Atlas Corps celebrates its 15th anniversary! It is time to celebrate the achievements of our amazing network of over 1,000 leaders from 105 countries and share stories on the global impact of our Alumni, Fellows, and Scholars.

Today we speak with our Scholar Victor Rujano Bautista from our Virtual Leadership Institute (Cohort 1, Venezuela). Victor currently works as the Director at CIMAS, a nonprofit organization, where he is leading the organization’s projects and activities, communications and its representation both locally and internationally.

Thank you, Victor, for your work in promoting sustainability, human rights, and especially the rights of indigenous communities in Venezuela. We appreciate learning about your activism work and your personal and professional growth. We wish you the best with this impactful work!

Name: Victor Rujano Bautista

Home Country: Venezuela

Current Organization: CIMAS

Role at current organization: Director

Social Issues that you have worked with: Reduced inequalities, Sustainable cities and communities, Partnerships for the goals


Tell us about projects you have worked on?

We started 6 years ago, offering legal advice to members of local indigenous communities, and since then we’ve been involved in activism, promoting campaigns and events related to sustainability, human rights, and especially the rights of indigenous communities, despite the difficulties that we face in Venezuela as a non-governmental organization.

Also, last year I partnered with other local social entrepreneurs to launch a new initiative that we have called “Gente Que Emprende”, where we pledged to develop virtual content and tools to train and support up and coming entrepreneurs to successfully carry out their initiatives and projects, in face of adversity within the current national context. We’ve partnered with the State Alumni Venezuela Chapter Zulia and the Venezuelan-American Center in the Zulia state where I live in, and hundreds of local entrepreneurs have already benefited from our content. I am in charge of the planning and moderation of all the virtual events.

Why is it important for you to work with environmental and human rights projects?

For me, working on environmental issues, Human rights and social entrepreneurship, is a passion. All the experiences and learnings from my childhood, all the values that my family taught me, the learnings during law school and my professional experience have led me to where I am today.

I struggled to find the right path for myself. To be completely honest, ten years ago I wasn’t sure about the right career path to follow, and now I can say that every success and misstep was a lesson to me. Ultimately, I understood that I had a calling for social leadership, that I enjoy the work better when it has a purpose for my family, my community, my country. And the social issues I’ve been working on, really resonate with that sense of purpose.

Collaboration CODHEZ & CIMAS Environmental Education for Youth 2019

How has the Virtual Leadership Institute contributed to your professional and personal accomplishments?

Being a part of the Virtual Leadership Institute’s first cohort, and specially during this pandemic, has been one of the best experiences I’ve had in the last years. Getting involved in this incredible network of leaders from all across the world, having the chance to know their initiatives and projects, and specially working together in our group coaching sessions, have inspired me to move forward with my projects despite the adverse circumstances. I have received motivation, inspiration and the realization of my own potential.

What is your favorite Virtual Leadership Institute memory?

All the activities of the Virtual Leadership Institute have been truly amazing, but what I’ve enjoyed the most are the video calls with my coaching group. Developing a leadership project alongside scholars from Algeria, Palestine and Nigeria is something that I’d have never expected, and the feedback that I got from them and our coach every session really encourages me to keep doing my best and striving for success. The opportunity to exchange with my coaching group is definitely something I’ll never forget, and I’ll always be grateful for it.

Entrepreneurship training in Maracaibo – January 2020

What message would you have for applicants and/or current Fellows/Scholars??

To the applicants, I’d say that the opportunity to be a part of the Atlas Corps family is one of a kind, and even if you’re not selected, keep trying if your heart is on it. To the current fellows and scholars, I’d like to say that don’t take this opportunity for granted, so get involved, be proactive, do your assignments and enjoy the ride, because it will propel your career and your vision for your current and future projects. And please, do not underestimate our potential to create change in our communities!

What message would you like to send to individuals who support Atlas Corps?

Please keep supporting Atlas Corps, thanks to you, we (the scholars and fellows)benefit of incredible opportunities for learning and exchanging ideas and experiences, which we all apply to our individual projects in our respective countries, to create the changes we need.

On November 20, Atlas Corps celebrates 15 years of engaging social change leaders. Join us to honor our legacy of service with more than 1,000 leaders from 105 countries at the Atlas Corps 15-Year Anniversary Gala. We will convene friends of Atlas Corps from all sectors and regions of the world to reflect on 15 years of engaging social changemakers and inspire towards our future. Join to connect with our community, meet Fellows, and celebrate Atlas Corps!

 Photo from the personal archive of Victor Rujano Bautista