Charles Villa-Vicencio is a South African theologian (Rhodes 1968) and political scientist (Natal 1970) who did his Master degree at Yale University and his PhD at Drew University, USA. A former Methodist minister and University Professor of Religion and Society, highly involved in the struggle against apartheid, he is presently Emeritus Professor of the University of Cape Town and Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation in South Africa.
Working closely with Nobel Laureate Rev. Desmond Tutu, during 1996-1998, Charles held the key position of National Research Director of the world-renown Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which paved the way for a peaceful transition from apartheid to democracy in South Africa. In 2000 he initiated the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, of which he was the Executive Director. The institute is attempting to use lessons of the TRC in post-apartheid South Africa, as well as other countries.
Charles Villa-Vicencio has been a great source of knowledge and inspiration based on the South African experience, and called upon by numerous academic and non-academic institutions worldwide. He has worked in several African countries, in Peru and elsewhere on truth commissions and transitional justice issues. He has also spoken with groups in the USA who are building models of what is called ‘restorative justice’ into the American criminal system. He has been recently appointed visiting professor at Georgetown University as well as being a guest speaker at a major conference on restorative justice in Japan.
As an accomplished academic, internationally known particularly in the field of transitional justice, Charles currently holds visiting professorships at the Conflict Resolution Programme of Georgetown University, Washington DC and the Graduate School of Business Administration of the University of the Witwatersrand, being also a ministerial appointee to the Council of Stellenbosch University. A prolific writer, he has published and co-authored eighteen books and an impressive number of articles in scholarly journals on the topic of reconciliation from a variety of perspectives providing an interdisciplinary dialogue between disciplines such as theology, psychology, sociology, philosophy, politics, human rights and history.
For his work and contribution to knowledge in 1998 Dr. Charles Villa-Vicencio was awarded the title of Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris Causa by Elmhurst College, USA and in 2005 he received the Abraham Kuyper Prize offered by Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, USA.