As Vice President for Africa Programmes with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International (DFGFI), Juan Carlos Bonilla provides overall leadership and supervision for all the field programmes of this storied conservation institution. Funded in 1978 by Dr. Fossey as the Digit Fund, and renamed in her honor in 1992, DFGFI is dedicated to the conservation and protection of gorillas and their habitats in Africa. DFGFI continues to operate Dr. Fosseys Karisoke Research Centre in the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda over 40 years after she established it and has also an extensive programme in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Born in Antigua, Guatemala, in 1972, Juan Carlos has been involved in conservation and sustainable development projects since his teens. He has almost 20 years of experience setting up successful projects and programmes for biodiversity conservation, community development and sustainable tourism in challenging multicultural environments in Latin America, Africa Madagascar and globally.
Juan Carlos led Conservation Internationals (CI) ecotourism programme in Guatemala in the 1990s. After stints in Madagascar and South Africa, he established CIs Central Africa Programme in 2003 and served as its first Senior Director, with projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, and Equatorial Guinea. Later he became an international consultant leading projects in Africa and Latin America, including the recent design of the innovative Indigenous Peoples Climate Action Fund (IPCAF) for First Peoples Worldwide and the World Bank.
He earned an MBA from Edinburgh Business School (Heriot Watt University, Scotland) and recently completed work for an MSc in organizational research from the Universit Nice Sophia Antpolis-UNSA (France). He is currently working on his dissertation in a combined doctoral program towards a PhD at UNSA and a DBA at the International University of Mnaco (Montecarlo, Mnaco).