving, tennis, and exploring the arts.

Who do I collaborate with?

I like to collaborate with creative and conscious human beings all over the globe.

Currently, I serve as Assistant Professor at EAFIT University in Medellín, Colombia. Previously, I served as the Transport Secretary for the city of Medellín, Colombia; as the Academic Coordinator at the Centre for Urban and Environmental Studies -urbam- at EAFIT University, where I coordinated the Master's in Urban and Environmental Processes, as well as various internal research projects; and as Coordinator of the iconic cultural institution in downtown Medellín: the Pablo Tobón Uribe Theatre.

I also participated as one of the researchers in "PEAK Urban"; a 4-year multinational project led by Oxford University, through which we collaborate with researchers from Cape Town University, Peking University and the Indian Institute for Human Settlements.

Some of my other collaborations include:

1- Humanese: Co-founder. An arts resource center for co-creation, recreation and evolution. Host for the yearly "Sensorial Pop-up" #SENSE.

2- La Ciudad Verde: Co-founder. Activist think-do thank that promotes sustainable cities through citizen participation and creativity. La Ciudad Verde uses social media and art as a tool to share academic knowledge on sustainability with citizens. With more than 100.000 followers on social media, it has active presence in 7 cities across 3 countries in Latin America. @LaCiudadVerde 

3- Low Carbon City: Co-founder. Global platform to reduce carbon emissions via citizen participation. Organizers of the yearly Low Carbon City Forum. @LowCarbon_City

4- World Bike Forum: Director for the 4th version of the event (2015), which gathered 7000 people in Medellín and transformed urban cycling paradigms in Colombia. @worldbikeforum

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