New President Announced by Jesuit Refugee Service/USA

02 April 2024|JRS/USA

Jesuit Refugee Service/USA (JRS/USA) is thrilled to announce that Kelly Ryan has been named the organization’s new President. She will assume the position on May 1, 2024, from current President Joan Rosenhauer.

Ms. Ryan is an experienced diplomat, attorney, and policy maker with 30 years of experience in refugee and asylum law, migration management, and human rights law and policy. She is a two-time U.S. Presidential political appointee who has also worked extensively with faith-based organizations, including the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC), the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and the Holy See.

Robert Niehaus, chair of the JRS/USA Board of Directors, shared:  

 We are delighted to have attracted a leader of Kelly Ryan’s stature to become our new President. Kelly is a highly regarded policy expert and leader in refugee services and migration, having held senior positions in these areas in the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security.  

Ms. Ryan spent seven years as the Deputy Assistant Secretary at the State Department Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM), three years as the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Immigration & Border Security at Homeland Security, and is currently a senior advisor for the Refugee, Asylum and International Affairs Directorate at the Department of Homeland Security. Ms. Ryan has a BA from Tulane University, a law degree from Georgetown University, and an LL.M. from Queen’s College, Cambridge University.

 We are looking to Kelly to continue the strong growth trajectory of JRS/USA that Joan Rosenhauer has so ably led as JRS continues its mission of accompanying, serving, and advocating for the growing number of refugees in the world today,” Mr. Niehaus said.  

In November 2023, JRS/USA announced that Joan Rosenhauer, President of JRS/USA since March 2018, would retire. The first woman to lead JRS/USA, Joan’s leadership and compassion have been integral to JRS/USA during her six-year tenure.

Ms. Rosenhauer’s extensive career has been dedicated to serving those in need and encouraging the U.S. Catholic community to get involved. Before coming to JRS/USA in 2018, she spent nine years as an Executive Vice President of Catholic Relief Services (CRS). Prior to her time at CRS, Joan worked at the USCCB for 16 years in the Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development.

As President, one of her most significant accomplishments was establishing the binational border program, Caminar Contigo, which provides mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS), legal advice, and a volunteer accompaniment network for newcomers to the U.S.

Brian Paulson, S.J., President of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, expanded on Ms. Rosenhauer’s achievements:

On behalf of the Society of Jesus and the Board of Directors, I want to express our heartfelt gratitude to Joan Rosenhauer for her exceptional leadership over the past six years.  During this time, the revenue of JRS/USA from public and private sources has increased from $10M annually to $35M, which is extraordinary growth.  Joan has built a wonderful team in the office and on the board and strengthened relationships with global JRS colleagues.  Joan’s deep faith and passion for the Church’s mission to refugees and migrants are inspiring.  We wish her the best in this next chapter.


Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is an international Catholic organization serving refugees and other forcibly displaced people. JRS’s mission is to accompany, serve, and advocate for refugees and other forcibly displaced persons so that they may heal, learn, and determine their future. Founded in 1980, JRS works in 58 countries worldwide to meet the needs of more than 1.5 million refugeesthrough JRS Programs.

Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is a 501(c)(3) organization based in Washington, DC. JRS/USA is a global partner that serves JRS programs and has offices in 58 countries around the world. JRS/USA also sponsors two programs in the U.S., a detention center chaplaincy program and a bi-national program at the U.S./Mexico border supporting forcibly displaced migrants with legal assistance, mental health, and psychosocial support (MHPSS), and a volunteer network across the U.S.

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