Virginia Benson

Senior Research Fellow

vbenson [at]

Ginny was executive director of the Center for sixteen years, from its founding in 1993 to June 2009. Since then, as senior fellow she has supported the Center’s programs as needed while researching various aspects of the Center’s history, presenting the Center’s work at international conferences on the founder’s philosophy, and serving on the Center’s Education Fellows Advisory Council and its Board of Directors. 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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