Fr Kenneth Gavin has worked in the field of forced migration for nearly a decade. After more than 20 years in second and third-level education, he was appointed Regional Director of the Jesuit Refugee Service USA in 2002.
Based in Rome, he is currently Assistant International Director of the Jesuit Refugee Service with a particular responsibility for advocacy, communications and human resources.
During his tenure as JRS USA Director, Fr Gavin travelled widely to accompany refugees and bring back their stories and needs to the country. He worked to advance advocacy outreach on international issues including increasing US State Department assistance to Colombian refugees, advocating for the resettlement of Bhutanese refugees, and flagging protection concerns of the Tamil people throughout Sri Lanka.
Before coming to JRS, Fr Gavin had extensive international experience with Jesuit ministries and in the world of education.
Fr Gavin entered the New York Province of the Society of Jesus in 1962. He earned a Master of Divinity from Weston Jesuit School of Theology in 1975 and was ordained to the priesthood that same year. After receiving his PhD in speech-language pathology at Northwestern University in 1981, he taught for nine years at Marquette University in Milwaukee and served as departmental chair.
In 1989 he was appointed executive assistant to the Provincial of the New York Province of the Jesuits. Later, in 1992, he began a four-year term as the president of Regis High School in New York City and then served for six years as the Provincial of the New York Province.
"…love of God which does not issue in justice for others is a farce."
-- Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J., 28th Superior General of the Society of Jesus
and founder of Jesuit Refugee Service