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March 8, 2019

The Holy See Mission Sends
Off a Valued Collaborator



On March 17, Timothy Herrmann, who for four years has worked as a negotiator for the Holy See's Mission to the UN will be leaving his role in New York to take up a position in the diplomatic section of the Secretariat of State  at the Vatican. Tim has made a considerable and lasting contribution through his work on behalf of the Holy See at the UN, particularly as lead negotiator on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. We interviewed him as he prepared for the transition.

What was your journey to the Holy See Mission?
I studied political science at the University of California at Berkeley and then did my Master’s in International Affairs at the Catholic University of Milan. Then I received a Fulbright in Medellín, Colombia where I worked on a thesis on Regional Integration in Latin America and taught English at the University of Antioquia. I later spent one year in seminary and studied at the John Paul II Institute on Marriage and the Family, which was helpful for my work here. After seminary, I worked in humanitarian aid, doing small grants for health and education for the Association of Volunteers for International Service (AVSI).
Back in 2007 I had been an intern for a Catholic NGO at the UN and was exposed to the work of the Holy See and thought, “Wouldn’t that be a great job!” Then seven years later, a good friend told me about an open position at the Mission and  Archbishop Auza hired me. Up to that point, I had studied international institutes and had studied and worked in Latin America so I was always interested in working in diplomacy.
What have you been doing at the Mission the past four years?
For the past four years, I’ve worked as a negotiator for the Holy See Mission, covering various human rights issues, focusing a lot on migration and development.
What are some highlights of your time at the mission?
The biggest thing for me was cultivating the relationships with delegations here from different regions and developing those important relations for the Mission.
The most significant thing I worked on was the Global Compact for Migration and being part of the High Level Delegation from the Holy See at its adoption in Marrakesh, Morocco.
I also loved the experiences I have had working here. I love the people at the Mission. It is true that we work as diplomats, but it also is true that working here is working as a family. The UN is my work but the Mission feels like my home.
What will you miss most?
It would be my friends here and my friends at the Mission by far. I will miss going to UN everyday and helping to represent the Holy Father. That has been such a privilege and I feel very fulfilled. I will really miss being here. It’s such a good place.
What will your new role be?
I will be working at the Secretariat of State within the Section for Relations with States with what could be understood as their multilateral affairs division.  I will be working as a “minutante,” which is essentially a desk officer position. I will have a portfolio of issues that includes migration matters, internal displacement and most likely the Organization of American States and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

What are you most looking forward to in your transition to the Vatican?
I’m looking forward to participating in the Holy See’s diplomatic work in a new way. At the UN we are focused on the issues within the context of the UN, but when I get to the Vatican, I will be looking at the same issues from a broader perspective on how they matter for the Church around the world.