Leonardo Lara joined UNRISD in June 2008 to work with Katja Hujo and Shea McClanahan on the Social Policy and Development area. His work was focused on the project "Social Policy in Mineral-Rich Countries" and on the "Report on Poverty Reduction and Policy Regimes".
He was at the time, a Fulbright Scholar at the Heinz School of Carnegie Mellon University where he was pursuing an MSc in Public Policy and Management. He holds a Bachelor degree in Social Communications from Universidad Católica Andrés Bello in Venezuela. Before his postgraduate studies he worked in the Education department for the British Council office in Caracas and in the Public Information section of UNHCR, also in Caracas.