Virginia Benson

Senior Executive Advisor

vbenson [at] ikedacenter.org

As Senior Executive Advisor, Ginny works part-time at the Center, using her decades of experience to help support and advance the Center’s books, public programs, and other activities as needed. She was the first executive director from the Center’s founding in 1993 until June of 2009, a senior fellow at the Center until early 2017, and then executive director again until January 1, 2021. Prior to her work with the Ikeda Center, Ginny helped to found a Boston-based public policy institute that commissioned independent scholarly studies on state and local policies in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. She also worked as managing editor of a legislative newsletter in the US House of Representatives, as a financial analyst in the US Treasury Department, and as an urban policy aide in the Carter White House. She earned a BA in English literature from Stanford University and a Masters degree in U.S. Area Studies from the University of London, with a concentration in economic history at the London School of Economics. She loves walking in nature with friends and reading widely.

Ginny’s favorite quote about our work comes from a reflection on our third core conviction contributed to our website by Megan Laverty of Teachers College, Columbia University.

Maintaining our faith in people’s potential for goodness involves using ordinary words as instruments of learning. Put differently, we describe others as sweet, considerate, playful, tactful, courageous, dignified and generous in an effort to discover what these words really mean.

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