A cherished member of the WOLA family and an outstanding contributor to the struggle for peace, justice and human rights across the world, Professor Charles T. “Chuck” Call passed away on November 12, 2022. He dedicated his life to researching and advocating for conflict resolution, peace building and to end impunity across Latin America and beyond.
His passion for justice, kindness of spirit and unbreakable determination were reflected in each of the many governmental and non-governmental organizations and institutions he worked with over the years. This includes his role as an associate professor in American University’s International Peace and Conflict Resolution Program, and previously with the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), the UN Development Program, the Ford Foundation, USAID, the International Peace Institute, the Center for International Cooperation, Human Rights Watch and Cristosal, among many others.
Chuck studied at Princeton University’s School of Public & International Affairs, earned a PhD in Politics and International Relations from Stanford University and was a non-resident Senior Fellow at Brookings. Between 1999 and 2004, he was an Assistant Professor at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University and over his long career, he authored a number of publications, including the acclaimed book Why Peace Fails: The Causes and Prevention of Civil War Recurrence, in 2012.
Most recently, Chuck became a board member of Cristosal, one of the leading human rights organizations in Central America and contributed to the development of an expert committee to advise on tackling democratic threats in the region.
Professor Call first joined WOLA in 1990 where, among much other work, he co-wrote Clear and Present Dangers: The U.S. Military and the War on Drugs in the Andes, alongside now WOLA Senior Fellow, Coletta Youngers.
His warm presence and endless talent left a deep impression on all his co-workers, many of whom became life-long friends.
Among them is Alex Wilde, WOLA’s director between 1987-1993, who remembers meeting Chuck in the early 90s as a young professional, filled with enthusiasm and curiosity.
“Chuck helped bring out the best in us all. I remember particularly the depth he brought to us regarding Colombia –whose complicated politics, geography and relations with the U.S. were little recognized in Washington at the time. There was a certain tough-mindedness in his research –a need to know and face the facts– alongside the idealism we shared. Those two qualities seemed vital to our effectiveness with a new set of issues,” he says remembering who went on to become a close friend.
John Walsh, currently WOLA’s Director of Drug Policy and the Andes, who shared an office with Chuck during this time says: “Chuck brought energy, dedication, craftsmanship and a strong moral compass to his research and writing. He was also lots of fun, and proud of his Texas roots, complete with devotion to the Dallas Cowboys and Dr. Pepper!”
Chuck’s professional and personal contribution to a world where justice is a reality for all will be remembered for decades to come, as will the mark he made on so many human rights activists and peace builders across the world.