2018 Annual Gathering

Plenary Session Speakers

Wednesday, September 12, 9:00 a.m.
President’s Address
2018 Sr Donna Portrait - Isolated BG
Sister Donna Markham OP, PhD
President & CEO
Catholic Charities USA

Sister Donna Markham OP, PhD, the President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA), is the first woman to hold this position in the organization’s over 100 year history. An Adrian Dominican sister with a doctorate in clinical psychology, Sister Donna served on CCUSA’s Board of Trustees for eight years, two of which were as Board Chair. In addition, she has served in leadership positions in behavioral healthcare both in Canada and the United States and is an internationally-recognized author and speaker in areas pertaining to transformational leadership, organizational change management and the effective treatment of the mentally ill. Sister Donna received her doctorate from the University of Detroit and has been involved in executive leadership development, organizational transformation and clinical practice throughout her professional career. Prior to coming to CCUSA she served as president of the Behavioral Health Institute at Mercy Health System where she led the transformation of the delivery of behavioral health services across the seven geographic regions of the health system. Sister Donna is a Fellow in the American Academy of Clinical Psychologists. In addition to executive management and clinical work, Sister Donna is engaged in global peace initiatives directed toward building bridges of understanding and collaboration across conflict zones. 

Wednesday, September 12, 1:15 p.m.
Plenary Address


The Most Reverend Christophe Pierre
The Apostolic Nuncio, Washington, D.C.

Archbishop Christophe Pierre was born on January 30, 1946 in Rennes, France. He completed his primary education in Antisirabé, Madagascar, and his secondary schooling in Saint-Malo, France, and in Marrakech, Morocco. He attended the Major Seminary of the Archdiocese of Rennes (1963-1969) and the Catholic Institute of Paris (1969-1971). He did Military Service from July 1965, to October 1966. He was ordained a priest on April 5, 1970, in Saint-Malo, France and incardinated in the Archdiocese of Rennes. He was Parochial Vicar of the St. Peter and St. Paul Parish in Colombes, Diocese of Nanterre, France (1970-1973).

He has a Master’s in Sacred Theology (Paris, 1971) and a Doctorate in Canon Law from the Pontifical Lateran University, Rome (1973-1977). He completed his studies at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, in Rome (1973-1977), and started his service in the Diplomatic Corps of the Holy See on March 5, 1977.

He was appointed first to the Pontifical Representation in New Zealand and the Islands of the Pacific Ocean (1977-1981). Subsequently he served in Mozambique (1981); in Zimbabwe (1982-1986); in Cuba (1986-1989); in Brazil (1989-1991); at the Permanent Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland (1991-1995). He was elected Titular Archbishop of Gunela on July 12, 1995, and received the Episcopal Consecration on September 24, 1995, in Saint-Malo, France.

Archbishop Christophe Pierre was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Haiti, on July 12, 1995, where he served until 1999. He has been the Apostolic Nuncio to Uganda (1999-2007) and then, the Apostolic Nuncio to Mexico (2007-2016). He was appointed as Apostolic Nuncio of the United States of America by His Holiness, Pope Francis on April 12, 2016. Archbishop Pierre speaks French, English, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. 


Thursday, September 13, 8:15 a.m.
Plenary Panel: Stories Along the Journey


Sister Donna Markham OP, PhD, President & CEO
Catholic Charities USA, Alexandria, Va.


 Fr. Flor 

Fr. Flor María Rigoni, CS, Director
Migrant Center of Tapachula, Mexico

Father Flor Rigoni, Scalabrinian priest and the director of the Home for Migrants Shelter “Bethlehem” in Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico. He has dedicated his life to providing humanitarian support to refugees and migrants first to his Italian compatriots in Europe, then in Africa and since 1985 in Mexico. Since then, he has fought tirelessly to better the lives of migrants seeking relief at the Scalabrinians’ Bethlehem shelter.

Walaa Ali, Program Assistant

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington, Arlington, Va.

Walaa Ali is a Program Assistant at Catholic Charities, Diocese of Arlington (Migration and Refugee Services). She served the U.S. Government at the USAID mission, U.S. military, and International NGOs in Iraq for more than seven years during the aftermath of the Iraq war. Her life and the lives of her family members were endangered as a result of serving the USG, and they received many life-threatening messages from anti-US hostile sources. As a result she migrated to the United States in 2012 under the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program. Walaa’s area of specialization is in immigration and refugee case management, project coordination, finance and budgeting, and monitoring and evaluation.
 IMG_0686 Sister Raghad Saeed Saqat, OP, Instructor
University of Mosul, Mosul, Iraq

Sister Raghad Saeed Saqat is a Dominican Sister of the Congregation of Catherine of Siena, Mosul, Iraq. Prior to coming the United States, Sister Raghad served as an instructor in physics at the University of Mosul. When ISIS invaded the Christian villages across Iraq, Sister Raghad fled with her sisters to safety in northern Iraq. She was internally displaced along with nearly 100 of her sisters. Currently, she is pursuing a doctorate in nanophysics at the Catholic University of America. Upon completion of her degree, Sister Raghad will return to Iraq to continue her work in higher education at the University of Mosul.
Thursday, September 13, 12:45 p.m.
Plenary Address: The Story of the Journey

 Carol Costello, Journalist and News Anchor
HLN, Los Angeles, Calif.

Award-winning journalist Carol Costello is the host of HLN's Across America with Carol Costello, a two-hour news show airing weekdays from 11:00 am -1:00 pm ET, covering the day's news and most-talked about stories. She is based in the network's Los Angeles bureau. Prior to joining HLN in February of 2017, Carol anchored the 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. (ET) edition of CNN Newsroom. She has interviewed four former U.S. presidents — President Jimmy Carter, President Ronald Reagan, President George H.W. Bush and President Bill Clinton — and has covered four presidential inaugurations.

Carol also covered the 2016 political campaign for CNN and anchored from both conventions and was part of the network's coverage during the debates. She covered the terrorist shootings in San Bernardino and Orlando and anchored wall-to-wall coverage of flight MH-370 and the George Zimmerman trial. Additionally, she was a part of CNN's Peabody Award winning coverage of the Gulf Oil Spill, the 2008 presidential election and Hurricane Katrina. During her time with CNN, she has also reported on the Boston Marathon Bombing, on the last Space Shuttle launch, the Ohio midterm elections, the shooting at Virginia Tech, the tsunami disaster in South Asia, the Russian school hostage crisis and Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne.

Carol's work has been honored numerous times, a 1991 Emmy Award for a special on crack and cocaine, a UPI award, several Associated Press awards and multiple Emmy nominations. She joined CNN in October 2001 from WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C., where she worked five years as an anchor and investigative reporter. Before that, she spent three years at WBAL-TV in Baltimore as an anchor and co-anchor. She began her career as a weekend anchor and reporter for WAKR-TV in Akron, Ohio, then moved to WBNS-TV in Columbus, Ohio, to work as the station's principal weeknight anchor. Carol earned a degree in journalism from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio.



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