Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is pleased to congratulate our former president Ken Hackett on his nomination to be the United States Ambassador to the Holy See in the Vatican.
Catholic Relief Services’ current president & CEO, Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo, said, “Ken’s dedication to the poorest and most vulnerable on behalf of the Church, and through programs often sponsored by the US Government, reflects his ability to engage both sectors in serving those in need in highly complicated environments. He led the agency with distinction in some of the most challenging humanitarian responses.”
Hackett was president of the overseas humanitarian agency from 1993 until his retirement in 2011. A graduate of Boston College in his hometown, Hackett served in the Peace Corps in Ghana before joining CRS in 1972 in Sierra Leone. He held positions in Asia, Africa and at headquarters in Baltimore before being named president.
Strengthening ties with the Church, both in the United States and at the Vatican, was one of the themes of Hackett’s tenure at the helm of CRS. Under his leadership, the agency renewed its spiritual core even as it grew into one of the largest non-governmental aid agencies in the United States with a budget that exceeded $800 million.
Hackett led the agency through major emergencies like Hurricane Mitch in the late 1990s, multiple famines in Africa, the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 and the Haiti earthquake in 2010, as well as shepherding a major initiative to provide lifesaving medication to people with AIDS in the developing world. Under Mr. Hackett’s leadership, CRS went through a major institutional transformation. Following the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, which occurred shortly after the agency began efforts to clarify its mission and identity, CRS incorporated a justice-centered focus in all its programming, using Catholic social teaching as a guide.
Hackett was on the board of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the Congressionally-mandated independent development agency, from 2004 to 2010. He was also North American Vice President of Caritas Internationalis from 1996 to 2004, and a member of Cor Unum, the Vatican body that oversees the Church’s charitable work, from 1996 to 2011. He has received numerous honorary degrees.
Since leaving CRS, Hackett was named a consultant to the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Global Development.
Photos of Ken Hackett are available to the media for download. Password = photos