Merwyn De Mello has been appointed by Christian Peacemaker Teams to the position of CPT Co-Director, along with Carol Rose, starting in January 2012.
De Mello brings a wide range of international and administrative experience to the position. He grew up in Nairobi, Kenya and Mumbai, India. In Japan, he worked as an immigrant rights advocate and community organizer to change policy for asylum seekers. In Tanzania, he co-coordinated projects in thirteen refugee camps on Tanzania-Rwanda-Burundi borders and developed community education programs on advocacy and peacebuilding.
At the Institute of Peace, Leadership, and Governance in Mutare, Zimbabwe, he designed and taught courses in Transitional Justice and Trauma Healing, Peacebuilding, and provided coordination for peacebuilding strategy development in Harare, Zimbabwe. More recently, in Mumbai, he coordinated programs for promoting honesty, transparency, and accountability in governance. He currently works as the Recruitment Manager for Maryknoll Lay Missioners.
“I have a deep regard for the essence of CPT’s mission and vision,” says De Mello, “the nonviolent and compassionate witness to God’s love in solidarity with communities that bear the painful impact of physical and structural violence. My life and ministry continue to call me to be a humble testimony to nonviolent compassionate solidarity and it is no coincidence that the CPT co-director position comes to my attention at this juncture…
De Mello considers this call “a fierce call to action,” and says that the urging came through his service as a Maryknoll Lay Missioner where, for the last 15 years he worked in Japan with asylum seekers and the homeless, in Tanzania with Rwandan, Burundian and Congolese refugees, and in Zimbabwe with victims of political violence. “It is largely the foundational teachings of liberation theology and Catholic social teaching—Jesus’ doctrine of justice and compassion —that shape and root my personal peace and justice calling.”
A graduate of Eastern Mennonite University’s Master of Arts in Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding, De Mello currently lives with his wife Kirstin in Ossining, NY. They plan to move from Ossining to join CPT work based in Chicago.
--Sept. 13, 2011