Brussels, July 14th, 2017 (SIGNIS). US communication expert Helen Osman has been elected as the new President of SIGNIS (World Catholic Association for Communication) by its Assembly of Delegates, held in Québec City, Canada, on June 22.
She will be joined in her four-year term by Vice Presidents Lawrence John Sinniah of Malaysia and Father Paul Samasumo of Zambia. In addition, Ricardo Yáñez, from Argentina, was elected Secretary General and Emmanuel Bonnet, of France, is the new General Treasurer. Fr. Luis García Orso of Mexico, appointed by the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life on 5th August 2015, completes the SIGNIS officers team.
Father Samasumo, head of Vatican Radio’s English Africa section, becomes the first African to hold one of the top three positions on the Board of the World Catholic Association for Communication while Lawrence John Sinniah was re-elected for a second term as Vice President.
Osman is an internationally recognized journalist, writer and communications professional. When elected president, she became the first woman and first North American to hold this position in SIGNIS.
Osman has held different responsibilities in the field of Catholic communication in the United States for over 30 years. After serving as editor and communications director in her home diocese of Austin, Texas, for more than 20 years, she was tapped to be the chief communication officer of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. She worked with the Bishops’ Conference for eight years, and was responsible for organizing media preparations for the visits of Pope Benedict XVI in 2008 and of Pope Francis in 2015. Osman also served on the communication team for the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew during the pan-Orthodox Council of 2016.
Among other positions and responsibilities, Helen Osman has been secretary and president of the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada, the only person in the history of the Catholic Academy of Communication Arts Professionals to receive its Clarion Award more than once and a recipient of the CPA’s lifetime achievement honor, the St. Francis de Sales Award. Helen has been a strong supporter of the newly formed SIGNIS North America.
Forty-four delegates from five continents took part in the election which was held following the SIGNIS World Congress, held at Laval University, Québec City, Canada from June 19 - 21.
Helen Osman succeeds Gustavo Andújar of Cuba who was elected at the previous SIGNIS World Congress in Rome (2014). Gustavo did not seek re-election.
As President of SIGNIS, Helen Osman will focus on strengthening the Association so that members can communicate their inspiration and ideas more effectively, and thus put into practice the mission of SIGNIS “to transform our cultures in the light of the Gospel.”