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

Fr. Fabio Baggio Photo

Fr. Fabio BaggioUnder-Secretary

Fr. Fabio BaggioUnder-Secretary

Languages: Italian, English, Spanish

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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.

H.Em. Card Michael Czerny Photo

H.Em. Card Michael CzernyUnder-Secretary

H.Em. Card Michael CzernyUnder-Secretary

Languages: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish

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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.

Mário Almeida Photo

Mário AlmeidaRegional Coordinator - Africa

Mário AlmeidaRegional Coordinator - Africa

Languages: Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, French, English

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.

Diego Carámbula Photo

Diego CarámbulaRegional Coordinator - South America

Diego CarámbulaRegional Coordinator - South America

Languages: Spanish, Portuguese, English

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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.

Fr. Avelino Chico, SJ Photo

Fr. Avelino Chico, SJRegional Coordinator - Africa

Fr. Avelino Chico, SJRegional Coordinator - Africa

Languages: Spanish, Portuguese, French, English

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.

Pascale Debbané Photo

Pascale DebbanéRegional Coordinator - Middle East

Pascale DebbanéRegional Coordinator - Middle East

Languages: English, French, Arabic

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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.

Naoko Maruyama Photo

Naoko MaruyamaRegional Coordinator - East Asia, Southeast Asia

Naoko MaruyamaRegional Coordinator - East Asia, Southeast Asia

Languages: English

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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.

Fr. Robert Stark S.S.S Photo

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

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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.

Yuriy Tykhovlis Photo

Yuriy TykhovlisRegional Coordinator - Eastern Europe, Central Asia

Yuriy TykhovlisRegional Coordinator - Eastern Europe, Central Asia

Languages: English, Italian, Ukrainian, Russian

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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.

Flaminia Vola Photo

Flaminia VolaRegional Coordinator - Western Europe

Flaminia VolaRegional Coordinator - Western Europe

Languages: Italian, English

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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.

Lidia Magni Photo

Lidia MagniCommunications Manager

Lidia MagniCommunications Manager

Languages: Italian, English, French

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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.

Massimo Boi Photo

Massimo BoiAdmin Assistant

Massimo BoiAdmin Assistant

Languages: Italian, English, French

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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.

Sr. Assunta Bridi Photo

Sr. Assunta BridiAdministrator

Sr. Assunta BridiAdministrator

Languages: Italian, Portuguese, Spanish

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Sr. Assunta Bridi, from Brazil, is a Scalabrinian Missionary and holds a degree in Pedagogy and a degree in Clinical Psychology. She also has a diploma in Spirituality from the Salesian University in Rome. She has worked for 26 years in a school in São Paulo, Brazil. From 1998 to 1999, in São Paulo, she was the Director of the Centre for Studies for Migrants. From 2002 to 2016 she has worked in the former Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People. On the 1st January 2017 she became part of the team at the Migrants and Refugee Section as administrator. Sr. Assunta makes human relationships essential for her daily work to be enjoyable and works to build stronger relationships.

Sr. Josepha M. Guillon Photo

Sr. Josepha M. GuillonAssistant of the Under-Secretaries

Sr. Josepha M. GuillonAssistant of the Under-Secretaries

Languages: English, Italian, French, Spanish

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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.