Charles Villa-Vicencio is a leading global authority in matters related to transitional justice and reconciliation. A distinguished theologian, he has published numerous works in various scholarly forums. His contributions extend beyond academics: from 1996-1998, he played a central role in South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, where he acted as national research director. Villa-Vicencio has used his insight and expertise to advise numerous countries dealing with the challenges of rebuilding their societies after periods of internal strife, including Peru and various African nations. Villa-Vicencio is the author of several books, including A Theology of Reconstruction: Nation-Building and Human Rights (1992) and Civil Disobedience and Beyond: Law, Resistance, and Religion in South Africa (1990). In addition, he has edited or co-edited various volumes, such as Looking Back, Reaching Forward: Reflections on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa (2000, with Wilhelm Verwoerd), and The Provocations of Amnesty: Memory, Justice, and Impunity (2003, with Erik Doxtader).
In 2000, he established the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation. Dedicated to encouraging peaceful transitions within a democratic context, the institute facilitates dialogue both within South Africa and abroad, encouraging cooperation between groups that have been divided by social conflicts. In 2008, the Institute was awarded UNESCO's Prize for Peace Education, "for its outstanding efforts in building sustainable reconciliation through education and in addressing systematic injustice in Africa."
Villa-Vicencio first came to Georgetown in 1988, as a distinguished lecturer on South Africa. In 1990, he was a visiting fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center, and he later served as a research fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. He has also held academic appointments as professor of religion and society at the University of Cape Town and been head of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of South Africa.