Simone Ovart

Simone Ovart, NGO CSW Geneva President 2015-2018

“What we once enjoyed and loved we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes part of us,” Helen Keller.

With deep regret we are sharing the sad news of the passing Simone Ovart on 9 January 2019.  All of us from the NGO Committee on the Status of Women, Geneva have regrettably lost one of our own; a bright light of compassion and distinction.  Her commitment to the Committee through her leadership, current Bureau Advisor, Past-President, Committee Chair and overall influencer and leader, reveals a lifetime of dedication to advancing the status of women and girls.

Remembering Simone brings us strength, ignites compassion and reminds us that all things are possible.  She will be deeply missed and may you Rest in Peace, dear Simone.   Our Committee’s deepest condolences and prayers go out to Simone’s family, friends and Zonta colleagues.


Most sincerely,

NGO CSW, Geneva Bureau

Stacy Dry Lara

Carolyn Handschin

Anne Riz

Angela Sauvage

Claudia Williams

Paula Daeppen



A message from Claudia Williams, NGO CSW Geneva Secretary

I was deeply saddened to learn today of Simone’s passing.  She was a vibrant, strong woman, to whom many have looked for leadership and friendship.  I join the many women of CSW and Zonta who especially feel this loss, and together are mourning her passing.

I served as secretary of CSW-Geneva during the last year of Simone’s tenure as president.  One of the highlights of our time together was observing her work on the Forum on Women and Global Migration, which she masterminded.  She personally knew many influential UN leaders, and was able to suggest many speakers, including the Director General of the UN and several prominent Ambassadors.  Under her leadership, the CSW Bureau worked to provide panelists qualified to explore the root causes of migration and to suggest innovative solutions.  The Forum was very well attended and successfully met its goal of bringing to light important ways migrant women themselves can bring about change.  Given her deep concern for the plight of migrant women, it must have been especially satisfying to Simone to inspire further progress in an area where much improvement is needed.



A message from Carolyn Handschin, NGO CSW Geneva Vice President

I was so shocked and very sorry to hear of the passing of Simone. It was just a few months ago that she was leading the NGO Committee on the Status of Women in Geneva with such vitality. I feel a very personal closeness to her. We sometimes met as members of the Committee at Conchita’s home in the past. We would spend hours in the garden drinking tea while discussing issues, planning events and writing statements. She would always drive all the way from Turin for these meetings and I would think how important she feels this is. She was very strong, focused and caring, about the larger issues and also about the team. 
 It was because of Simone that I recently re-joined the Committee and I feel very grateful to her for that. She very warmly invited me little more than a year ago to join her and several other members to organize the Migration Forum. For several months, we communicated almost daily and her high expectations and strong leadership guided the process, especially getting confirmation from some of the key speakers. I often thought that she must’ve been very good in her professional experience as a business leader and entrepreneur.
I personally and surely we all, as the NGO Committee on the Status of Women are very grateful to have shared important times with her and benefitted from her knowledge, experience and love.
Thank you Simone!