November 29, 2017 at 4:59 pm EST | by Peter Rosenstein
Comings & Goings
Ryan Ubuntu Olson, Comings & Goings, gay news, Washington Blade

The ‘Comings & Goings’ column chronicles important life changes of Blade readers.

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at

Ryan Ubuntu Olson, gay news, Washington Blade

Ryan Ubuntu Olson

Congratulations to Ryan Ubuntu Olson named to the Clinton Global Initiative University Honor Roll. According to CGI, Ryan was “recognized at the 10th Annual CGI University Meeting in Boston, Mass., in October. The CGI U Honor Roll recognizes individuals dedicating their lives to taking on complex local and global challenges and finding new ways to make the world a better place. Ryan was recognized for his decade of work surrounding global LGBTI human rights.”

President Bill Clinton launched CGI U in 2007 to engage the next generation of leaders on college campuses around the world. While recognizing Ryan and the other honorees President Clinton said, “Each of these alumni brings unique skills and experiences. Some have been working on this for almost as long as we’ve been having CGI U. We hope by letting you see them, and I hope you will learn about their commitments, but they really are admirable people because they’ve stayed at the task. In other words, being a social entrepreneur, being someone committed to the work we are doing here, is now an ordinary part of their lives. Whether they do it full time or part time, they do it all the time and that’s what the world needs. Every young person needs to make a commitment that in the 21st century, the definition of citizenship requires us all to do this kind of work.”

Olson traveled to Kenya for his International Public Service Project developing LGBTI human rights training for CSOs, law enforcement officers, health care providers, and other LGBTI activists throughout the country. For his Capstone project, he worked for a non-governmental organization doing advocacy work at the United Nations in New York around LGBTI human rights protections.

Since he graduated in 2011, he has been a Senior Associate for Health, HIV, and Gender and Sexual Diversity at Palladium Group. Recently he co-designed a gender and sexual diversity training program for the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief that has been delivered to more than 3,000 staff as well as implementing partners in 39 countries.

On receiving this award, Olson said, “To be recognized for the work I’ve dedicated my life to means more to me than anyone might be able to know. To be given a platform to discuss the importance of addressing gender and sexual diversity throughout the world alongside these global game changers was the real reward.”

Congratulations also to Stephen Bennett who became vice chair of the board of Save the Chimps. Save the Chimps is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing permanent sanctuary for the lifelong care of chimpanzees rescued from research laboratories, the entertainment industry, and the pet trade.

Many of us know Bennett from his other work. He is a board member of The California Endowment with a focus on improving the health of the citizens of California. He is a member of the board of the Arcus Foundation, whose work includes a focus on civil rights and social justice for the LGBTQI community in the U.S. and internationally.

He was CEO of AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) where he was credited with saving the agency from bankruptcy and building a strong financial base that allowed him to build the nation’s second largest AIDS service provider with a strong, influential board. He established APLA as a national model for charitable events and public awareness.

Stephen Bennett

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