Our Chief Executive, Duncan Lewis, was elected as a Councillor of Emmaus International (CEI) at the Emmaus Europe General Assembly in Romania recently.

Duncan, who has been at the helm of Emmaus Hertfordshire for two and a half years, was one of 14 candidates from across Europe standing for election to the 12 posts at the assembly held in the city of Iasi.

Duncan and the 11 other successfully elected members act as representatives for the Emmaus Europe Board (Regional Council) and the Emmaus International Board.

Commenting on his achievement, Duncan said: “It was great to be elected. I’ve only been with Emmaus for a couple of years and a lot of people who stood have been with Emmaus for a long time, so I was really pleased.

“I’d been interested in the organisation internationally ever since I went out to Uruguay to the Global Assembly in May 2022. That opened my eyes to how big Emmaus is globally and to the potential there.

“My new role means there is more opportunity for the UK to influence and participate in issues at European level in particular, so it’s a good thing if we are represented on the Board.

“In the hustings I said my motivations were very much driven by seeing the potential that Emmaus has at international level from when I went out to Uruguay. While what we do is great, we can do even more. In terms of what difference I hoped to make, it was very much about taking the UK closer to what Europe is doing.”

Duncan added: “It’s a nice thing for me and hopefully it’s a useful thing for the community here because there’ll be ideas and things that I see that I can bring back here. I’m looking forward to getting stuck in and I think once I’ve done six months I’ll have a much better feel for what it involves. I’m really looking forward to working with the other execs on the board.

“The next Emmaus International meeting is likely to be in Africa so it will be really interesting to go out and see how Emmaus works in Africa. The first meeting of the European Executive Committee is in Paris in January, so I’m looking forward to that as well.”

Candidates had to supply their CV and a cover letter saying why they wanted to stand, supplementing this with letters of support from their communities and national executive leaders. They each gave a speech at the assembly held in October, before votes were cast.

Duncan will be working on different European-wide projects and for the next two and a half years will attend all Emmaus Europe and Emmaus International Board meetings.

Looking ahead to the New Year, Duncan said: “One of the first opportunities for us to do something that aligns with the rest of Europe is the 70th Anniversary of the ‘Uprising of Kindness’ in February, so we’ll be aiming to coordinate with what’s going on in Europe here in our community.”

The ‘Uprising of Kindness’ refers to Emmaus founder Abbé Pierre’s call for solidarity in helping homeless and destitute people in Paris on Radio Luxembourg on February 1, 1954. The 70th anniversary of this call for solidarity is commemorated this year by a series of cultural events.

Pictured: Duncan making his winning election speech.