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General Secretariat


The General Secretariat of SIGNIS is the administrative headquarters of the association based in Brussels, Belgium. The Secretariat helps the members of SIGNIS throughout the world to achieve their mission by giving global visibility to their actions, by creating and animating a networking space for them and by looking after the heritage of the association.

The Secretariat is responsible for issuing the publications of the association, specially the long-established quarterly trilingual (English, French and Spanish) magazine, SIGNIS Media and the Annual Report. It also looks after the web portal of the association and sends the trilingual electronic newsletters SIGNIS Webnews and a special one for the TV producers’ community. The presence of SIGNIS on two social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter, is supported from the secretariat as well.

A great deal of the effort of the Secretariat is in support of those who attempt to give voice to the voiceless, to promote interfaith dialogue, to promote a culture of peace, to respect human rights, and to defend the integrity of Creation. The office in Brussels facilitates a vast network by providing trainings and resources for members to analyze better the needs and media preferences of their audiences.

The members of the association are very diverse. Some work in pluralistic societies; others in traditionally Catholic countries, though many are going through great cultural changes in post-modern environments; others work in places in which Christians are minorities or even persecuted. Likewise, economic and cultural realities vary greatly. The Secretariat faces the challenge of supporting members in a wide range of situations, and must take its lead from the needs and priorities of those it seeks to serve.

The work of the office in Brussels is organized in six departments, under the supervision of the Acting Secretary General, Ricardo Yáñez.

The three principal departments are:

  • Communication: to give global visibility to the members 
    • Edgar Rubio, Head of the Department
    • Guido Convents, Editor SIGNIS Media
    • Jim McDonnell, Editorial team SIGNIS Media
    • Pascale Heyrbaut, Layout
    • Isabelle Verbrugge, WebEditor
    • Marc Bourgois, Translation
    • Béatrice Raphel, Translation
    • Alejandro Hernández, Translation
    • Pietro Licata, Mass mailing
  • Members: to create a networking space for members 
    • Secretaries of Desks
      • Guido Convents, Cinema
      • Jim McDonnell, Journalism
      • Fr Fabrizio Colombo, Radio
      • Béatrice Raphel, Media Education
      • Isabelle Verbrugge, TV
    • Projects
      • Béatrice Raphel
      • Alejandro Hernández
    • Members
      • Fabienne Deseau
      • Marc Bourgois
  • Documentation: to manage the heritage of the association 
    • Guido Convents, Head of the Department
    • Fabienne Deseau
    • Pascale Heyrbaut

Supporting the work of these three departments are:

  • Administration: to look after human resources, accounting, office building, general services 
    • Florentina Gonzalo, Head of the Department
    • Fabienne Deseau, General filling
    • Marc Bourgois, Apartments for guests
    • Pietro Licata, IT
  • Fundraising: to ensure the financial support of the association 
    • Ricardo Yáñez, Head of the Department
    • Jim McDonnell
    • Edgar Rubio
  • Representation: to look after the association’s relations with other international entities. 
    • Jim McDonnell, Head of the Department
    • Ricardo Yáñez

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