JRS/USA Welcomes New Board Members in 2021

04 March 2021

Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is proud to announce the addition of Fr. Thomas P. Greene, SJ and Fadi G. Samman to the 2021 Board of Directors. As new members, we asked them to share a bit about themselves, interest in our work, and what they’re most looking forward to learning across our global programs.

Fr. Thomas P. Greene, SJ

What’s your current profession and where? 

I am the provincial for the USA Southern and Central Province based in St. Louis, Missouri. I began on July 31st of 2020 (the Feast of St. Ignatius).

How did you connect with JRS/USA? Why did you want to join? 

From 2010-2014 I was the Secretary for Social and International Ministries at the Jesuit Conference. In that capacity I worked closely with JRS/USA on advocacy issues involving border policy and detention of migrants. I also served on the board during that time and got to know the organization quite well. Getting to know JRS/USA was one of the highlights of my time in Washington, D.C.

Do you have any prior experience/interests in refugee assistance/humanitarianism?

The ability to work with refuges and learn from them is one of the great blessings of my life. I first worked with Eritrean refugees prior to entering the Society from 1995-97. As a Jesuit I had the opportunity to work with JRS for brief periods in Malawi and the Dominican Republic. My primary work on behalf of refugee populations has been the legal representation of asylum seekers and detained unaccompanied minors. I spent time during my Jesuit formation working with NGOs in Chicago and Catholic Charities in Houston. I hope to return to ministry with refugees in the future. 

What are you most looking forward to bringing to the Board?

I hope I can be of some assistance in thinking through programming opportunities and how to advocate for humane and just legislation. JRS/USA has really evolved as an organization in the last ten years, and I am humbled when I see the talent both on the staff and the board of trustees. I may not be able to add anything to the board or what is being done by the organization!

Any areas of JRS/USA you want to learn more about?

I’m looking forward to all of it. However, given the tragic events and violence in Syria I am looking forward to learning more about the efforts being made in the Middle East. 

One fun fact about yourself!

I have an inordinate attachment to SEC football. I cannot seem to kick this habit! [Geaux Tigers!]

Fadi G. Samman

What’s your current profession and where?

I am a partner at the law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld LLP in Washington DC. I specialize in private investment funds, working with a variety of fund managers investors in connection with their transactions.

How did you connect with JRS/USA? Why did you want to join? 

I first became aware of JRS/USA in 2014 after the passing of my mother.  My Mother and Father are both immigrants from Syria (1970s) and were very concerned about the impact of the Syrian civil war and the developing refugee crisis, especially for minority Christians. We were looking for an organization to direct donations to honor my Mother’s memory and chose JRS/USA.  The Jesuits had a strong presence in Syria when my parents were growing.   My interest grew from there.  I wanted to join JRS/USA to really take a more forward step in being a “Man for Others”.  Being a product of a Jesuit education (high school and college), this has always been important to me, but I felt I could and should do more.

Do you have any prior experience/interests in refugee assistance/humanitarianism?

The Syrian civil ware sparked my interest.  Aside from donating to various organizations (including JRS/USA), I don’t have any prior experience and this will be my first time serving on a board.

What are you most looking forward to bringing to the Board?

I look forward to supporting the organization in whatever way I can, whether that be using my professional skill set to help internally, spreading the word about the organization and its mission or fundraising.

Any areas of JRS/USA you want to learn more about?

As mentioned above, I have a unique interest in the Middle East and learning about what we can do to help in that part of the world.  But overall, I am just excited to learn more about what JRS/USA does and how I can help as a board member.

One fun fact about yourself!

I am an avid music lover and particularly enjoy exploring new music and collecting vinyl records.  And I am a die-hard Washington Football Team Fan, having grown up in the area.