Originally from Bolivia, Cecilia Barja Chamas is passionate about working for the dignity and inclusion of all. Since 2021, Cecilia has been working for the Listening and Dialogue Section of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development. She is engaged in supporting the local churches and Episcopal Conferences in Latin America in the spheres of human rights, health, justice, peace, economy and work, as well as in efforts to care for our “common home” and to address the migration and other humanitarian emergencies.
In 1999, she co-founded the political party “Movimiento Sin Miedo” and was elected the youngest city councilwoman in La Paz at the age of 23. In 2008, she coordinated Magis Americas in New York, mobilising resources for “Fe y Alegría”, a Jesuit network of 3000 schools in 17 Latin American countries.
From 2010 to 2016, she was a member of Fundación Avina in Colombia, leading cross-sector alliances in six Amazonian countries and the peace process in rural areas of Colombia. In September 2017, Cecilia joined the North Carolina Congress of Latino Organizations as a community organizer This grassroots network builds relationships between races and religions on issues of common concern such as housing and education.
She was a board member of Nativa, working for sustainability in the Gran Chaco Biome, Vice-Chair of El Futuro, a non-profit clinic providing culturally responsive mental health services for Spanish-speaking immigrants, and a member of the Parish Council of Immaculate Conception Church in Durham, North Carolina. She is currently working as regional coordinator for the Americas. Cecilia holds a Master’s degree in public administration from Harvard Kennedy School, has three lovely kids, and a supportive husband.