George Vickers, who passed away on December 2, devoted much of his professional life to advancing human rights and social justice both in the United States and in Latin America. He was active in the civil rights and anti-war movements, and, in his academic career, was deeply involved with human rights issues in Central America. He left a secure university position to become the Executive Director of WOLA in 1993, where he served until 2001. At WOLA, he led the organization through a transition, professionalizing the staff, broadening our issue focus, and redirecting our Central America work to support civil society groups in the region in consolidating peace and building more democratic institutions. George spearheaded the dissemination of WOLA’s advocacy training methodology in Central America, a program that led to the widespread adaptation and adoption of impactful advocacy strategies across the region.
George went on to work at the Open Society Foundations, as Latin America director, and later as a senior advisor and ombudsman. He remained a friend and supporter of WOLA and its work throughout his career and his life.
Former WOLA Executive Director and current Board of Directors member Alex Wilde notes, “George was moved by a righteous anger toward the long, tragic role of U.S. policy in Central America. He believed that, beyond what he might contribute writing and organizing with other American academics, WOLA offered a chance to make a real difference in Washington and on the ground in the region…George Vickers was indeed always a great friend to WOLA, wholeheartedly supporting our mission and helping bring tangible support to our work.”
As WOLA approaches its 45th year, there is no doubt that George played an instrumental role in the organization’s evolution, and its positive impact on the ground. We are deeply grateful to George, and will miss his commitment, his intelligence, and his friendship.
George Vickers, presente!
We will be collecting remembrances of George Vickers from his many friends and colleagues in the WOLA community. Please send your stories of George and his work to [email protected]