New World Vision CEO says he feels 'called and compelled' by God

Tamworth-born Daniel Wordsworth will return to Australia to become World Vision Australia’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) after 25 years working in some of the world’s conflict hotspots.

While in the Royal Australian Navy as an Officer Cadet, Daniel experienced a “calling” from God to serve the poor. He is excited to be joining World Vision – the very organisation that ignited in him the joy of giving almost 40 years ago.

“I did the 40 Hour Famine as a 14-year-old and with my first pay cheque I sponsored a child” – Daniel Wordsworth

“I did the 40 Hour Famine as a 14-year-old and with my first pay cheque I sponsored a child,” says Wordsworth. “I am like so many other Aussies in that I learned through World Vision to give freely, not expecting anything in return, and that has been a great gift to me.”

54-year-old Wordsworth said he felt “compelled and called” by God to work with World Vision, an organisation dedicated to helping the world’s poorest children. Since its inception, World Vision has reached more than 200 million children worldwide. The new CEO said he was also greatly inspired by the strength of the organisation’s faith-based mission.

“We can look in the news and see what is supposedly wrong in the world, but after having worked in what some people would call the worst places in the world, I can tell you there are many more good people in those places than bad.”

“Each time something happens in those places, there are hundreds of people rushing to actually help and get people back on their feet, so the World Vision story is actually one of an amazing world, of a beautiful world and a world full of people doing good things.

“Our job is to connect Aussies to that spirit.”

Since it began in 1966, World Vision Australia has become the country’s largest international Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), working with vulnerable children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. Today, the NGO is involved in a diverse range of domestic, regional and global development, emergency relief and advocacy projects, as part of a global partnership operating in more than 90 countries.

Wordsworth appears well-qualified to oversee the NGO’s extensive work.

“I grew up on a farm, experienced severe water shortages and saw families around me really struggling.” – Daniel Wordsworth

Daniel Wordsworth, newly appointed CEO World Vision Australia

Daniel Wordsworth, newly appointed CEO World Vision Australia World Vision Australia

“In 1989 I was helping homeless people in Kings Cross, Sydney. Since then, I’ve helped lead teams in places such as Afghanistan, Somalia, El Salvador and in refugee camps the world over,” Wordsworth says.

“My upbringing in country New South Wales shapes my attitude when trying to help people. I have lived through droughts. I grew up on a farm, experienced severe water shortages and saw families around me really struggling.”

For the past 12 years, Wordsworth has been CEO of Alight (formerly known as the American Refugee Committee, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota). Alight  provides health care, clean water, shelter, protection and economic opportunity to more than 2.5 million people in 15 countries each year.

At Alight, Wordsworth launched work with the Rohingya people in Myanmar, as well as with migrants streaming through Latin America and with families in war-ravaged Syria. During his time at Alight, support for the organisation more than doubled.

Former World Vision Australia CEO Tim Costello – who spent more than fifteen years as the face of the organisation – had high praise for Wordsworth.

“I am thrilled Daniel Wordsworth has been appointed as the new CEO of World Vision Australia. He is a leader with deep experience in the relief and development sector and a man of great vision and personal integrity. I believe he will prove to be just the right leader for these challenging times,” Costello said.

The newly appointed CEO is “a globally experienced missional leader who has been shaped by the powerful message of faith, hope and love and is anchored by his Christian faith”, according to World Vision Australia Board Chair Shannon Adams.

“Like all not-for-profits, World Vision is operating in a fast-changing and increasingly challenging environment. Daniel is a gifted and capable leader who has the rare talent of combining extensive and authentic humanitarian experience with the astute management of organisations,” Adams said.

“He has an impressive track record in leading and equipping organisations and empowering them to do more in the field.”

Adams also thanked the World Vision Australia community for their prayerful support of the Board and the process of recruiting the new CEO, saying, “we, as a Board, could not have undertaken this search for a new CEO without their support.”


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