About Duncan MacLaren, O.P.


Duncan MacLaren was elected Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis at the 1999 General Assembly, re-elected for another term in July 2003. Born and bred in Scotland, he was educated at Glasgow, Würzburg and Edinburgh Universities, latterly specialising in development studies and theology, especially Catholic Social Teaching. He was a researcher at Glasgow University and in the House of Commons, press attaché with a political party and, for 13 years, director of the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF), the Scottish Caritas. He served on the Scottish Catholic Justice and Peace Commission and was a representative of the Catholic Church in Scotland to create new ecumenical instruments. He has been active at the international level in Catholic aid and development agencies for many years, becoming Vice-President of the Catholic development network, CIDSE (International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity) and an executive member of the Conference of International Catholic Organisations. In 1995, he was appointed Head of International Relations at the General Secretariat of Caritas Internationalis in Rome and spearheaded the strategic planning process among all 154 members of the Caritas Confederation worldwide as well as the Confederation’s efforts to change policies on issues such as debt, food security and AIDS in favour of the poor. He was then elected Secretary General of the Caritas Confederation at its General Assembly in Rome in 1999. He has travelled widely in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, Oceania and Asia. He is the author of a number of articles and booklets on development and theological topics. In January 2006 he completed his term as Chair of the SCHR (Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response). He is a lay member of the Dominican Order and a member of the Pontifical Council ‘Cor Unum’.

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