Former Director, Catholic Relief Services, Haiti
Director, Catholic Relief Services, South Africa
Based in Johannesburg, Karel is currently CRS’ Country Representative for South Africa with a responsibility for outreach CRS programs in Botswana, Namibia and Swaziland that mainly address the HIV and AIDS pandemic in the poorest areas of the countries, and the structural issues that make people vulnerable to the virus. In addition, CRS provides technical and financial support to Catholic Church’s activities in the areas of reconciliation, justice and peace in the region.
Karel, who is multi-lingual, has over 20 years of experience in emergency response saving lives and providing vital supplies to survivors of natural and man-made disasters. His assignments took him to the war-torn former Yugoslavia, Middle and Far East, the Caribbean and Africa including Sudan and Zimbabwe. After the fall of the Iron Curtain, Karel spearheaded revival and strengthening of Catholic Church’s social-development organizations called Caritas (“Love”) in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.
Born and raised in Prague, the Czech Republic, Karel came to the US after the “Prague Spring” in 1968 and studied at the Fletcher School (Tufts University) in Boston. Following his doctorate in international economics, Karel worked for a couple of US-based multinational companies before joining CRS.