Inducted December 21, 2014
"An Honour won is a promise of more."
(Old French Proverb)
On 21 December, Louise Carvalho will be inducted into the Comox Valley Walk of Achievement. Delighted with the honour, she says “As an immensely proud former resident of the Comox Valley I am just thrilled to find my name permanently embedded in the public pavement”.
She credits her childhood in the Comox Valley for her great grounding for all she has achieved in her International career. Anyone who knew Louise in those early years will also know that she has always strived to do her best whether it was at school or in extra-curricular activities.
In 1975, Lui and Sheila Carvalho decided to emigrate from England, in part because they felt that Canada would give their two children Louise and Simon better opportunities.
Louise praises her parents and her brother for all the encouragement they have given her.
She also has high praise for the standards of excellence in School District 71 believing that she was given the best education that she could have had to reach her goals. She started grade 2 at Comox Elementary and in grade 7 was awarded the “Triple-A Award” for the top All-Round Student. Later, at Robb Road middle school, she won the school’s Music Award and Athletics’ Award.
As a young Girl Guide, she was presented her “All Round Cord” by her maternal Grandmother who was an active member of Girl Guiding in Great Britain. In those years, she also took part in the Christ the King Parish youth activities.
During her years at Highland Senior Secondary, she initiated a school-wide recycling programme and actively participated in the school’s theatre productions and sports teams. In her graduating year, she was elected School President at the beginning of the year and Co-Valedictorian for her graduating class at the end of the year. At graduation, she was awarded the School’s prestigious Osler Shield “Triple” Award for the top All-Round Student and was the North Island’s recipient of the British Columbia Premier’s Award for Excellence.
Always active in sports, she particularly enjoys field hockey, tennis, skiing, rock climbing and kayaking.
Louise studied piano for many years in the Valley, under Ruth Williams and Miriam Lancaster, eventually completing her Grade 8 Toronto Conservatory level.
When embarking on her post-secondary studies, Louise enrolled in the International Relations department at UBC where she co-authored a new edition of a popular handbook entitled, “Global Pursuits: Career Opportunities in International Relations” a book that was sold to University students and High Schools throughout the province.
After her Bachelor of Arts graduation in 1992, she was one of 20 Canadian students chosen to take part in an extensive development study tour of India. That same year, she was awarded a $25,000 Rotary International Graduate Ambassadorial Scholarship, which enabled her to spend a year of studies at the “Institut d’Etudes Politque” in Grenoble, France where she immersed herself in the French language and culture and made profound connections with the local people and international students.
She completed her law degree at the University of Calgary, including one semester of study in international law at the University of Copenhagen. When she graduated with her Bachelor of Laws in 1995, Louise was honoured with the Legal History Prize and the Howard Tidswell Memorial Award in Law for academic achievement, public spiritedness and integrity.
After graduation from Law School, she completed her legal Articles at the Ministry of Attorney General, Legal Services Branch in Victoria, followed by a further three years as a Barrister in the Constitutional Law division. In 2000, yearning for new adventures, she moved to London, England to work for the global firm, Arthur Anderson.
In 2001, Louise accepted an unexpected offer to work in Kosovo as a United Nations Volunteer in the legal department of the UN’s Interim Mission in Kosovo. She subsequently served as a Legal Adviser to the European Union Economic Development organization in Kosovo, and to the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, “EULEX” before saying goodbye to Kosovo in 2011.
Louise loves the challenge of learning new languages. During her years in Kosovo she recognized the importance of conversing with the local people, so she became proficient in Albanian just as she had learnt Danish while studying in Denmark.
Like her mother, she has a great love for animals. While in Kosovo, she helped with the rescue and housing of stray dogs. A group of European Veterinarians set up a Kosovo Dog Shelter where Louise would help by feeding and walking the dogs as well as fund raising for their care. Eventually, she adopted street two dogs whom she brought home to her parents in Comox, and later two stray cats, whom she kept with her when her mission in Kosovo ended.
More recently, she worked from 2012 to 2014 in the Legal Office of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, based in The Hague, which was awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize. Louise feels privileged to have worked for the OPCW particularly during that period, just as she had the privilege to work with the United Nations and the European Union, when those Organizations were also awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 and 2012, respectively.
In October 2014, Louise began working in Geneva as a Legal Adviser at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, whose physicists earned the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2013.
While her professional area of practice is International Administrative Law, Louise has found that while working in developing countries and on international development related matters, she has had the most extraordinary experiences and made lifelong friendships.
We'd like to acknowledge the Comox Valley Echo (Judy Hagen, Hunt For History) for her research and articles about these Comox Valley Walk of Achievement Honourees.