Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service welcomed Linda Hartke as president and CEO in February 2010. Linda brings decades of experience in human rights work and a lifelong commitment to LIRS’s core values.
Linda’s leadership experience is exemplified by her 2001 – 2009 service as the executive director of the Geneva-based Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, a global network of churches and agencies engaged in advocacy on common concerns. She has also served on boards and advisory councils for a number of organizations including the World AIDS Campaign, the Rose Marie Khoo Foundation and Amnesty International USA.
While serving as chief of staff to Rep. Chet Atkins (DMA), Linda worked extensively on issues affecting the Southeast Asian refugee community in Massachusetts, seeking political solutions at home and half a world away. After seven years on Capitol Hill, her passion for serving vulnerable migrants continued during her tenure with Church World Service from 1992 to 2000. Linda served first as CWS country director in Cambodia, working on reintegrating internally displaced persons and returning refugees, and then she moved to the New York headquarters as director of programs and operations.
An active Lutheran, Linda is a member of Christ Lutheran Church in Baltimore. She has also served on national and regional boards of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and one of its predecessor bodies, the Lutheran Church in America, including appointment to the governing board of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA.
A native of Massachusetts, Linda is a graduate of Smith College, where she complemented her studies in religion and biblical literature with a second major in government.
Linda’s vision is for Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service to be a catalyst in creating communities of welcome where newcomers can thrive.