Simona Beltrami, Consulting Associate
Much like today, in the mid 1990s Italy’s job market did not have much to offer to young graduates, so Simona packed her degree in Political Science in her suitcase and moved to London.
Combining her grassroots activism, academic qualifications and language skills, she knocked at the doors of Amnesty International’s International Secretariat, where she worked her way up from intern to Assistant Press Officer and, eventually, Press Officer for the Americas. In the Amnesty years, she was lucky enough to be involved in the exciting work following the detention of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in London; was responsible for the visibility of the organization’s work in the Americas; developed regional and national media strategies; produced media materials and coached colleagues and Amnesty sections across the world in their media work. Her extensive travel in the region provided her with first-hand experience of the realities of politics and media relations in Latin America, including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico.
Back in Italy, Simona embraced all-round advocacy coordinating for three years the Italian Campaign to Ban Landmines. Through this work, she developed a knowledge of disarmament and humanitarian issues and mechanisms, became familiar with the challenges faced by smaller NGO working to mobilize public opinion and resources on humanitarian issues and with the potential offered by large international advocacy networks such as the International Campaign to Ban Landines (ICBL).
Building on this experience, Simona later became Advocacy Director at the ICBL, a role combining high-level government lobbying (including participating in the diplomatic process culminating in the adoption of the Convention on Cluster Munitions), working closely with grassroots campaigners and landmine survivors, and overseeing the organization’s communication functions. Although the focus of the work was global, ranging from Afghanistan to the US, from Poland to the Gulf states, her knowledge of Latin America came in handy with intensive work on Colombia, Peru and Ecuador and the establishment of a network of Latin American campaigners.
In more recent years, Simona has gone back to her “first love”: human rights and Latin America, taking up a consultancy with the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) in a EU-funded project promoting access to justice for vulnerable groups Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica and Paraguay. In this context, Simona developed a working methodology consisting in working closely with communities (be they disenfranchised youth from impoverished backgrounds, migrant women victims of violence or the urban poor) and empowering them to develop their own rights-awareness campaigns .
As of April 2014, Simona is also helping IDLO develop strategies to leverage on its work in Latin America to increase the organization’s brand visibility and forge new partnerships in the region.
Simona brings to Foot in the Door Consulting over 15 years of experience in media, communications, advocacy and strategy roles in cross-cultural contexts; a deep understanding of the complexities of Latin America; and fluency in Spanish.