22nd April 2015
It is with great sadness that we learned today of the death of Valerie DeFillipo. All of us in the Coalition – from staff in our Secretariat to those across our global membership – have lost a friend, colleague, and valiant, tireless advocate for the cause of sexual and reproductive health and rights. Valerie embodied the courage, political savvy, and optimism necessary to work continually for positive change. We will always remember Valerie as a passionate champion of our issues, having led this work on both sides of the Atlantic, here in Europe as the former Director of External Affairs at IPPF London and more recently as FP2020’s Founding Executive Director.
For me personally, Valerie’s passing has special meaning. She was there, as a member of our governing body, when I assumed my post as the Coalition’s first Director; and I was there, as a member of FP2020’s governing body, when she became its first Executive Director. While we occasionally debated specifics, we recognized in each other the abiding and fundamental value we placed in sexual and reproductive health and rights. We recognized intuitively the challenges that come with giving form to a vision, and the ever present uncertainty as to what might lie ahead. Valerie’s strong presence in our field had ended much too quickly, but the success and enthusiasm that surround FP2020 today remain as an enduring testament to her work and her dedication.
There is still so much to be done if the FP2020 vision Valerie shared with us is to be realized. Inspired by the trademark passion Valerie always showed, let us put our shoulders to the wheel for her, and for the world’s poorest communities struggling with unmet need.
Director, Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition
Messages of condolences will be shared with her family and can be sent to RememberingValerie@familyplanning2020.org.