Officially In: Ken Hackett — From the Catholic Relief Services to the Holy See

— By Domani Spero

On June 14, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Ken Hackett as the next Ambassador to the Holy See. The WH released the following bio:

Ken Hackett is a consultant to the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Global Development.  In 2012, after 40 years of service, he retired from the Catholic Relief Services (CRS), where he was the President and CEO from 1993 to 2012.  Prior to serving as President and CEO, Mr. Hackett was East African Regional Director from 1992 to 1993.  From 1987 to 1992, he served as the Country Representative in the Philippines.  From 1986 to 1987, he was Senior Director of External Affairs, and from 1978 to 1985, he was the African Regional Director.  He began his career with CRS in 1972 as a staff member in Sierra Leone.  In addition to working at CRS, Mr. Hackett was North American Vice President of Caritas Internationalis from 1996 to 2004.  From 1996 to 2011, he served as a member of the Pontifical Commission, Cor Unum, the Vatican body that coordinates the Church’s charitable work.  From 2004 to 2009, he served on the Board of Directors of the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

Mr. Hackett served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ghana from 1968 to 1971.  He received a B.S. from Boston College.

Back in January, the National Catholic Reporter publicly speculated on candidates for the next ambassador to the Vatican and did name Mr. Hackett:

Another hot tip is Ken Hackett, the former longtime president of Catholic Relief Services, who served on Obama’s delegation to the consistory in Rome last February when both Timothy Dolan and Edwin O’Brien became cardinals. (For all intents and purposes, Hackett was the delegation, along with Diaz.)

Hackett would be an easy sell on the church side. He has a good relationship with Dolan, who served as chair of the CRS board, and he has a solid working knowledge of the Vatican from his involvement with the Rome-based federation of Catholic charities, Caritas Internationalis.

The Catholic Relief Services is the overseas relief and development agency of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Catholic community in the United States.

If confirmed, Mr. Hacket would replace theology professor Miguel Diaz, who was appointed in 2009, the first Hispanic U.S. Ambassador accredited to the Holy See. (See US Ambassador to the Holy See Miguel H. Díaz Resigns, Rejoins University of Dayton).  The Holy See is one of nine diplomatic missions where all ambassadorial appointees have been 100% political and zero career appointments to-date.


Related item:

June 14, 2013 | President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts






SFRC Clears Daniel R. Russel, Geoffrey R. Pyatt and Tulinabo Salama Mushingi

—By Domani Spero

On June 25, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee cleared the following State Department nominations:

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Since President Obama has now announced  a nominee for the Office of Inspector General, we are presuming that Senator Cruz has not gone through with his threat to place a blanket hold on all these nominees (see After 1,989 Day-Vacancy — President Obama Nominates Steve Linick as State Dept Inspector General; also Still No Junkyard Dog? Senator Cruz Warns He’ll Place a Hold on All State Dept Nominations).  And if that’s the case, then these nominations should be up for a vote in the full Senate.