Francesca Di Giovanni, an Italian lawyer has been appointed to a managerial role at the Secretariat of State, Vatican. This is the first time in history that a woman has been appointed to a managerial role in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State. She has been appointed as the second undersecretary of the secretariat’s Section for Relations with States.

Key Takeaways:

  • Francesca Di Giovanni, an Italian lawyer, has been appointed as the undersecretary for multilateral affairs in the Secretariat of State, Vatican.
  • This is the first time in history that a woman has been appointed to a managerial role in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State.
  • She has worked at the secretariat for about 27 years and will now be elevated to the position of undersecretary for the section for relations with states.
  • While serving this position, she will be managing the Vatican’s relationships with multilateral organisations such as the United Nations.

Francesca Di Giovanni specialises in migrants and refugees and International Law. She expressed surprise at the news of her appointment.

Life History

Di Giovanni was born in Palermo, Sicily, in 1953. She pursued a degree in law and worked as a notary in the administrative-juridical sector of the International Center of the Opera di Maria (Work of Mary) of the Focolari Movement. She is a member there currently. She has also worked as an official in the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State since September 1993. The Vatican announced her appointment as the undersecretary for multilateral affairs on January 15.

Specializes In Migrants And Refugees And International Law

Di Giovanni specializes in migrants and refugees and International Law. After being appointed as the undersecretary, she said that she was surprised to know this. “I sincerely never would have thought the Holy Father would have entrusted this role to me,” she said in an interview with Vatican News.

She has been working in the multilateral sector for the past 27 years. The areas she’s been working in include particularly on themes relating to migrants and refugees, international humanitarian law, communications, international private law, the condition of women, intellectual property and tourism.

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New Hope For Women In Male-Dominated Roman Catholic Church

The Roman Catholic Church’s leadership is almost male-dominated. However, Di Giovanni’s appointment as the undersecretary instils hope for further inclusion of women. On being appointed as the undersecretary, she said, “I would like to contribute so that this vision of the Holy Father may be realized, together with the other colleagues who work in this sector of the Secretariat of State, but also with other women—and they are many—who work to build fraternity also in this international dimension.”

Pope Francis has always been vocal about his support for women. The section for relation with states has around 55 staff members, of which, 12 are women. This section now has two undersecretaries – Francesca Di Giovanni and the Polish-born monsignor Miroslav Wachowski, who is principally responsible for the sector of bilateral diplomacy.

Picture Credit- BBC

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