February 5, 2021 — Joanna Williams has been named the next executive director of the Kino Border Initiative (KBI), a binational humanitarian aid ministry serving migrants on both sides of the U.S.- Mexico border that was founded in 2009 by the then-California Province Jesuits and five other religious groups. On March 1, she will replace Fr. Sean Carroll, SJ, who has been serving in this role for the past 12 years. Last month, Fr. Carroll was named the next provincial of the Jesuits West Province.
Williams has served as the KBI’s Director of Education and Advocacy for nearly six years and in that time has designed and led programs critical to KBI’s mission. She approaches her work with a deep commitment to binational and regional collaboration, including through her leadership role in the advocacy work of the Jesuit Migration Network of Central America and North America. She first joined the KBI community a decade ago when she served as a full-time volunteer for several months. After that experience, she accompanied migrants in a variety of capacities including through Fulbright research on the reintegration of returned and deported migrants in the Mexican states of Jalisco and Puebla and work on the ACLU of Arizona’s border rights program. She has a bachelor’s in international culture and politics from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and a master’s in public policy from Arizona State University.
“I am grateful to the Kino Border Initiative for the opportunity to serve as its executive director,” said Williams. “I am constantly inspired and challenged by how firmly KBI is rooted in accompaniment of migrants and by our creative ways of working towards a more humane and just approach to migration through humanitarian assistance, education, and research and advocacy. I look forward to helping to continue to fulfill the KBI’s mission along the U.S.-Mexico border.”
“I am so excited about Joanna becoming the KBI’s next executive director,” said Fr. Carroll. “She brings a wealth of experience to her new position from her work in education and advocacy. She combines a keen intellect with a deep love for our mission and for the migrant men, women and children we serve. She will be a great leader for our binational migrant ministry.”
Fr. Carroll’s last day at the KBI will be March 21, 2021, and on July 31, 2021, he will begin his new ministry as provincial of the Jesuits West Province. [Source: Kino Border Initiative]