Ken Hackett "is president of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), one of the world's most effective and efficient relief and development agencies. He oversees operations in more than 100 countries, with a global staff of nearly 5,000.
"A native of West Roxbury, Mass., Mr. Hackett graduated from Boston College in 1968. Upon graduation, he joined the Peace Corps and was assigned to serve in Ghana.
"Mr. Hackett joined CRS in 1972, starting his career in Sierra Leone. He has served CRS in posts throughout Africa and Asia, as well as in a variety of positions at CRS headquarters. He was the Regional Director for Africa, guiding CRS' response to the Ethiopian famine of 1984-1985. He supervised operations in East Africa during the crisis in Somalia in the early 1990s. Mr. Hackett has led CRS since 1993.
"Under Mr. Hackett's leadership, CRS went through a significant institutional transformation. In 1993, he launched a strategic planning exercise to help clarify the mission and identity of CRS. Shortly thereafter came the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The killing of more than 800,000 people over a three-month span led CRS officials to reevaluate how they implemented their relief and development programs, particularly in places with heightened ethnic conflict and socioeconomic inequities that often lead to violence. After an extended period of institutional reflection and prayer, CRS incorporated a justice-centered focus in all its programming, using Catholic social teaching as a guide.
"During Mr. Hackett's tenure, CRS has embarked on a concerted effort to engage the U.S. Catholic community in its work around the world. As part of this strategy, CRS established the U.S. Operations division in 2002 with a mission to foster global solidarity among U.S. Catholics. In addition, lay people were appointed for the first time to the CRS Board of Directors.
"Mr. Hackett has received honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Notre Dame, Boston College, Villanova University, Siena College, the University of San Diego and New York Medical College. In 2004, Mr. Hackett was named a Knight Commander of the Papal Order of Saint Gregory the Great, one of the highest Papal honors.
"He has served as North America President of Caritas Internationalis, the confederation of humanitarian agencies of the global Catholic Church... He has served on the advisory committees of the Time Global Health Summit; Woodrow Wilson Institute, Committee on Failed States; Changing the Present; a non-profit corporation operated by Important Gifts, Inc.; and the Baltimore Council on Foreign Affairs...
"Since 2004, Mr. Hackett has served on the Board of Directors of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a federal effort to increase aid to countries that demonstrate a commitment to ruling justly, investing in people and encouraging economic freedom."