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Center for Victims of Torture Names Simon Adams, Ph.D., as President and CEO

Published September 1, 2021

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Center for Victims of Torture™ (CVT) today announces the appointment of Simon Adams, Ph.D. as president and chief executive officer to lead the organization in its mission to heal the wounds of torture and end torture worldwide. Dr. Adams will move to CVT in October from his current role as executive director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, an organization that works to prevent mass atrocity crimes throughout the world.

“I am so very pleased to welcome Simon into this leadership role for CVT at such an important moment when appreciation for the need for mental health care, for social justice, and for global humanitarian efforts is growing,” said Carleen Rhodes, CVT board chair. “With his history of building workplaces and policies focused on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, his experience living and working closely with survivors of torture, his work in conflict zones, and his demonstrated success in civil society networking and coalition building, Simon brings the skills and insights needed to support CVT in growing our global leadership position.”

Dr. Adams has extensive experience leading international organizations, and in his work at the Global Centre he has engaged in human rights advocacy with the UN Security Council, Human Rights Council and numerous other international organizations and governments around the world. During his time at the Global Centre, international legal and political norms were developed at the UN related to preventing and halting mass atrocities. This work involves monitoring of atrocity situations, research and high-level advocacy, often including work to amplify the voices of survivors of torture. He has worked closely with human rights defenders and civil society organizations in Syria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Myanmar, Venezuela and numerous other conflict zones. He was also previously a member of the international anti-apartheid movement and worked to help build public support amongst the Irish diaspora for the Northern Ireland peace process.

“I have admired and respected the work of CVT for many years and feel very proud to join this team,” Dr. Adams said. “My professional and personal history with survivors of torture gives me a deep appreciation for the needs and challenges survivors face, and I have seen the innovation and dedication demonstrated by the CVT team in their tireless, and very complex, work to facilitate healing. In this time when the global need for rehabilitative care grows every day, this move to CVT is for me a logical, and heartfelt, choice.”

Dr. Adams is the author of five books on human rights and international conflict, and has written for many international news outlets and frequently appeared as expert commentator on world news media, including CNN, Al-Jazeera, BBC World News, ARD and Deutsche Welle News (Germany), China Global Television Network and many others.

“CVT is poised for growth in both our work to extend care to survivors around the world and in our policy advocacy and human rights initiatives – Simon brings the vision, expertise and determination to move us far ahead,” Rhodes said.


The Center for Victims of Torture is a nonprofit organization headquartered in St. Paul, MN, with offices in Atlanta, GA, and Washington, D.C.; and healing initiatives in Africa and the Middle East. Visit cvt.org

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