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Paula Avila-Guillen


Executive Director

New York, NY, US


Growing up in a small town affected by the Colombian conflict led to Paula dedicating herself to the fight for justice and equality. Paula has fourteen years of experience in designing and implementing advocacy and litigation strategies to address a variety of human rights issues. Her keen political judgment and ability to identify opportunities have led her to advance strategies that have created long-lasting social impact. 


As Executive Director of WEC, Paula serves as a principal strategist and leads WEC’s campaigns and operations. WEC's campaigns include efforts to end the total abortion bans in El Salvador, and the total emergency contraception ban in Honduras, as well as to support the movement to legalize abortion and expand women’s rights in Argentina, Colombia and Mexico.  


Prior to working with WEC, Paula worked at the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) where she successfully created and implemented advocacy strategies, and identified entry points for reproductive rights issues to be addressed in complex political arenas such as the Organization of American States and the United Nations. Working with the communications team, she conceptualized and led CRR's advocacy strategy to hold the Salvadoran government accountable for convicting dozens of women of aggravated murder following miscarriages and stillbirths. This strategy has significantly contributed to the release of thirty five women so far, and it is now being implemented by a coalition of organizations, including WEC. Paula plans to keep fighting until all the women are released.


Paula has been published on many issues related to health, reproductive rights, and public policy, and has spoken at various conferences and universities, including Harvard and Georgetown University. She has also served as an expert consultant for the World Bank regarding the Zika epidemic and its human rights implications. Through her women’s rights advocacy work she has been interviewed, published and quoted by the New York Times, The Economist, The Miami Herald, Time Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, CNN en Español, NTN24, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, and others.


Paula received her law degree from Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia, and she received an LL.M. with a concentration in Human Rights Law from the Washington College of Law at American University. Paula was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2012.

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