FI New York
Executive Director, Markus Heinze OFM
Mr Markus Heinze is the Executive Director of Franciscans International.
After joining the Friars Minor (OFM) in 1980, Mr Heinze studied Theology in Freiburg (Germany) and Luzern (Switzerland). After a stint as a parish priest in Salmünster (Germany), he moved to Frankfurt where, for almost twenty years, he engaged in social work. This spanned from supporting children and youth from migrant families, to voluntary pastoral work in prisons, in houses hosting people with HIV/AIDS, and in homeless centres.
From 2003 to 2010 Mr Heinze served as the Coordinator for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) for the Friars Minor in Western Europe and globally as part of the Animation Committee for JPIC. In the same period, he was also appointed as a member of the International Board of Directors of Franciscans International.
Before becoming Executive Director in 2015, Mr Heinze served as Franciscans International Regional Director for Africa and Europe and as Transition Manager.
To contact Mr Markus Heinze, please write to m.heinze[at]franciscansinternational.org
International Advocacy Director, Sandra Epal-Ratjen
Ms Sandra Epal-Ratjen is the International Advocacy Director and Deputy Executive Director of Franciscans International.
She has extensive experience and expertise in international legal and advocacy processes, especially pertaining Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Prior to her position as International Advocacy Director, Ms Epal-Ratjen served as Senior Legal Advisor in the Legal and Policy Office of the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) in Geneva, heading the Program on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Before joining the ICJ, she worked for over 10 years for Food First Information and Action Network (FIAN) International—an international NGO specialized on the right to adequate food.
Ms Epal-Ratjen holds a Master’s degree in Public Law and International Relations from the University of Grenoble, France. She has published extensively on the issues of human rights, development and access to justice, and regularly lectures at universities and academic institutions—e.g. The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, the University of Neuchâtel, the American University Washington College of Law, and others.
To contact Ms Sandra Epal-Ratjen, please write to s.epal-ratjen[at]franciscansinternational.org
Institutional Development Manager, Cédric Chatelanat
Mr Cédric Chatelanat is the Institutional Development Manager at Franciscans International.
Prior to joining Franciscans International, Mr Chatelanat was Program Manager and Coordinator from 2013 to 2016 at Codap, a youth organization specialized in capacity building for young human rights activists, on topics such as international human rights law, project management, communication and group dynamics. Human rights advocacy was also part of his mandate, as he assisted grassroots organizations submitting reports to various UN human rights bodies.
Mr Chatelanat holds a Master’s degree in European Studies from the European Institute, Geneva, as well as a Certificate in adult education and training. He is fluent in French, English and German. He also speaks Italian.
To contact Mr Cédric Chatelanat, please write to c.chatelanat[at]franciscansinternational.org
Asia-Pacific Program Coordinator, Budi Tjahjono
With over fifteen years of experience in human rights advocacy both at the United Nations and in the field, Mr Budi Tjahjono is the Asia-Pacific Program Coordinator and Deputy Advocacy Director at Franciscans International.
Prior to his current position, he served as the Secretary General of the International Catholic Center of Geneva, worked with International Catholic Movement for Intellectual and Cultural Affairs in Geneva, and with the International Movement of Catholic Students in Paris.
Mr Tjahjono held academic positions at Sanata Dharma University (Indonesia) and Monash University (Australia). He also published extensively on the impact of climate change and of natural resources extraction on human rights, as well as on human rights of refugees and asylum seekers in the Asia-Pacific region.
Mr Tjahjono holds a Master degree in Development Studies from The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Switzerland.
To contact Mr Budi Tjahjono, please write to b.tjahjono[at]franciscansinternational.org
Americas Program Coordinator, Ulises Quero
Mr Alberto Ulises Quero Garcia is the Americas Program Coordinator of Franciscans International.
Prior to joining Franciscans International, Mr Quero was the Geneva liaison of the Mexican Commission for the Defence and Promotion of Human Rights (CMDPDH). Before joining the CMDPDH, he ran the UPR Programme at the International, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA). He also worked at the Special Prosecutor of Crimes Against Women and Human in Trafficking of the Mexican General Attorney’s Office and as a research assistant at the National Institute of Criminal Sciences. He has also been involved in the submission of amicus curiae before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. He has published on issues related to international criminal law and international human rights law.
Mr Quero holds a Master’s degree in International Law from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies and a Law degree from the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
To contact Mr Quero, please write to u.quero[at]franciscansinternational.org
Africa Program Coordinator, Mickaël Repellin
Mr Mickaël Repellin is the Africa Program Coordinator at Franciscans International
Prior to joining Franciscans International, Mr. Repellin was Training Manager and Coordinator from 2016 to 2019 at Codap, the youth resource center for human rights, a youth organization specialized in capacity building for young human rights activists, on topics such as international human rights law, project management, communication and group dynamics. Human rights advocacy was also part of his mandate, as he assisted grassroots organizations submitting reports to various UN human rights bodies.
Mr Repellin holds Masters’ degrees in international and environmental law from Panthéon-Sorbonne and Panthéon-Assas Universities, as well as the French certificate to practice Law. He is fluent in French, English and Spanish. He also speaks Portuguese.
To contact Mr Repellin, please write to m.repellin[at]franciscansinternational.org
Representative at the UN in New York, Marya Farah
Marya Farah is the UN Representative for Franciscans International in New York.
Prior to joining Franciscans International, Ms Farah worked with Al-Haq, a human rights organization based in the occupied Palestinian territory on topics including business and human rights, forcible transfer, and accountability. Ms Farah has also worked with the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva and Cairo, and with other organizations in the Middle East region on issues related to human rights and refugees.
Ms Farah received a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Miami, a Master of Public Policy from the University of Chicago, and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan.
To contact Ms Marya Farah, please write to m.farah[at]franciscansinternational.org
Finance and Human Resources Officer, Lourdes Briones
Ms Lourdes Briones is the Finance and Human Resources Officer at Franciscans International.
Before coming to Franciscans International, Ms Briones worked for the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and the International AIDS Society. She enjoys working in multicultural environments and is proud to be supporting the movement to defend human rights and the environment.
Ms Briones studied Anthropology and Literature in University of Bern and holds a graduate degree in International Relations from the University of Geneva.
To contact Ms Lourdes Briones, please write to l.briones[at]franciscansinternational.org
Communications Officer, Thomas Kleinveld
Mr Kleinveld is the Communications Officer at Franciscans International.
He has extensive experience in multimedia, design, video, photography, and editing—both with civil society organizations and as a freelance journalist.
Prior to joining Franciscans International, Mr Kleinveld worked as Communications Officer for the Uganda-based East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project, Trac FM, and the Netherlands Debating Institute. His journalistic portfolio includes Deutsche Welle, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, and One World Magazine.
Mr Kleinveld holds a dual Master’s degree in Journalism, Media, and Globalization and Financial Journalism from Aarhus University, the University of California (Berkeley), and City University London. He is fluent in English and Dutch.
To contact Mr Thomas Kleinveld, please write to t.kleinveld[at]franciscansinternational.org
Outreach Officer, Benedict Ayodi OFMCap
Brother Benedict Ayodi is the Outreach Officer at Franciscans International. He is a Capuchin Franciscan friar.
After his ordination he worked as a curate in a parish while serving as the regional director of the Damietta Peace Initiative (DPI), a grassroots-based peace project promoting the values of justice, peace, interfaith dialogue and care for the environment in Eastern Africa.
Br. Benedict served for six years as the director of the international office of Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) for the Capuchin Franciscans in Rome. In the same period he was appointed to the International Board of Directors of the Franciscans International.
Since the inception of the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) in 2015, he served on its steering committee until 2020. Before joining Franciscans International Benedict was the Program Manager of the GCCM for Africa.
Br. Benedict holds a Master’s degree in International Affairs from the New School University in New York and he is currently a PhD student in Organizational Development in a Manila university. Being a Capuchin Franciscan friar, Benedict follows in the footsteps of Saint Francis by promoting and advocating for the values of justice, peace, and care for creation.
To contact Br. Benedict, please write to b.ayodi[at]franciscansinternational.org