Team

Headed by Pope Francis, the Migrants & Refugees Section helps the Church to accompany Refugees, those who are Forced to Migrate or Victims of Human Trafficking.

Our Team

H.Em. Card Michael CzernyUnder-Secretary

H.Em. Card Michael CzernyUnder-Secretary

Languages: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish

Get in Touch

H.Em. Card. Michael Czerny S.J. joined the Jesuit Order in 1963 and was ordained a Catholic Priest in 1973. He has worked in social justice ministry in Canada, Central America, Africa — principally on human rights, health, peace, ecology, AIDS. Since 2010 in the Vatican, he now focuses on migrants and refugees. A good writer and speaker in several languages, he works to make connections, especially with the Church, and help others to cooperate. On 1 September 2019, Pope Francis announced he would make him a cardinal on 5 October 2019. The Holy Father consecrated Michael Czerny a bishop on 4 October, making him titular archbishop of Benevento. On 5 October 2019, Pope Francis made him Cardinal Deacon of San Michele Arcangelo, Rome.

fr fabio baggio profile picture Migrants and Refugees

Fr. Fabio BaggioUnder-Secretary

Fr. Fabio BaggioUnder-Secretary

Languages: Italian, English, Spanish

Get in Touch

Fr. Fabio Baggio, is a missionary priest of the Scalabrinian Congregation. He obtained a Baccalaureate in Theology as well as  a Licentiate and Ph.D. in Church History at the Pontifical Gregorian University. In his first years of mission, Fr. Baggio served as advisor for migrations to the Chilean Bishops’ Conference and as Director of the Department for Migration in the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires. He has taught in different universities in Europe, Latin America and Asia. From 2002 to 2010, he was Director of the Scalabrini Migration Center (SMC) in Quezon City (Philippines) and editor of “Asian and Pacific Migration Journal.” In 2010, he was appointed Director of the Scalabrini International Migration Institute (SIMI), incorporated into the Pontifical Urban University in Rome. He has been Under-Secretary of the Refugees and Migrants Section of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development since 1 January 2017.

flaminia Migrants and Refugees

Flaminia VolaRegional Coordinator - Western Europe

Flaminia VolaRegional Coordinator - Western Europe

Languages: Italian, English

Get in Touch

Flaminia Vola is Italian and has a background in social anthropology and a master’s degree in International Cooperation. She has been working in development cooperation for more than 15 years, mainly focusing on sustainable development policies linked to human mobility. She joined the M&R Section’s Staff in September 2017 and “building bridges” is the goal she pursues with dedication. Flaminia is a passionate traveller and lover of the mountains. She is convinced that walking is the exercise that best enhances our human dimension, leading to meditation, gestures of brotherhood and spiritual closeness.

yuri Migrants and Refugees

Yuriy TykhovlisRegional Coordinator - Eastern Europe, Central Asia

Yuriy TykhovlisRegional Coordinator - Eastern Europe, Central Asia

Languages: English, Italian, Ukrainian, Russian

Get in Touch

Yuriy Tykhovlis is a Ukrainian lawyer and joined the M&R Section in May of 2017, after six years of work at the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. His academic background includes a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Law with a thesis on the relation between peace and justice in Thomas Aquinas and two LL.M. degrees in Commercial Law and Intellectual Property. He is passionate about research and the study of the issues related to migration. His main personal interests include the new evangelization through proactive position of the Church in all dimensions of public and social life, migration and peace, and the prevention of human trafficking.

Fr. Avelino Chico, SJRegional Coordinator - Africa

Fr. Avelino Chico, SJRegional Coordinator - Africa

Languages: Spanish, Portuguese, French, English, Italian

Get in Touch

Fr. Avelino Chico, SJ is a Jesuit from Angola. He joined in the Order in 2002 and was ordained to the priesthood in 2014. He holds a Ph.D. in International Migration and Development Cooperation from the Pontifical University of Comillas in Madrid, Spain. He taught at the Catholic University of Angola and the Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Relações Internacionais (CIS). Currently, Fr. Avelino is part of the Coordination team for Africa.

Mário AlmeidaAssistant Regional Coordinator - Africa

Mário AlmeidaAssistant Regional Coordinator - Africa

Languages: Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, French, English

Get in Touch

Mário Almeida was born in Mozambique and is of Portuguese nationality. He has studied (philosophy, theology, social ethics) and worked in several countries on three continents. Mário has worked as a translator, and since early 2019 has been a member of the Coordination team for Africa in the Migrants and Refugees Section.

pascale Migrants and Refugees

Pascale DebbanéRegional Coordinator - Middle East

Pascale DebbanéRegional Coordinator - Middle East

Languages: English, French, Arabic

Get in Touch

Pascale Debbané is Lebanese, with her own experience as a migrant and refugee. Fleeing Lebanon towards the end of the fifteen-year war, her family chose Canada as a country of refuge. She then returned to her homeland and obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development & Psychology; and a Masters degree in Human Resources Management, in which she worked for ten years, covering the MENA region. As an active member of a catholic community, she decided to serve the Catholic Church, and helped organize the Golden Jubilee of the Charismatic Renewal, with the Holy Father in Rome. In November 2017, she joined the M&R Section as Regional Coordinator for the Middle East.

Fr Bob Migrants and Refugees

Fr. Robert Stark S.S.SRegional Coordinator - North America, Mexico, Central America, Caribbean

Fr. Robert Stark S.S.SRegional Coordinator - North America, Mexico, Central America, Caribbean

Languages: English, Spanish

Get in Touch

Fr. Robert Stark S.S.S. was ordained a priest of the Blessed Sacrament order in 1977. He has a Phd in Social Ethics from the University of Chicago.  He has worked extensively for social justice with migrant communities in the United States and Central America. He is currently the Director of the Office for Social Ministry in the Diocese of Honolulu, and joined the Migrants and Refugees in 2017.

Dylan CorbettAssistant Regional Coordinator - North America, Mexico, Central America, Caribbean

Dylan CorbettAssistant Regional Coordinator - North America, Mexico, Central America, Caribbean

Languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish

Get in Touch

In addition to his work at the Section, Dylan Corbett is the founding executive director of the Hope Border Institute, a Catholic human rights organization on the US-Mexico border. Dylan worked previously for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on issues on justice, peace and human development and also coordinated anti-poverty initiatives for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. He has worked in the international development and nonprofit sectors in the United States, Central America and South Asia, and has studied at the Catholic University of America and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. 

Diego profile picture Migrants and Refugees

Diego CarámbulaRegional Coordinator - South America

Diego CarámbulaRegional Coordinator - South America

Languages: Spanish, Portuguese, English

Get in Touch

Diego Carámbula is Uruguayan. In the field of migration, he was Director of Operations of the Scalabrini International Migration Network in New York, and director of the Center for Latin American Migratory Studies of Buenos Aires. He has obtained a Ph.D. in Business Administration at the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina and Ph.D. International Migration and Development Cooperation at Pontifical University of Comillas in Madrid, Spain. Diego is currently Regional Coordinator for South America of the Migrants and Refugees Section, since April 2017.

naoka Migrants and Refugees

Naoko MaruyamaRegional Coordinator - East Asia, Oceania

Naoko MaruyamaRegional Coordinator - East Asia, Oceania

Languages: English

Get in Touch

Naoko Maruyama is the Regional Coordinator for East and Southeast Asia of the Vatican’s Migrants and Refugees Section. She has a Master’s Degree in Migration and Development and a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations. She is Japanese-Filipina and spent her early years in Africa and Europe. Having lived and studied in nine countries across four continents, she has been involved in development, charity work, and social justice since a young age. Her exposure to various multicultural and multilingual environments has driven her passion and enthusiasm to work with people of all backgrounds, particularly those most vulnerable in society. Her studies and experience inspired her to work with migrants, refugees, victims of human trafficking, and all people on the move.

Andrea MarchesaniResearcher

Andrea MarchesaniResearcher

Languages: Italian, Spanish, English, French

Get in Touch

Andrea Marchesani is Italian and a member of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. He graduated in Political Science and International Relations at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan; his thesis was on military and humanitarian missions in North Africa, the Balkans, and the Middle East. He also has a masters degree in Business Management from the Regent’s University in London. Choosing the Universal Church over the private sector, he first served in the Permanent Mission of the Holy See at the United Nations Office in Geneva. He joined the M&R Section in September 2018, where he coordinates the Research Office and is in charge of multilateral affairs. He also serves as External Advisor for the Foreign Affairs Department of the Order of Malta regarding migration, human trafficking, issues in the digital world, and human rights.

Tea GamovicResearcher

Tea GamovicResearcher

Languages: Italian, English, Bosnian, French, Russian

Get in Touch

Tea Gamovic obtained a Master’s in Foreign Languages for International Relations at the Catholic University of Milan. The research for her thesis on the reception of asylum seekers in Italy exposed her profoundly to human growth: she encountered the faces and the stories, the hope and determination, of those who are often “invisible”. She joined the M&R Section in January 2020, becoming part of the Research Office, where her studies as well as her personal experience motivate her to work for encounter and multilateral cooperation, certain that borders are only “windows” and that integration is a shared responsibility.

Michele RobibaroResearcher

Michele RobibaroResearcher

Languages: Italian, English, Spanish

Get in Touch

Michele Robibaro is an Italian lawyer and former journalist who works in the research team of the M&R Section. He worked previously in the international office of the Jesuit Refugee Service as an assistant in advocacy, focusing mainly on internally displaced persons and refugees. His legal studies were in International Humanitarian Law. He also pursued studies on living integral ecology in dioceses and their surroundings. He firmly believes that a change of course is needed in our daily lives, which can lead to greater care for the planet and for our neighbours. Michele loves traveling and outdoor sports, particularly those in contact with nature.

Amaya ValcárcelResearcher

Amaya ValcárcelResearcher

Languages: English, Spanish, Italian, French, Khmer

Get in Touch

Amaya Valcarcel is a Spanish refugee lawyer. She first worked as a Protection Officer with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Spain and in Kakuma refugee camp, Northern Kenya. In 1998, she joined the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) as Policy Coordinator, focusing her work on the Great Lakes region of Africa and on South Asia, with missions to Rwanda, Burundi, and Sri Lanka. Between 2002 and 2003, she was the Coordinator of the master’s degree programme on Humanitarian Aid and Development Cooperation at the Pontifical University of Comillas in Madrid, Spain. Amaya worked in Cambodia between 2003 and 2005 at the Arrupe Center for People with a Disability. Between 2006 and 2008 she served as Secretary General at the Spanish Commission for Refugees. In 2009 she again joined the JRS, where she presently works as International Advocacy Officer; she has been seconded to the M&R Section since 2018. 

lidia Migrants and Refugees

Lidia MagniCommunications Manager

Lidia MagniCommunications Manager

Languages: Italian, English, French

Get in Touch

Lidia Magni is in charge of the Migrants & Refugees Section’s communications office. After obtaining a Degree in Communication, Lidia became a professional journalist and spent over 10 years reporting on the world through images and words. Fascinated by the Section’s work to promote the encounter with the other, she communicates the most positive aspects of the migratory phenomenon. A genuine believer in the truth, she describes the honesty and integrity of those who welcome and are welcomed, in her awareness that narrating the positive can help build a better world.

Beatrice BinaghiCommunication Officer

Beatrice BinaghiCommunication Officer

Languages: Italian, English, French

Get in Touch

Beatrice Binaghi is Italian and works for the Communication Office of the M&R Section. After a Master’s in Publishing and Journalism and working for an Italian Catholic broadcaster, she brought her enthusiasm to the M&R Section. Convinced that the narrative about migration can really change, as Pope Francis urges, she is committed every day to building communication strategies that use website and social media to reach the hearts of all and support the work of local churches as they welcome, protect, promote and integrate migrants and refugees around the world.

Sara BinaghiPrivate secretary and press secretary to Cardinal Michael Czerny, S.J.

Sara BinaghiPrivate secretary and press secretary to Cardinal Michael Czerny, S.J.

Languages: English, Italian, French

Get in Touch

Sara Binaghi has a Master’s in Marketing and Communications. She has worked with the M&R Section since 2019.
Since 2020 she has been the private secretary and press secretary to H.E. Card. Michael Czerny S.J.
An advocate of teamwork, she accepts challenges and new projects with joy and positivity.

Roberta LukuAdministrator

Roberta LukuAdministrator

Languages: Albanian, English, Italian

Get in Touch

Roberta Luku is Albanian and joined the M&R Section in October of 2019, after eight years of experience in a Catholic-based NGO focusing on youth advocacy and youth development strategies and programs. She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Speech Therapy. Powerfully inspired by the words of the Holy Father in his Message for the 106th World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2020 – “You have to know in order to understand. Knowledge is a necessary step towards understanding others.” – she is a strong believer that genuine encounter with ‘the other’ can break all barriers and can dissolve all prejudices. 

sr josepha Migrants and Refugees

Sr. Josepha M. GuillonAssistant of the Under-Secretaries

Sr. Josepha M. GuillonAssistant of the Under-Secretaries

Languages: English, Italian, French, Spanish

Get in Touch

Sr. Josepha is Canadian-French Sister of Jerusalem. She has a master’s degree in International Management and a degree in Theology. She has very much enjoyed working both with international development organisations such as CAFOD; Frères des Hommes; Secours Catholique; Caritas International Belgium; Development and Peace as well as in the Church (Archdiocese of Montreal, Apostolic Nunciature in Belgium and Luxembourg and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace). Sr. Josepha approaches her mission at the M&R Section with a spirit of enthusiasm and prayerfulness.

icon man Migrants and Refugees

Massimo BoiAdmin Assistant

Massimo BoiAdmin Assistant

Languages: Italian, English, French

Get in Touch

Massimo Boi, Italian, holds a degree in Engineering and has worked in the past for the former Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People. He now supports the Holy Father through his work for the Migrants and Refugees Section.