Susana Réfega is Laudato Si’ Movement’s new Executive Director
After nine years as founding executive director, Tomás Insua will be transitioning out of his role to focus on other projects within LSM. We are excited to welcome Susana Réfega as LSM’s new Executive Director effective January 8, 2024. Susana, a Portuguese native of Lisbon, comes to LSM with extensive leadership experience in the Catholic international development and civil society sector. She also holds a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from René Descartes University in Paris.
Greetings from Susana to the LSM Family
Susana Réfega has built her career working in various non-profit Catholic organizations, including 12 years as executive director of the Faith and Cooperation Foundation in Lisbon. She has also served in other leadership roles at CAFOD, UK (Head of Program Development and Funding and strategic development consultant), CIDSE, Brussels (member of Program Managers’ Forum and the Management Team), CONCORD, Brussels (Member of the Political Steering Committee). She has been a volunteer at the Association of Ecology and Spirituality Casa Velha since 2012. She has volunteered in countries such as Angola, Mozambique, and Timor Leste. She served as President of the Board of the Portuguese Platform of NGOs. She is also a researcher at the Global Office of the Center for African and Development Studies in Lisbon. Additionally, she was a professor of various subjects at the School of Economics and Management in Lisbon and the Portuguese Catholic University.
She holds a degree in Veterinary Medicine from the Technical University of Lisbon; has a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from René Descartes University in Paris; a master’s degree in Development, International Cooperation, and Humanitarian Aid from the University of Sorbonne in Paris; and a postgraduate degree in Leadership and Executive Management for non-profit organizations from AESE Business School in Lisbon. Additionally, she is fluent in five languages.
Get to know Susana
An excerpt from her motivation letter to work with the Laudato Si’ Movement
“Lisbon, August 5th, 2023. World Youth Day Vigil Prayer. Along the wide Tagus River, I lay on the ground contemplating the summer sky. Pope Francis’ words were still echoing in my heart when the screening of the film “The Letter” began. Although I was already familiar with the film, watching it there once again, in Campo da Graça, together with over a million young pilgrims from across the world, deeply moved me. The protagonists’ personal stories, the dialogue with Pope Francis and the overall message of “The Letter” resonated, on that particular night, as a renewed call from God. A call to continue my personal, professional, and spiritual journey of ecological conversion. A call for a discernment of where God is calling me today. It was after this moving spiritual experience, and combined with a structured discernment process, that I decided to apply for Laudato Si Movement’s (LSM) Executive Director position.”