• DISCERN Gaudium et Spes Lecture 2013

  • On Wednesday 23rd October 2013, at 7 p.m., the Institute for Research on the Signs of the Times (DISCERN) is organizing a lecture at the Hotel Phoenicia, on the theme ‘Oscar Romero – Witnessing to Faith and Promoting Justice’. The guest speaker will be Dr Julian Filochowski MA (Cantab), C.M.G., O.B.E., Chair of the Archbishop Romero Trust in England and Former Director of CAFOD.

  • Dr FILOCHOWSKI was born in Normanton, Yorkshire, in 1947. He studied Economics as an IBM scholar at Churchill College, Cambridge. In 1973 he joined the staff of Catholic Institute for International Relations (London) as Education Secretary. For several years he campaigned on human rights and development in Latin America. He was particularly close to Dom Helder Camara in Brazil and Oscar Romero, the martyred Archbishop of San Salvador, both of whom on his initiative were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by British MPs. He led and accompanied solidarity missions and human rights delegations to Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Nicaragua, and Peru and with British Parliamentarians managed to gain entry to the torture cells in the National Guard headquarters in El Salvador.

    In 1982, Dr Filochowski was appointed Director of CAFOD, the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development. During his stewardship CAFOD was transformed to become a major international relief and development agency with a high national profile and recognised competence and professionalism in humanitarian disaster response, long- term development programmes, advocacy, lobbying and grass roots development education.

    Her Majesty Queen Elisabeth has awarded Dr Julian Filochowski both an OBE (in 1998) and a CMG (in 2004) for services to international development. After 21 years at the helm he stepped down as CAFOD’s CEO and took up sabbatical Visiting Fellowships at Cambridge to study the life and teaching of Archbishop Romero, the man who had most profoundly affected his life and faith commitment. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Human Rights by the Jesuit University in San Salvador (2004) and an Honorary Doctorate in Law from the University of Roehampton, London (2006).

    He is currently a Director of the Tablet Publishing Company and working as an international development consultant on assignment in Ethiopia with ActionAid.