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Sean Callahan

President and CEO

Sean Callahan is president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. A 28-year veteran of CRS, Sean, had held a wide variety of leadership roles overseas and at agency headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland.

Sean’s previous role

For the past 5 years, Sean served as the chief operating officer for CRS, responsible for Overseas Operations, U.S. Operations and Human Resources. In this role, he ensured CRS’ commitment to its mission to cherish, preserve and uphold the sacredness and dignity of all human life, foster charity and justice, and embody Catholic social and moral teaching. He enhanced performance, stimulated innovation and positioned CRS for the future.

Sean’s commitment to CRS

As executive vice president for Overseas Operations from June 2004 to September 2012. Sean provided oversight for a program and management portfolio that grew to more than $700 million, serving people in more than 100 countries and engaging a team of more than 5,000 staff.

As regional director for South Asia from January 1998 to May 2004, Sean strengthened CRS’ programming and partnerships in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal. He worked closely with Saint Teresa of Calcutta and the Missionaries of Charity, represented CRS at the Asian Bishops Synod in 1998, and led the regional response to floods, droughts, earthquakes, cyclones and man-made emergencies. He experienced a terrorist attack by the Tamil Tigers at a Sri Lankan airport, and championed programming in Afghanistan during and after the Taliban’s rule.

Prior to his assignment to South Asia, he served as director of Human Resources at CRS world headquarters in Baltimore. Before that, he served as director of the CRS Nicaragua program, and worked in West, Central and Southern Africa and in Costa Rica. 

Education and other roles

Sean holds a master’s degree in law and diplomacy from Tufts University, where he also received a bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, in Spanish.

Sean is first vice president of Caritas Internationalis (2015-2019), and he serves on the Executive Board and Representative Council of Caritas Internationalis (2011‒2019). He is the president of Caritas North America (2015‒2019), and he serves on the Board of Trustees for Catholic Charities USA (2014‒present). 

More about Sean

Sean and his wife Piyali have two children, Sahana and Ryan. Sean is a member of the Church of the Resurrection in Ellicott City, Maryland.