North America, Asia, Africa, South America, Europe
Financing Youth-led Climate Action
María Alejandra Téllez
Home » Youth Climate Stories  »  María Alejandra Téllez
María Alejandra Téllez

Leadership is not an inherited skill; it is a treasure which, if found and properly cultivated, can serve to positively transform the world. Becoming a lawyer and a social entrepreneur have been two of the most thoughtful decisions I have made in my life. During the last 5 years, I have worked as a Co-founder and Executive Director at Climalab NGO, leading social and climate change projects with an education, gender and public policy approach in Colombia. These tremendous job opportunities have supported all my professional evolution as a leader.

My work and social impact at Climalab NGO in recent years has driven me to participate, and be recognized, in different national and international scenarios, among these:

  • Interviewed as a panelist of the Climate Finance Event promoted by the National Planning Department of Colombia (2021);

  • Interviewed by El Espectador journal in the article "What you need to know about climate change and its challenges" as Director of Climalab (2021); 
  • Invited to the "Table Talks" program coordinated by the British Embassy in Colombia and One Young World to talk about the challenges that young leaders must tackle in the LAC region to mitigate the impact of climate change and the importance of participating in the next UNFCCC COP 26 (2020); 
  • Interviewed by the magazine Smart City Barcelona about the role of youngsters vis-à-vis the challenges of climate change (2020);
  • Selected by the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation in alliance with United Nations as a Colombian Youth Delegate for the 25th Youth Assembly in New York (2020); 
  • Interviewed by the United Nations (New York) about climate activism as a young leader, thanks to the work carried out by Climalab in the project "Schools Addressing Climate with the Country" (2019); and
  • Selected as speaker at the first Women Economic Forum LATAM (2019), among others. 

In addition, at the age of 26, I won the National Young Talent Award for Bogotá given by the Office of the First Lady of Colombia and the Presidential Adviser for Youth [Colombia Joven] thanks to the more than 3,000 people positively impacted in different institutions in the framework of our project "Schools Addressing Climate with the Country" in Bogotá.

Through this project, we sought to strengthen environmental education for children and youth and measure schools' carbon footprint to improve their decision-making in terms of sustainability resilience. This initiative allowed me to participate in the 10th One Young World Conference held in London in 2019.

Today, I am an Ambassador for One Young World, the largest and most influential youth network in the world. My journey through these different professional experiences have allowed me to gain a deeper insight into the public needs of my country, while giving me the opportunity to work on their solution.

To date, we (Climalab NGO) have impacted positively more than 4,500 people through different projects over the last 5 years. In the long term, I will conceive new projects that continue to align with local and national public policies on climate change. I will seek to open new markets by taking Climalab NGO to other Latin American cities with the purpose of creating coherent policies at the regional level for better economic growth that promote sustainable development and climate resilience in our communities. Finally, I hope to be able to further contribute to public policies on climate change in Colombia by working in close contact with public and international institutions.

(Visit us:

Scroll to Top