Secretary General, Dr Lesley-Anne Knight
“Caritas is putting into action God’s love for the whole of humanity,” said Lesley-Anne Knight
Dr Lesley-Anne Knight during Caritas visit in Mozambique in May 2010
As Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis, Lesley-Anne Knight manages the General Secretariat in the Vatican City, and the confederation’s delegations to the United Nations in New York and Geneva.
Her appointment by the CI Executive Committee was endorsed by representatives from the confederation’s 164 member organisations at their General Assembly in Rome in June 2007. She was appointed with a mandate to overhaul the management and financial systems of the confederation, to oversee a review of its governance structures and statutes, and to improve its effectiveness in the coordination of humanitarian emergency response, international development programmes and advocacy and policy development on issues such as climate justice and the eradication of poverty.
As well as being responsible for the day-to-day management of the confederation, the Secretary General’s duties include liaising with other Church and secular organisations involved in humanitarian aid, and promoting the work of Caritas in the worldwide Catholic community. Lesley-Anne represents CI on various international bodies and is vice-chair of the Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response (SCHR). She participates in the activities of international bodies, including the World Economic Forum, Berlin Civil Society Center and World Religions for Peace. She is also a member of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum and sits of the Administrative Council of Jesuit Refugee Services International.
Prior to her appointment as CI Secretary General, Lesley-Anne was International Director of CAFOD, the Caritas member in England and Wales. In the course of more than 25 years in international development, she has also worked with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), Oxfam, and HelpAge International.
Lesley-Anne was born in 1955 in Gweru, Zimbabwe and was educated at the Dominican Convent High School, Bulawayo, and the University of Cape Town. She studied, lived and worked for several years in France, Germany, Spain and Central America before making her home in the United Kingdom.
‘The Female Face of Poverty’, International Women’s Day - Reflection at the Australian Embassy to the Holy See, Vatican City (8 March 2011)
The Chruch We Believe In Is Catholic, Edmonton, Canada (17 February 2011) - also available in French and Spanish
Opening Ceremony address by Lesley-Anne Knight to the European Development Days, Brussels (6 December 2010)
Welcome address to the Caritas Female Face of Migration Conference, Saly, Senegal (30 November 2010) - also available in French, Spanish, Portugese
Address to Caritas Rwanda for the 50th Anniversary (31 October 2010) - also available in French
Speech at the Latin America and Caribbean Congress, Buenos Aires (11 October 2010) - also available in French, Spanish and Portuguese
Speech at Social Mission Conference 2010 ‘Values and Social Change in a Post Crisis World’, (21 August 2010) - also available in French and Spanish
Speech at Catholic Networking Session 2010 International AIDS Conference: Catholics need compassion, communion, conscience in AIDS work,Vienna (10 July 2010)
Two Decades on a Journey with the Poor, address at Caritas Cambodia 20th Anniversary 1990-2010, Phnom Penh (15 June 2010)
Speech at Caritas Europa meeting: A world without poverty – a Grand Project for the 21st century, Madrid (June 2010)
Adress at Course for Diplomats from Latin America: The Catholic Church and the international policies of the Holy See, (15 May 2010)
Address to the Caritas Oceania Regional Conference: Caritas in a Post-Crisis World, Samoa (23 September 2009)
Speech at the National Press Club of Australia: Breaking the Bottlenecks to Compassion, Canberra (15 September 2009)
Speech at Europe International Forum: Caritas in Europe International Forum Soesterberg (1-3 July 2009)
Caritas Internationalis Secretary General's Annual Report: Strengthening Caritas (June 2009)
Speech at Caritas France General Assembly (26 June 2009) - also available in English, French
Speech at Sudan Partnership Forum (22 June 2009)
Speech at the Global Humanitarian Forum session on climate change(23 June 2009)
Speech by Lesley-Anne Knight at the Jesuit Refugee Service and the John Felice Rome Center Rome (20 May 2009)
Caritas in Africa Partnership Forum Nairobi (March 2009) - also available in French and Spanish
40th anniversary celebration of Caritas Sri Lanka (4 December 2008)
Justice and Peace Integrity of Creation General Assembly, London (27 September 2008)
Caritas Internationalis Secretary GeneralAddress to the Caritas Africa Regional Forum Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (17 September 2008)
Deus Caritas Est The Church's Charitable Work and the Active Helpers, Rome (28 February 2008)
Catholic Social Ministry Gathering International Plenary Speech by Caritas Internationalis Secretary General , Washington, D.C. (25 February 2008)
From our blog Letters from Rome