Fellow Since 2006
This profile was prepared when Nicolás Hernández was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2006.
The New Idea
Nicolás combats corruption by engaging Columbia’s next generation of leaders as change agents. Through education about the causes and kinds of corruption, Nicolás emphasizes how critical reducing corruption will be for the future of Columbia’s economic and social success. He then takes the next step of energizing young people through mediums like the Internet and empowering them to put pressure on public officials and citizens to wipe out corruption once and for all. The most significant of Nicolás’ innovations is an online course which uses low-cost technology to reach young people across the country in an appealing and systematic way. Other efforts have been scattered and have often squelched the creativity of youth, but Nicolás engages young people to design their own anti-corruption strategies. The online course, currently marketed to a strategic base of university student-leaders around the country, is popular for its use of modern technology and its ability to draw attention to an issue that is largely ignored, especially by younger Columbians. Another of Nicolás’ programs partners groups of youth with a specific public infrastructure project, allowing them to monitor its progress and develop relationships with public officials. All of his strategies work together to change the mindsets of young Colombians, allowing them through information and practice to see their role as change agents in the face of a national culture of corruption.