Scholarship Partner founders and leaders 

Juan portait

Juan de Dios García Xajil

Director General of ADIVIMA, Rabinal, Guatemala

Mr. García has been the General Director of ADIVIMA (Association for the Holistic Development of the Victims of the Violence in the Verapaces, Maya Achí) for 19 years. His efforts have focused on achieving justice for the surviving families of the acts of genocide and serious human rights violations committed during 36 years of civil war in Guatemala. Also he is General Coordinator of Communities Affected by the Construction of the Chixoy Hydroelectric Dam (COCAHICH) in Guatemala. 

Mr. García has been a member of negotiators representing the victims before the Guatemalan government for the creation of a National Reparation Program (PNR) in favor of the survivors of the internal armed conflict. At the same time he served as the Commissioner of the National Compensation Commission for two years.

He was the negotiator representing 33 indigenous communities over 10 years with the government of Guatemala to obtain a Plan of Reparations on behalf of thousands of surviving families of serious violations of human rights during the construction of the Chixoy hydroelectric dam.

For his principles and ideals in the struggle in pursuit of justice, Mr. García was persecuted and criminalized by the Guatemalan state.

Mr. García has been successful at both national and international levels in obtaining economic sanctions against the Guatemalan government until they complete the Reparation Plan in favor of the survivors of serious human rights violations during the construction of the Chixoy hydroelectric dam.


Rev. Peter Morales

Former President of the Unitarian Universalist Association

"Without the Guatemala Scholarship Program these Mayan youngsters, especially the girls, would face a future devoid of hope and opportunity. This program is a touching example of what a few dedicated volunteers can do to change lives. It is also an example of what we can do when we partner with others. This, truly, is faith in action."

Peter was Senior Minister of Jefferson Unitarian Church in Colorado at the inception of the scholarship program. He was instrumental in forging a partnership between the UU Service Committee and Jefferson Unitarian to provide experiential learning for his congregants. With the leadership of Charlie Clements, UUSC President, Jefferson Unitarian became the first UU church to send its own delegation to visit UUSC human rights partners in Guatemala. Delegations from other churches followed and each trip has been tremendously influential in the global human rights awareness of its congregants. The scholarship program was originally promoted by Peter as a way for the congregation to provide long term support for a struggling community. 

Charlie portrait

Charlie Clements

Former Executive Director of the Harvard Kennedy School Carr Center for Human Rights Policy

Former President of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

Charlie has been deeply involved in human rights in Central America since the 1970's. He worked as a physician in El Salvador in communities that were being attacked by government forces. Later he led numerous congressional delegations to Central America to educate them about US involvement which led to the atrocities of the civil wars. 

As president of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee from 2003 to 2010 he led congregational delegations to Central America to meet the human rights activists that he had worked with for many years and who, like ADIVIMA, are still seeking justice for the crimes committed against the civilian population.

It was on these delegations that Jefferson Unitarian and UU Church of Arlington met Juan de Dios of ADIVIMA and established the partnership that led to the creation of the scholarship program.

Phyllis Morales

Coordinator of the scholarship program

Phyllis Morales was a founding member of the  committee at Jefferson Unitarian Church in Golden, Colorado, to support the indigenous youth of the Maya Achí people in Guatemala.  Now 10 years later and still involved in this program, more than 40 young people in Guatemala have received the equivalent of a high school diploma and 60 attend middle and high school every year. 

She is an activist promoting intercultural exchanges between the Maya Achí culture and the North American culture through arranging and guiding delegations to Guatemala. Visiting the homes and families of the students has been an extraordinary experience for visitors and the students.