WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
31 Jul 2017 | WOLA Statement

WOLA’s Tribute to Virginia Bouvier

“… let our imaginations soar, seize fast to hope, and redouble our efforts for peace.”
Virginia Bouvier

Virginia “Ginny” Bouvier who passed away on July 29th was an inspiring colleague, a beloved friend, and a courageous leader for peace in Colombia and around the world. She was a senior advisor for Peace Processes at the U.S. Institute for Peace and headed the Colombia team there since 2006. In the past decade, Ginny was instrumental in building support at all levels for the peace process – from grassroots communities to the high-level negotiations in Havana. Her work helped ensure that women, the marginalized, and the victims of the conflict are part of the peace accords.

Ginny began her career at WOLA first as an intern and then from 1982-89 as a Senior Associate. In Chile, she accompanied human rights defenders through the difficult years of the Pinochet regime in the 1980s. Her report on the Stroessner regime in Paraguay was critical to the downfall of the longest standing Latin American dictatorship. Through her work in Bolivia, she was one of the first to see the abuses of the “war on drugs” as a human rights issue.

Her passion for justice and human rights helped shape WOLA as an organization and a community from its earliest years until now. Generations of human rights advocates here at WOLA and elsewhere have been trained, mentored, and inspired by Ginny Bouvier.

As Congressman Jim McGovern has said in his remarks in the House of Representatives, she was “a powerful voice for peace, and a strong, loving, generous spirit.”

Ginny once said, “we are called to go beyond ourselves,” urging us each to “cultivate caring and compassion.“ She lived by these values and her spirit will continue at WOLA in all that we do.

Matt Clausen
WOLA Executive Director

We will be collecting remembrances of Ginny Bouvier from her many friends and colleagues in the WOLA community. Please send your stories of Ginny and her work to [email protected].

In lieu of flowers, Ginny’s family has requested that gifts be made to WOLA in Ginny’s honor. You can do so here or by sending a check made to “WOLA”, noting the allocation to Ginny’s legacy, to 1666 Connecticut Ave, NW Washington, DC 20009.