Bonnie Abaunza has dedicated her life to humanitarian work, human rights and social justice advocacy. She presently consults for the United Nations agency, the International Labour Organization, assisting with outreach to the entertainment community. She helped launch the ILO’s artist engagement program, Artworks (http://www.iloartworks.org) and spearheaded their End Slavery Now and Red Card to Child Labour campaigns. She is currently cultivating artists and athletes for the ILO’s Goodwill Ambassador Program that will launch in June, and is working on campaigns focusing on forced labour, green jobs and youth employment, and supply chains in the garment industry.
From 2009-2014, Bonnie led the Special Projects & Philanthropy division for Academy Award winning composer, Hans Zimmer. Her initiatives included raising humanitarian aid for Haiti, Pakistan and Japan for International Medical Corps, and working with Madeleine Albright and the National Democratic Institute to advocate for the disenfranchised Romani people in Europe. She launched a successful online advocacy effort with Elizabeth Warren for passage of the Dodd-Frank Bill and the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She brought in industry networks and resources to support John Prendergast and ENOUGH Project in their work on conflict minerals in the Congo, supported the efforts of Al Gore and the Alliance for Climate Protection, hosted President Jose Ramos-Horta to raise awareness about international aid for East Timor, and produced public service announcements and viral videos for numerous human rights campaigns.
Prior to joining Hans Zimmer’s company in 2009, Bonnie served as Vice President, Social Action and Advocacy at Participant Media. She developed social action campaigns to promote the documentaries and feature films produced by Participant Media. Utilizing her expertise in both human rights and artist relations to develop and execute international campaigns, she identified and worked collaboratively with non-governmental organizations, foundations, think tanks, socially responsible businesses and educational institutions to offer viewers of Participant’s films opportunities to engage in pressing social issues. In executing the campaigns, she successfully coordinated the actions of activists, educators, artists, athletes and other celebrities. She spearheaded advocacy efforts that included lobbying state legislatures, the United States Congress and the United Nations.
She managed campaign budgets, oversaw the production and distribution of public service announcements, and the funding and distribution of curricula to educators domestically and internationally.
Before joining Participant Media, Bonnie served as Director of the Artists for Amnesty program for Amnesty International from 2001 to 2007. As liaison to the artistic community for the world’s leading human rights organization, she utilized an extensive network of film industry contacts and internationally recognized artists and entertainment industry professionals to raise Amnesty’s profile in the entertainment industry and the visibility of human rights campaigns with the public. During her tenure, she co-produced four film festivals, four Academy Awards viewing parties to benefit Amnesty, produced quarterly entertainment industry salons and more than 50 feature and documentary screening events, fundraisers and art exhibits. She worked on numerous high profile campaigns including blood diamonds, human trafficking and slavery, ending rape as a tool of war, rehabilitation of child soldiers, justice for the murdered women of Juarez, ending small arms trafficking, protecting the rights of indigenous peoples, and other global issues. Working closely with the Human Rights Education program director, she helped develop high school curricula for the films Blood Diamond, Hotel Rwanda, Rabbit Proof Fence, Born into Brothels, The Constant Gardener, and Lord of War.
Artists for Amnesty ambassadors and supporters included: Salma Hayek, Jennifer Lopez, Nicolas Cage, Halle Berry, Mira Sorvino, Patrick Stewart, Benicio del Toro, Don Cheadle, Leonardo diCaprio, Jennifer Connelly, Djimon Hounsou, Ryan Gosling, Oliver Stone, Hans Zimmer, Paul Greengrass, America Ferrera, Charlize Theron, Tom Morello, Gregory Nava, Patricia Arquette, Yoko Ono, Geoffrey Rush, Phillip Noyce, Martin Sheen, Antonio Banderas, Emma Thompson and others. Artists for Amnesty events have been covered by the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, London Telegraph, Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, TIME, People Magazine, US weekly, Variety, Billboard, Hollywood Reporter and international publications and news networks.
Bonnie has held key positions in the development, funding and production of numerous videos and documentaries to benefit NGOs, including: Producer of PSAs for the ILO’s campaigns on child labour, forced labour and HIV/Aids; Executive Producer of the documentary Free Shane & Josh (about the imprisonment of three American hikers in Iran); Producer of Got A New Sheriff (Elizabeth Warren video); Producer Who Are The Roma (video for the National Democratic Institute); Associate Producer of 3 Points (NBA star Tracy McGrady documentary about his mission to the Darfuri refugee camps in Chad).
She has received commendations for her human rights work from the United States Congress and from the City of Los Angeles. She received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Unlikely Heroes, Women in Leadership Award from the City of West Hollywood, Global Champion Award from the International Medical Corps., KCET Local Hero/Hispanic Heritage Award, and was named Goodwill Ambassador to the Government of East Timor (appointed by President and Nobel Peace Laureate, Jose Ramos-Horta). She is a Senior Non-Resident Fellow for Enough Project’s Fellows Program, is a Board member of the ACLU Foundation (Southern California), a Board member of thecommunity.com and Chairman of the Advisory Board of thecommunity.com’s Human Rights Campaign.
Bonnie graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with specialization in International Relations. She is fluent in Spanish.