JRS UK welcomes its new Director

Sarah Teather with Pope Francis at the audience for JRS' 35 years of service, L'Osservatore Romano
Sarah Teather with Pope Francis at the audience for JRS' 35 years of service, L'Osservatore Romano

The Jesuit Refugee Service in the UK (JRS UK) today welcomed its new Country Director. Sarah Teather is taking over from Louise Zanré who has decided to step down after 16 years but will be staying on as part of the team - in a policy/communications role.

Sarah Teather is joining JRS UK following a short contract with the Rome office of JRS International. This work took her all over the world, including the Middle East, East Africa and the Western Balkans, visiting projects in field and meeting refugees, staff and volunteers.  Prior to that, Sarah served for 12 years as a Member of Parliament in inner London, including for a while as a Government Minister. She was the Children’s Minister from 2010-2012, with responsibility for special educational needs, child poverty, early years and family policy; she also served on a select committee on human rights.  When in Government, Sarah led the negotiations to stop the detention of children in the immigration system and set up a new way to work with families whose applications to remain in the UK had been turned down. 

Migration is the issue of our age

On taking up her appointment as Country Director for JRS UK, Sarah says that she feels hugely blessed and is looking forward to getting to know the staff and volunteer team and the refugees whom it serves. "An increasing number of people are forced from their homes around the world and many of those seeking sanctuary in the UK are in urgent need of support,” she says. “Forced migration is really the issue of our age presenting new and old challenges for how we should respond.

“JRS is a unique organisation – serving and accompanying some of the most vulnerable and forgotten people in the UK and connected to a wider organisation working in crisis points internationally. I am excited to be joining the UK team at this point and look forward to bringing our experience of accompanying refugees to collaborations with others who also share our vision of welcome and hospitality."

Read Sarah's profile >>