Béatrice Luvwefwa was born in 1948 in Mbulu-Nkanda, a village in the Kwango Region in the Southeastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Her father, Butsidi Ilenda, was a leather worker, and her mother, Anne Kalongo, was a traditional healer. Béatrice met her husband, an American working as a volunteer with the Mennonite Church, in early 1972 and moved to New Haven, Connecticut. She went on to receive a BA in political science magna cum laude and a Masters in Public Administration and Policy from UMASS Amherst.
She has worked as a consultant for the World Health Organization and the International Labor Office, in Geneva, Switzerland. She is the mother of three children, Howard, 31, Mbambu, 28, and Aimée, 21, and the author of Silent Victims in the UN Bureaucracy (1997).