NewsAlso in the newsSIGNIS BOD meeting: insights from Bangkok

SIGNIS BOD meeting: insights from Bangkok

The SIGNIS Board of Directors met from November 25th to the 28th in the capital city of Thailand, Bangkok. It being the first in-person meeting since the members were elected in 2022, it was a moment to share the latest updates from each region and also make important decisions to ensure the Association and its members make the most impact on communications around the world. 

The meeting began with an inspiring speech from Dr. Paolo Ruffini, prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication, centered around the importance of communication not only for the Church but to weave communion among the peoples. Dr. Ruffini presented a series of provoking questions to make the attendees reflect on the role of SIGNIS in the realm of international communications and concluded affirming that “There is hope for a different way of communicating. We just need the courage to dream it”.

Dr. Paolo Ruffini, Prefect of the Dicastery for Communication, at the SIGNIS Board of Directors meeting in Bangkok, November 2023. (Photo by Nattha Nuchsuwan / LiCAS News)

His speech was followed by Lawrence (Eljay) John Sinniah, former SIGNIS Vice President, who shared his experience with SIGNIS and invited attendees to “listen to the Spirit, accept new realities, commit to an inclusive approach, and actively engage with young social communicators who are key leaders to lead to finding our passage together”. During this time in Bangkok, Eljay received the title Knight of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St Sylvester, Pope and Martyr (one of the five Orders of Knighthood awarded directly by the Pope), for his contributions to social communication. The title was conferred by Pope Francis and handed to him by Dr. Ruffini. 

The day moved on with a speech from Natasa Govekar, director of the Department of Pastoral Theology in the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication and the Dicastery’s representative for SIGNIS, who offered a historical excursus on World Communications Day on the 60th anniversary of Inter Mirifica, also explaining how differently WCD is celebrated in the different parts of the world. She stressed how this 60th anniversary could be a “kayros”, the right moment, to rediscover the importance of the WCD as a day of prayer and formation for every person of the people of God, which can be summarized in 4 themes: prayer – friendship – communion – initiatives of solidarity. 

Dr. Natasa Govekar, director of the Department of Pastoral Theology in the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication and the Dicastery’s representative for SIGNIS (Photo by Nattha Nuchsuwan /

      SIGNIS around the world: reports from the Regions

One board member from each one of the regions presented the main activities their regions have conducted in the past years. Just to name a few: SIGNIS Africa successfully organized a workshop for Catholic journalists in Africa on effective and efficient reporting on migrants and refugees; SIGNIS Asia offered several online and in-person workshops and conferences touching on different topics like communicating the Gospel with the heart and publishing in the era of new media; SIGNIS North America met with local SIGNIS member to deepen into the Association’s mission and was present at the Catholic Communicators and Journalists at the Catholic Media Conference in Baltimore (United States); SIGNIS Latin America and Caribbean is on a new cycle of educating youth in radio making and production through Radio LíoSIGNIS Pacific has been consistent in the realization of communication workshops for the Pacific Regional seminary; and SIGNIS Europe participated in the Belief on Screen cinema festival and is holding meetings with its members across the continent. SIGNIS International region, while represented, did not present as the region’s board was only recently reanimated in the latter half of 2023.

Carlos Ferraro, president of SIGNIS Latin American and the Caribbean. (Photo by Nattha Nuchsuwan /

      Becoming a working board of directors

SIGNIS President, Helen Osman, presented a proposal to evolve towards a working board of directors. A working board is a group of directors actively participating in the organization’s daily activities. It is a governing board with additional responsibilities: Directors perform their strategic and fiduciary duties as well as participate in the organization’s day-to-day functions. 

The working board will be composed of committees, presided over by the Board members themselves, to best channel the needs of the Association and tackle different areas effectively.

Below, are the committees and their elected chairs:

  • Fundraising, Development & Finance Committee: Mrs. Helen Osman (SIGNIS President).
  • Membership Committee: to be nominated.
  • Production Content Development and Research Committee: Ms. Pam Aleman (SIGNIS North America).
  • Awareness Education and Advocacy Committee: Ms. Agatha Maria Ferei Furivai (SIGNIS Pacific).
  • Governance Committee: to be nominated.
SIGNIS Board of Directors convening at St. John’s parish, Ladprao, Bangkok, November 2023 (Photo by Maria Victoria La Terza)

          Safe environment protocol

The SIGNIS President presented the importance of establishing a safe environment protocol, which shall govern the practices of employees, volunteers, and elected officials in fulfillment of the guidelines given by the Holy Father through the Holy See’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. The primary goal of these policies is to provide a safe environment for children and vulnerable persons by preventing the opportunity for abuse. These protocols provide a framework for SIGNIS World to cooperate with parents, civil authorities, educators and community organizations to make and maintain a safe environment for children and vulnerable persons.

The protocol was unanimously approved and it was established that all regions shall have appointed a safe environment officer and a victims assistance coordinator, preferably from the local Episcopal Conference, by June 2024. By the end of the meeting, all Board members and staff present signed a Code of Conduct in compliance with the new protocol.

Helen Osman, President, SIGNIS World
Helen Osman, president of SIGNIS World (Photo by Nattha Nuchsuwan /

          SIGNIS Desks: an update

SIGNIS programs cover different media and communication fields. For each one of them, there is a special department called “desk”. Desks have Chairs who guide the projects and activities and then include a network of representatives who are members working in different areas across the world.

The desks develop the different media and communication fields, promote the work of members in these fields, and help coordinate meetings and training. During the BOD meeting in Bangkok, the structure and pertinence of the desks were updated, leaving the following desks and chairpersons: 

  • Digital desk: Ms. Pamela Aleman (SIGNIS North America).
  • Journalism desk:  Ms. Adeline James (SIGNIS Asia).
  • Media education desk: Mr. Carlos Ferraro (SIGNIS Latin America and Caribbean).
  • Radio desk: Ms. Agatha Furivai Furivai (SIGNIS Pacific, ad interim).
  • Cinema and television desk: Ms. Adriana Răcășan (SIGNIS Europe). This desk is now merging the original Cinema Desk and Television Desk into a single department, which will combine the SIGNIS initiatives in both areas like the Association’s presence in film festivals around the world and also the development of television seminars and activities alike. 
  • Youth Empowerment desk: Ms. María José Centurión (SIGNIS Vice-President). This brand-new desk is a response to SIGNIS’ intention to involve young people in the Association and its activities. In line with this, the Board approved a program titled “SIGNIS Talent+”.

          SIGNIS Talent+

SIGNIS Talent+ is a primary expression of SIGNIS’ commitment to youth around the world, in all the regions. The program’s mission is to articulate, train and promote among young communicators the experience of a synodality that promotes the realization of the vocation of communicators committed to social transformation, promoting critical thinking, the spirit of leadership and the exchange of ideas and knowledge, with a view to build a more just and supportive world.

The initiative prioritizes youth involvement in the organization through several key strategies. These include increasing youth membership by raising awareness of SIGNIS and integrating new members, providing comprehensive training programs such as CommLabs and young jury training, fostering connections with universities and educational institutions, and establishing a dedicated virtual space on the SIGNIS website for young people worldwide to connect. 

Fr. Stanley Kozhichira, president of SIGNIS Asia. (Photo by Nattha Nuchsuwan /

The overarching objectives of SIGNIS Talent+ involve guiding young individuals in their personal and professional development, aligning with the organization’s mission to promote communication with human and spiritual values. The initiative aims to support youth in navigating the professional landscape beyond the Church, building a global youth membership, and creating a supportive community where young people can express themselves and share ideas. It emphasizes adaptability to meet the evolving needs of the organization at global, regional, and local levels, and brings together young people from different backgrounds, cultures and countries, to work together towards a common goal. 

The SIGNIS Board of Directors meeting in Bangkok was a fruitful occasion for representatives from all regions to gather together and think about the past, present and future of SIGNIS. With the latest decisions that were taken, it is their hope that SIGNIS will maintain its important role in the ever-evolving world of Catholic communications around the world. 

By supporting the work of its members, focusing on training and involving always more youths and women, as the 2022-2026 mandate dictates, SIGNIS hopes to be an ever-present source of hope, inspiration and trust. 

(All photos by Nattha Nuchsuwan /


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