An Externadista, the new Mayor of Bogotá

Claudia López, the first woman elected mayor of Bogotá, with a record number of votes, recognized for her independence and strength of character, graduated from the Externado in 1996, as a professional in Finance and International Relations.

From very early on, she showed her mettle. As a university student, during the harshest narcoterrorism era, she took an active part in the Seventh Ballot Movement, decisively influencing the call of the Constituent Assembly, which gave birth to the 1991 Constitution. There she was, in the front row, among the crowd of students carrying a banner stating, “We can still save Colombia,” the phrase coined as a hallmark of the movement. “[That] was my gateway to work for Colombian democracy,” she acknowledges today.

She was a controversial university student committed to the development of her young faculty. As a graduate, she guided the Development Planning Chair of the Government and International Relations program in 2005 and 2006.

Claudia López has had numerous and varied experiences in public administration, politics, and academia.

She was part of the Capital District Acción Comunal, and worked for Enrique Peñalosa, her former professor at the Externado, as a researcher on Bogotá issues, in his past administration. She worked at the District Comptroller’s Office, was mayor of the town of Santa Fe, and participated in Peñalosa’s presidential campaign. She was a senator for the Green Alliance in 2012-2015.

Her research, work shared with colleagues such as Juanita León and León Valencia and which concluded with the “map of parapolitics in Colombia,” had a great impact on national politics and earned her threats and persecutions, which in no way intimidated her.

The fight against corruption has been another of her endeavors, to the point she led the Anti-Corruption Referendum, obtaining more than eleven million votes. She ran as the vice-presidential candidate with Sergio Fajardo, a formula defeated by the current administration.

Claudia López Hernández holds postgraduate degrees from prestigious American universities, such as a Master’s in Public Administration and Urban Policy from Columbia University, N.Y. and PhD in Political Science from Northwestern University, both completed with scholarships programs.