Pelayo Alvarez: Making Sustainable Development Practical for Global Diplomats
Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.
Spiffy here! I’m back with the scoop on the changemaking leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Pelayo Alvarez, a product manager for the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). Let’s see what he is doing to make a positive impact in the world.
Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Pelayo! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through your organization?
Pelayo: Glad to be with you, Spiffy! UNITAR helps representatives from all countries of the world learn more about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by offering classes, both in-person and online. These classes try to be fun and practical so that attendees can work on the challenges they face—for example, how to help their communities be more environmentally friendly, how to use clean energy, how to grow food in a way that is good for the earth, and many other important things.
Spiffy: What motivates you to tackle this challenge?
Pelayo: I have always liked learning from people from different cultures and seeing how they see the world. Somebody from the United States has different tools than someone from an island in the middle of the Ocean. They also have different challenges. For example, many of these islands are currently disappearing. Making sure that these people can learn how to share these issues makes me happy.
Spiffy: What would you say is the impact of your work?
Pelayo: Many of these representatives come to the UN from their countries and basically have no "friends." They feel alone and do not really know where to start their work. When taking these classes, they get to meet people, learn from them, and connect with them. They seem very happy when this occurs.
Spiffy: Tell me about a recent milestone by your organization. What impact does that make?
Pelayo: We were able to bring six students from countries very far from the United States and have them study for eight months in New York. They work directly with the President of the General Assembly. We expect that they will become leaders of the world of tomorrow.
Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Pelayo—it’s been an honor!
Pelayo Alvarez is a product manager for UNITAR, managing digital and in-person capacity-building products for the diplomats of New York. He also belongs to various NY organizations supporting local artists and tackling youth homelessness. (First published on the Ladderworks website on February 17, 2023.)
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.
© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by George Romar. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.