Monsignor Robert J. Vitillo appointed Secretary General of ICMC

Geneva, 12 May 2016 - The International Catholic Migration Commission is pleased to announce the appointment of Monsignor Robert J. Vitillo as its new Secretary General, effective 1 June 2016. Msgr. Vitillo takes over from Johan Ketelers as he nears completion of his third term, having led the organization since 2004.

The appointment was made following an ordinary process, during which a selection Committee was established to identify and propose a suitable replacement. In accordance with the ICMC Statutes, the Committee's proposal was subsequently submitted to the Vatican’s Secretary of State, who confirmed the candidate. The ICMC Governing Committee later elected Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo as the new Secretary General of ICMC.

Monsignor Robert J. VitilloMonsignor Robert J. Vitillo was appointed Secretary General of ICMC, effective 1 June 2016. Photo: Paul Jeffrey While serving as the Director of Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Paterson, New Jersey, USA, during the 1980’s, Msgr. Vitillo coordinated the resettlement of Southeast Asian, Ethiopian, Eritrean, Haitian and Cuban refugees to the United States. He also assisted ICMC to design its cultural orientation programs for Southeast Asian refugees in Bataan, Philippines. He currently serves at Caritas Internationalis both as its Head of Delegation to the United Nations in Geneva and as Special Advisor on Health and HIV/AIDS. He is a trained social worker and psychotherapist. His expertise includes child protection and social services, adoption, migration and refugee services, human rights, integral human development, management, HIV/AIDS and health. “Having collaborated with Johan Ketelers and the ICMC staff on a range of migration and refugee issues for many years, I feel honored to have the opportunity to now lead ICMC, especially in a world wrestling with migration challenges. I look forward to working directly with the ICMC staff in Geneva, Brussels, Washington and in the field – as well as with the ICMC members worldwide - to protect and serve the many people in need of protection and assistance”, Msgr. Vitillo said.

Peter Sutherland, President of ICMC and UN Special Representative for International Migration, declared: “As President of ICMC, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Johan Ketelers for the remarkable work he has done for ICMC over the years. He will go down in the history of the institution. As to his successor, his wealth of experience and dedication to the fundamental values of ICMC speak for themselves. I am delighted to have him as the new executive head of this remarkable institution.”

Johan Ketelers will continue to remain active in the migration field promoting the recognition and respect of migrants’ rights. Under his leadership, ICMC was able to move from a small structure to an organization with staff and programs in over 50 countries and an annual budget of almost 35 million US dollars. Thanks to this growth, which has placed the organization in a stable financial situation, the Commission is today in a position to reach out to a larger number of people in need of protection and significantly influence public migration debates in international fora.

Taking stock of the past years, Johan Ketelers reflected: “I leave the organization with the deep satisfaction that much has been achieved and progress will continue to be made. The road ahead is promising and of continued importance for the many we serve.”

The ICMC Governing Committee, the ICMC members worldwide and all staff wish Msgr. Vitillo a smooth transition into his new position and Mr. Ketelers the very best in his future endeavors.