Author Topic: LIRS Appoints Krish O’Mara Vignarajah as President and CEO  (Read 9755 times)

mj4

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LIRS Appoints Krish O’Mara Vignarajah as President and CEO
« on: February 13, 2019, 12:51:08 PM »
Prayers and best wishes for LIRS and their new president and CEO.

Baltimore—LIRS (Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service) is excited to announce the appointment of Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, former Policy Director to First Lady Michelle Obama, as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective February 13, 2019.

https://www.lirs.org/lirs-appoints-krish-vignarajah-as-president-and-ceo/

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Re: LIRS Appoints Krish O’Mara Vignarajah as President and CEO
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2019, 01:15:26 PM »
Prayers and best wishes for LIRS and their new president and CEO.

Baltimore—LIRS (Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service) is excited to announce the appointment of Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, former Policy Director to First Lady Michelle Obama, as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective February 13, 2019.

https://www.lirs.org/lirs-appoints-krish-vignarajah-as-president-and-ceo/

Exactly the same sentiment from me!

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Re: LIRS Appoints Krish O’Mara Vignarajah as President and CEO
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2019, 01:18:07 PM »
Ok, so if the leader of the place is no longer a Lutheran, and her primary resume point is former political apparatchik to a Democract first lady, who do we petition to get the organization to remove Lutheran from its name as no longer meaningful?

Charles Austin

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Re: LIRS Appoints Krish O’Mara Vignarajah as President and CEO
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2019, 01:30:42 PM »
Why would you say her “primary resume point” is her prior association? Would you not think she has some other qualifications?
LCMS representatives are on the board, presumably they considered her qualifications and voted for her.
And why would it automatically be considered non-Lutheran?
Your response doesn’t seem very charitable towards the people in the ELCA and the LCMS who have been chosen to lead our refugee services organization.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Say what you will about polls, but all current polls show that a significant majority of Americans agree with the things I have been saying in this modest form.

mj4

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Re: LIRS Appoints Krish O’Mara Vignarajah as President and CEO
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2019, 01:34:55 PM »
Ok, so if the leader of the place is no longer a Lutheran, and her primary resume point is former political apparatchik to a Democract first lady, who do we petition to get the organization to remove Lutheran from its name as no longer meaningful?

Maybe you should give her a chance, Pr. Brown.

Before the White House, she served as Senior Advisor at the State Department under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of State John Kerry, where she coordinated development and implementation of multiple programs including those concerning refugees and migration, engagement with religious communities, the legal dimensions of U.S. foreign policy, and regional issues relating to Africa and the Middle East.

Prior to working in government, Krish worked at McKinsey & Company, practiced law at Jenner & Block in Washington, D.C., clerked for Chief Judge Michael Boudin on the U.S. Court of Appeals, studied at Yale for college and law school and at Oxford University as a Marshall Scholar, and taught international law at Georgetown University as an adjunct professor.

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Re: LIRS Appoints Krish O’Mara Vignarajah as President and CEO
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2019, 01:37:57 PM »
 Wow! That’s some resume, at least in my not so humble opinion.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Say what you will about polls, but all current polls show that a significant majority of Americans agree with the things I have been saying in this modest form.

Mark Brown

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Re: LIRS Appoints Krish O’Mara Vignarajah as President and CEO
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2019, 03:07:34 PM »
Why would you say her “primary resume point” is her prior association? Would you not think she has some other qualifications?
LCMS representatives are on the board, presumably they considered her qualifications and voted for her.
And why would it automatically be considered non-Lutheran?
Your response doesn’t seem very charitable towards the people in the ELCA and the LCMS who have been chosen to lead our refugee services organization.

I wish Charles could actually read. 

Primary resume point is what is lead with.  And the press release leads with "former policy director for first lady Michele Obama".  It does not deny that their may still be secondary, tertiary or even quaternary points, merely that the one they chose to trumpet and blurb was that one.

The press release also trumpets her non-lutheranism as a superlative thing, " a next generation leader—the second refugee and first non-Lutheran in its 80-year history."  Iron rule of religious organizations, when they stop hiring their adherents they no longer believe in the source of their mission.

I'm sure she will do an excellent job at what she was hired to do.  Which based on her experience is: staff a minor if strategic NGO, from which she will no doubt take a nice paycheck, and use it to further as far as possible DNC goals on immigration. As far as you think the DNC goals equal the goals of the church, she will do an excellent job.

As far as being charitable I suppose there is some vestigial LCMS interest in this, although I wouldn't use the pronoun our.  I see the name Benke (Judith) from Oakland Gardens as Executive Board at Large, and I see an at-large member from the LCMS, but really, the connection is minor at best.  It is more cover for the real mission which is more than evident in who they chose to hire.  But all of that is mean pre-judging.  So "Yeah! Great Hire!  May God provide."

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Re: LIRS Appoints Krish O’Mara Vignarajah as President and CEO
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2019, 03:13:17 PM »

Unfortunately, this is where the immigration discussion has ended up in this country.  It has become so politicized that whoever was appointed to this position their appointment would be suspected as being politically motivated and their every action examined for political bias.


I don't think that either the Right's or the Left's hands are clean in this.  With calls from the Democratic Left to abolish ICE and completely defund the Department of Homeland Security (later walked back) and xenophobic mouthings from the Right, reasonable discussion and advocacy has been poisoned.  Reasonable policies become impossible because the opinion makers on the far right and far left see anything reasonable as a betrayal of "The Cause."


Similar dysfunction has afflicted the gun control debate.  The NRA has felt it necessary to oppose universal background checks, something that the vast majority of Americans, including gun owners, find at least in principle reasonable or even necessary, while gun control advocates push for laws to make it very difficult to own or use guns for sport or self defense.


Give Vignarajah a chance!  She may end up trying to turn LIRS into a Democratic Party auxiliary, if so then is the time to complain and if necessary remove support.  She may well not.


And no, the only reasonable position on immigration is not that of the left wing of the Democratic Party.  Or the right wing of the Republican.


Reasona
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Charles Austin

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Re: LIRS Appoints Krish O’Mara Vignarajah as President and CEO
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2019, 04:43:43 PM »
Mark Brown writes:
I wish Charles could actually read. 
Primary resume point is what is lead with.  And the press release leads with "former policy director for first lady Michele Obama".  It does not deny that their may still be secondary, tertiary or even quaternary points, merely that the one they chose to trumpet and blurb was that one.
I comment:
Never written a press release or a news story, have you? The lead (or "lede" as we used to have it), in a story like this one is the most interesting or dramatic point, the one that will most likely grab the reader's attention. So the new director's former post in the White House is what comes first. That's not necessarily what the organization considered the most important part of her resume.

Mark Brown writes:
The press release also trumpets her non-lutheranism as a superlative thing, " a next generation leader—the second refugee and first non-Lutheran in its 80-year history."  Iron rule of religious organizations, when they stop hiring their adherents they no longer believe in the source of their mission.
I comment:
And who makes the "iron rule"? Not you. To say that we no longer believe in the mission of LIRS because a non-Lutheran heads it doesn't compute.

Mark Brown writes:
I'm sure she will do an excellent job at what she was hired to do.  Which based on her experience is: staff a minor if strategic NGO, from which she will no doubt take a nice paycheck, and use it to further as far as possible DNC goals on immigration. As far as you think the DNC goals equal the goals of the church, she will do an excellent job.
I comment:
Cynical and bitter, are you? Why?
And what gives you standing to even casually project how she will use her salary? BTW, LIRS is not "the Church," it is a social service agency doing the work we believe our faith calls us to do and witnessing through service - not preaching and presiding - to the Gospel.

Mark Brown writes:
As far as being charitable I suppose there is some vestigial LCMS interest in this, although I wouldn't use the pronoun our.
I comment:
"Vestigial"? How do you determine that? LIRS is an agency where the ELCA and LCMS are full, cooperative members and equal shares in leadership.

Mark Brown:
I see the name Benke (Judith) from Oakland Gardens as Executive Board at Large, and I see an at-large member from the LCMS, but really, the connection is minor at best.
Me:
Just how do you determine that LCMS involvement is "minor at best"? Because one of your big-wigs isn't present? And are you sure one wasn't? Why do you devalue the presence and service of LCMS persons? Just because you might disagree with one of their decisions? That's absurd.

Mark Brown:
It is more cover for the real mission which is more than evident in who they chose to hire.  But all of that is mean pre-judging.  So "Yeah! Great Hire!  May God provide."
Me:
So tell us, O great sage, what the "real mission" that is "more than evident" might be. How have you determined the "real mission" of Lutheran resettlement work, which has been going on for almost 100 years? The work is resettling refugees and caring for those who must flee their homelands or seek a better life in another part of the world. That's the mission. Now you tell me how it has been compromised.
A "minor NGO"? (Your particular slander) No. If you walk into the Geneva office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and say you are from the Lutherans, you get immediate entry and respect because of that simple word - Lutheran.
Pardon my heat on this.
I have personally seen LIRS work all over this country and Lutheran refugee resettlement work in other parts of the world.
I watched us resettle Vietnamese refugees fleeing the aftermath of the war.
I saw us resettle Ugandans when the dictator Idi Amin threw them out of the land that was their home, although they were ethnically subcontinent Indian.
A police captain in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, was about to arrest me for taking pictures of the harbor (forbidden, but I didn't know that), but when I said I was there to visit Lutheran World Relief projects, he excitedly explained how Lutherans helped resettle him and his family when they were refugees 20 years previously. He not only didn't arrest me, he provided me with security that night because the hotel I was staying in was not totally safe.
We and our various partners in work with migrants and refugees provide incredible help for people, many of them who would die if they could not get the help we provide.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2019, 09:25:35 PM by Charles Austin »
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Say what you will about polls, but all current polls show that a significant majority of Americans agree with the things I have been saying in this modest form.

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Re: LIRS Appoints Krish O’Mara Vignarajah as President and CEO
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2019, 05:22:40 PM »

Mark Brown writes:
As far as being charitable I suppose there is some vestigial LCMS interest in this, although I wouldn't use the pronoun our.
I comment:
"Vestigial"? How do you determine that? LIRS is an agency where the ELCA and ELCA are full, cooperative members and equal shares in leadership.

Charles, I'm sure that this is not what you really meant.  You might want to fix your response.


I'm not sure what slice of the LIRS mission is refugee settlement and aid and what part is advocacy and lobbying.  Both are important parts of a mission to refugees.  But it will be interesting what kind of advocacy and lobbying the LIRS will be doing under Pres. Vignarajah.
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Re: LIRS Appoints Krish O’Mara Vignarajah as President and CEO
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2019, 05:27:23 PM »

Mark Brown writes:
As far as being charitable I suppose there is some vestigial LCMS interest in this, although I wouldn't use the pronoun our.
I comment:
"Vestigial"? How do you determine that? LIRS is an agency where the ELCA and ELCA are full, cooperative members and equal shares in leadership.

Charles, I'm sure that this is not what you really meant.  You might want to fix your response.


I'm not sure what slice of the LIRS mission is refugee settlement and aid and what part is advocacy and lobbying.  Both are important parts of a mission to refugees.  But it will be interesting what kind of advocacy and lobbying the LIRS will be doing under Pres. Vignarajah.

I think we might call that a Kinsley gaffe.  Accidentally stating the truth.

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Re: LIRS Appoints Krish O’Mara Vignarajah as President and CEO
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2019, 09:28:05 PM »
Trust certain folks here to pounce on an obvious typographical error rather than pay attention to the substance of the issue. But to satisfy those whose abilities at textual criticism (can't have that, can we?), even of online postings, are stunted, I fixed the post.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Say what you will about polls, but all current polls show that a significant majority of Americans agree with the things I have been saying in this modest form.

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Re: LIRS Appoints Krish O’Mara Vignarajah as President and CEO
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2019, 10:15:24 PM »

Typographical errors are easy to make, especially with online posting.  I frequently post on my iPad using the onscreen keyboard which is especially prone to typos.  I generally do not mind gentle warnings that I goofed, but perhaps that is too harsh for some who prefer to let others guess what they really meant to say.


I'm not sure what it means to have a non-Lutheran head the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, but since this is a service agency and not a theological endeavor, if the person is knowledgeable and capable and not anti-Lutheran I suspect not much.  The purpose is to serve immigrants and refugees so if the person who is the executive in charge is not Lutheran but knows immigration and refugees, why would that be a big problem?  I don't think that we have a distinctly Lutheran perspective on these matters.


I am neither an expert on LIRS nor on immigration and refugee matters.  Few would say that the current way we have of dealing with these matter is very effective or beneficial, either for our nation or for those driven by whatever reason to seek such admission.  There are certainly reasons to prevent some who seek to cross our borders from doing so and to deport them if they do.  But the majority do not pose such a threat.  Somehow we need to get past the partisan bickering and gamesmanship that has come to characterize these issues from both the right and the left.


I am not an expert on the LIRS but from what I saw about advocacy from the website, they are not wild eyed radicals that want an end to ICE or border controls, but rather common sense and humane processes that have been shown to be effective.  It certainly remains to be seen if the new CEO Vignarajah will attempt to turn LIRS into an auxiliary for the DNC, but is that likely?  I don't know.  Let's not assume the worst until there is clear indications that there is a problem.


Immigration and refugees should not be a particularly partisan issue.  Lives really are at stake, both those who already live in the US and those driven to seek entrance here.  Isn't it really too important to play political gamesmanship?  But both sides of the aisle seem intent on doing just that.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2019, 10:21:25 PM by Dan Fienen »
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Re: LIRS Appoints Krish O’Mara Vignarajah as President and CEO
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2019, 11:59:26 PM »
Trust certain folks here to pounce on an obvious typographical error rather than pay attention to the substance of the issue. But to satisfy those whose abilities at textual criticism (can't have that, can we?), even of online postings, are stunted, I fixed the post.

Trust "journalists" to to resort to the conservatives pounce cliche.

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Re: LIRS Appoints Krish O’Mara Vignarajah as President and CEO
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2019, 09:09:02 AM »

I'm not sure what it means to have a non-Lutheran head the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, but since this is a service agency and not a theological endeavor, if the person is knowledgeable and capable and not anti-Lutheran I suspect not much.  The purpose is to serve immigrants and refugees so if the person who is the executive in charge is not Lutheran but knows immigration and refugees, why would that be a big problem?  I don't think that we have a distinctly Lutheran perspective on these matters.

Agreed.  The Lutheran theological perspective that informs social ministry/social service is outlined by Lutheran Services in America in this pamphlet prepared for the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation:  http://www.lutheranservices.org/sites/default/files/LSA_Reformation%20Brochure_FNL.pdf.  Understanding that perspective is necessary for leadership of a Lutheran organization because of the composition of the board, and because of the collaborative partnership with Lutheran denominations.  From the Missouri Synod side, this involves "cooperation in externals," apart from inter-communion and full church fellowship. 

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