Pedro Telles

Nationality: Brazilian
Living in: São Paolo, Brazil
Facebook: @pedrortelles

Co-founder of Bancada Ativista (Activist Caucus), and co-Chief of Staff for the movement’s State Deputy collective mandate at São Paulo’s Legislative Assembly


Video: Pedro and other Fellows talk about the AFSEE programme (in English)
Video: Pedro fala sobre o programa AFSEE (em português)
Blog: Pedro writes on where to look for hope in Brazil

Pedro is a Brazilian development professional and activist with expertise in advocacy, policy analysis and civic engagement. He has worked with civil society organisations, movements and funders in several countries across Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia.

He is a co-founder of Bancada Ativista (Activist Caucus), a movement focused on electing activists to political office in Brazil. He is co-Chief of Staff for the movement’s innovative collective mandate, in which nine activists share a single State Deputy seat at the Legislative Assembly of the State of São Paulo, Brazil’s largest electoral college.

Pedro is an advocacy lecturer at Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV), and a co-founder and lecturer at the Advocacy Hub. He is also a co-founder and member of the advisory board at Engajamundo, an award-winning organisation focused on youth engagement and intergenerational equity.

His past professional experiences include work with Luminate, Greenpeace, Oxfam, Brazil Human Rights Fund, Self-Employed Women’s Association of India (SEWA) and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), among others.

Pedro holds a master’s in development studies with distinction from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), postgraduate degrees in economics and in political science, and a bachelor’s degree in social communications. Pedro is also a trained facilitator of meetings and strategic planning processes, and an experienced public speaker.

In 2012, Pedro was one of four people selected by The Elders to work with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu, former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, former Prime Minister of Norway Gro Harlem Brundtland, and former President of Brazil Fernando Henrique Cardoso in a project related to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).


Personal Statement

Inequalities have always been at the centre of my attention. Coming from one of the most unequal countries in the world, it is not hard to explain why. The strong presence and severe effects of inequalities in nearly all dimensions of society, from livelihoods and access to basic services to environmental issues and the way the political system operates, make them central for anyone concerned with human rights and social justice.

In one way or another, inequalities have always been a key part of my work and activism. They were the focus of my master’s dissertation, which I later adapted for Oxfam to publish as a report in Brazil, helping to shape their global campaign on the issue. At Greenpeace, I led initiatives that contributed to bring the concern with inequalities to the core of the organisation's environmental work. A few years ago, in the run up to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), I was part of a project by The Elders working with Desmond Tutu, Mary Robinson, Gro Brundtland and Fernando Henrique Cardoso, calling for equity to be at the core of the UN’s sustainable development agenda.

Over the last few years, the subject of political inequalities has become a top priority for me. In Brazil, 89.6% of Congress members are men and 79.9% are white, leaving women and people of colour drastically underrepresented. The average declared wealth of a congressperson is R$2.8 million (US$860,000), placing them in the top 0.01% of Brazilians. Similar levels of political inequalities are found in many other countries across Latin America and the world — and they appear not only among those who are elected, but also among those who are invited to join government teams or spaces such as government councils.

We will not be able to adequately address the severe inequalities we face in our societies as a whole until we address the severe inequalities we face in our political systems. The way they are built and operated today is one that reproduces and reinforces structural injustices and imbalances, and addressing this is crucial for us to be able to address inequalities more broadly.

Finding, developing and supporting solutions for this challenge is an important part of my work with Bancada Ativista (Activist Caucus), as well as an important part of my activism with movements and initiatives for political renovation. It is also something I intend to keep doing for a long time. In this context, the Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity programme brings a unique opportunity to dive deep into studies and discussions in a way that daily activities do not open space for, and together with an exceptional group of people work on ideas and projects that can make a very significant difference.