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Cardinal Peter K. A. Turkson was born in Nsuta-Wassaw (Ghana) on October 11, 1948.

From 1962 to 1969 he attended «St. Theresa's Seminary», in Amisano; from 1969 to 1971 he attended «St. Peter's Regional Seminary», in Pedu. He then obtained his Master in Divinity  at «St. Anthony-on-Hudson», Conv. Franciscan Seminary, New York, where he stayed during the years from 1971 to 1975.

On July 20, 1975 he was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Cape Coast.

Later, he finished his studies specializing in Sacred Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, during the period 1976-1980 for his Licentiate and during the period from 1987 to 1992 for his Doctorate. From 1975 to 1976 and 1980 to 1981 he taught at «St. Theresa's Seminary»; from 1981 to 1987 he was a Professor of Sacred Scriptures and Vice-Rector of «St. Peter's Seminary»; at the same time, he was part-time Professor at the University of Cape Coast, Department of Religion (1984-1986); and Adjunct Chaplain at the University of Cape Coast (1984-1986), as well as visiting professor at the Major Seminary in Anyama in Abidjan, Ivory Coast (1983-1986).

On October 6, 1992, Pope John Paul II appointed him Archbishop of Cape Coast on and later  elevated him to Cardinal at the Consistory on October 21, 2003.

He was President of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Ghana from 1997 to 2004; member of the Council of the University of Ghana, Legon, (2001-2006); Treasurer of the Symposium of the Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar, SECAM (2007-2009). He was Vice-President of the Association of the Episcopal Conferences of Anglophone West Africa (AECAWA). In October of 2009 he was the General Speaker at the II Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, at the end of which Pope Benedict XVI appointed him President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

On September 24, 2013, Pope Francis confirmed him as head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and, in 2016, appointed him as the first Prefect of the new Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

interim Secretary

interim Secretary

Sr Alessandra Smerilli was born in Vasto (Ch) on 14 November 1974, and became a Daughter of Mary Help of Christians in 1997 after a period of theological formation at the Pontifical Lateran University.

She graduated in Economics from Roma Tre University in 2001, and obtained a PhD in Political Economy from La Sapienza University of Rome (2006) and a PhD in Economics from East Anglia University (Norwich, UK 2014). In 2016, he carried out research activities at the University of Pennsylvania.

Her research interests are related to economic theories of cooperation and value-based organisations. She has authored several publications on these topics.

She is full professor of Political Economy at the Auxilium Faculty of Education. She has taught Economics of Cooperation at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart (Milan) and the LUMSA University (Rome), Economics, Ethics and Finance at the Pontifical Salesian University (Rome) and International Economics at the Pontifical Lateran University. Since 2006 he has collaborated with the Italian Episcopal Conference for the Social Weeks of Catholics. 

In 2018 she participated as an auditor at the Synod on "Youth, faith, vocational discernment". Since 2019, she has been a Vatican State Councillor and Consultant to the General Secretariat for the Synod. 

Since April 2020 she has been collaborating with the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development as Coordinator of the Task Force Economy in the Vatican Commission for Covid-19 and since March 2021 she has held the position of Undersecretary at the same Dicastery. 

On 26 August 2021, the Holy Father appointed her as interim Secretary of the Dicastery and Delegate for the Vatican Covid-19 Commission.



Fr. Nicola Riccardi, born in Telese Terme (Benevento) on November 17, 1965, took his vows with the Order of Friars Minor on September 17, 2000 and he was ordained priest on September 1th, 2001.

He graduated from University of Siena in Economics (1993), after an specialization in credit and suretyship and work experience, he received his Licentiate in Social Doctrine and Public Ethics (2002) and Doctorate in Social Sciences (2006), at the Pontifical Gregorian University of Rome, and in 2015, he received his Licentiate in Moral Theology at the Pontifical Urbaniana University.

From 2007 to 2009 he carried out studies and research in the United States at Harvard University in Cambridge and the University of Massachusetts in Boston and, in Belgium, at the Centre for Economics and Ethics of the Catholic University of Leuven. He studied social ethics and economics, examining both the analytical and historical and theoretical aspects.

At the Gregorian University he taught Economics and Ethics, neoliberal theories, and Finance ethics (2009-2013). Since 2007 he had been Head of the International Course of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation at the Department of Theology of the Antonianum University, where, since 2009, he had been Professor of Economics and Ethics. He is the author of articles and essays written for collections and magazines.

From July 2017 he is serving as Under-Secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.


Msgr. Segundo Tejado Muñoz, born in Madrid (Spain) on February 16, 1960, received his high school diploma in classical studies and continued to study the arts at the “Escuela de Artes y Oficios Artisticos” in Madrid.

In the 1980s he taught photography and photographic printing at Artistic High Schools in Madrid and Avila. At the Gregorian University in Rome he carried out his studies of Philosophy and Theology and received his Licentiate in Church History (1991-1994).

On April 24, 1992, he was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Rome and until 1994 he was Vice-parish priest for the Parish of Saint Anne.

From 1993 to 2003 he was a priest of “Fidei Donum” in Albania, at the Archdiocese of Tiranë-Durrës, where he carried out various roles: Parish priest in the Village of Delbnisht and officer of the Diocesan Office of the Movements and Associations; National Director of Caritas Albania (1996-2002); Under-Secretary of the Episcopal Conference of Albania 1999-2003; Parish priest of the “Saint Paul” Cathedral of Tirana 2001-2003, Member of the ICMC in representation of the Episcopal Conference of Albania.

Having returned to the Vatican, since 2003 he was an Official at the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”, and in 2011 he became Under-Secretary. Since 2003 he has been a Member of the Foundation “Populorum Progressio”.   From 2005 to 2015 he was Chaplain of His Holiness and in 2015 he was appointed Honorary Prelate of His Holiness. He has written many articles and papers.

From July 2017 he is serving as Under-Secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

Cardinal Michael Czerny, S.J. entered the Society of Jesus in English Canada in 1963, and was ordained in 1973. He did graduate studies at the University of Chicago in an inter-disciplinary programme in humanities, social thought and theology and earned the doctorate in 1978.

Dr. Czerny was the founding director of the Jesuit Centre for Social Faith and Justice, Toronto (1979 – 1989). After the 1989 assassination of the Jesuits at the Central American University (UCA) in San Salvador, he became Director of its Human Rights Institute (1990 – 1991) and Vice-Rector of the UCA (1991). For 11 years Michael served as Secretary for Social Justice at the Jesuit General Curia, Rome (1992 – 2002). In 2002, he founded the African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN), which assists Jesuits to respond to the HIV/AIDS pandemic; he directed AJAN for 8 years.

From 2010-2016, Fr. Czerny worked with Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, as his advisor or counsellor.

From 1 January 2017 he is serving as Under-Secretary of the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.

On October 4, 2019, Fr. Czerny was consecrated titular archbishop of Benevento by Pope Francis, who on October 5 created him cardinal deacon of St. Michael the Archangel.

Fr. Fabio Baggio, C.S.  is a member of the Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo.

He gained a doctorate in Church history at the Pontifical Gregorian University in 1998.

Fr. Baggio worked as a pastor in Santiago del Chile from 1995 to 1997, and was also advisor for migrations to the Chilean bishops’ conference (INCAMI). Afterwards until 2002, he served as director of the Department for Migration of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires.

From 1999-2010, he taught at the Universidad del Salvador in Buenos Aires as well as the Ateneo de Manila and the Maryhill School of Theology at Quezon City in the Philippines, where he was director of the Scalabrini Migration Center (SMC).

From the year 2000 he was also professor at the Scalabrini International Migration Institute (SIMI), which is incorporated into the theology Faculty of the Pontifical Urban University in Rome. He became its director in 2010.

From 1 January 2017 he is serving as Under-Secretary of the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.