Duncan MacLaren was born in Dumbarton and educated at the universities of Glasgow (Celtic Studies and German) and Edinburgh (Theology and Development Studies) as well as Julius-Maximilian University in Würzburg, Germany. He was SCIAF’s first Executive Director and served for thirteen years from 1983 until 1995 before joining the staff of the General Secretariat of Caritas Internationalis as Head of International Relations in the Vatican. He was elected Secretary General of the Caritas Confederation in 1999 before standing down in 2007. He then became a Visiting Professor at Australian Catholic University (ACU) in Sydney where he co-ordinated a programme to offer tertiary education to Burmese refugees and migrants in Thailand, introduced a new degree in International Development Studies and taught Catholic Social Ethics. Duncan is a published writer in development and refugee studies as well as Catholic Social Teaching, and is currently pursuing Doctoral Studies in Theology at the University of Glasgow. In 2004, Duncan was named ‘Alumnus of the Year’ by the University of Edinburgh for his humanitarian work and in 2016 he was made a Knight Commander of the Order of St Gregory the Great by Pope Francis. He is a lay Dominican.