The Seventh-day Adventist Church's Executive Committee appointed a church-state relations expert this week to act as the worldwide denomination's liaison to the United Nations.
In his new position, professor and author Tiziano Rimoldi will work out of the world church's department of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty.
"It is encouraging to know that I am joining a department of very committed and expert colleagues," Rimoldi said upon learning of his April 6 appointment.
Rimoldi, currently a professor of religion, rights and society at the Istituto Avventista di Cultura Biblica, located in Florence, Italy, holds a master's degree in Law from the University of Bologna, where he concentrated on church-state relations. He also earned a doctorate in Canon Law/Ecclesiastical Law from the University of Perugia. He is the first Italian citizen to be elected to a leadership position for the Adventist world church.
Rimoldi replaces Jonathan Gallagher, who held the post for eight years.
Previously, Rimoldi served as senior accountant for the Adventist Church's Italian Union and held a post at the Longobardi Law Firm in Rome.
Rimoldi, 42, speaks Italian, is fluent in English and French and understands Spanish. He is widely published in academic journals in the areas of law and freedoms of religion. Currently, he is researching state financing of religion in Ireland and the development of an Adventist mission in Cameroon.
"With his strong background in international law and church-state relations, Rimoldi will explore new opportunities for the Adventist Church at the UN," said John Graz, Public Affairs and Religious Liberty director for the Adventist world church. "His ability to lead coalitions and analyze resolutions will be an asset to the church's work in the realm of religious liberty."
Rimoldi is expected to move from Florence to the Silver Spring, Maryland area -- where the church's world headquarters are located -- when he secures his visa. In the meantime, Rimoldi will assume most of the responsibilities of his new post, including attending the next UN meeting [the Durban Review Conference in Geneva, April 20-24], Graz said.
As UN liaison for the church, Rimoldi's duties will include attending the council of Human Rights in Geneva, meeting government delegations at UN headquarters in New York City, working with other non-governmental organizations and leading coalitions with agenda items concerning religious freedom.