Googled: Ken Hackett ’68, H’06

Published: October 2015

In February 2013, Ken Hackett was retired and settled in Florida, doing some consulting after serving 40 years with Catholic Relief Services (CRS), including 19 as its president (1993–2012). Then the White House called and asked if he would take a full-time job, as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See.

The West Roxbury native studied operations and management at Boston College before serving three years in the Peace Corps in Ghana. He joined CRS in 1972, and ran agriculture and nutrition projects in Sierra Leone. From 1978 to 1985, Hackett led CRS’s operations throughout Africa, including its responses to the Ethiopian famine. In Africa he also met his wife, Joan, a Concord native and CRS employee in Cameroon. Hackett served as CRS’s country representative in the Philippines from 1987 to 1992. His CRS presidency spanned the Rwandan genocide, the earthquake in Haiti, and HIV/AIDs crises in Nigeria, Uganda, and Zambia. For much of this period he was a member of the White House Global Poverty Task Force and the Vatican’s Pontifical Council Cor Unum, which organizes the Church’s charitable work.

Ambassador Hackett and his staff of 15 at the chancery in central Rome (on a campus shared with the U.S. Embassy to Italy) collaborate with the Vatican to address global humanitarian issues, from world hunger to religious freedom. Hackett also helped organize Pope Francis’s visit to the United States in September.

This feature was posted on Wednesday, October 14, 2015 and is filed under Research.