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The Elders are assisted by a team based in London.

Jane Alexander

Designation
Senior Programme Advisor
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Jane Alexander

About

Jane joined The Elders in February 2021 as Senior Programme Advisor. She leads on policy development and programme delivery on conflict and refugees/migration. Prior to this, she spent 15 years as an Advisor with the UK Department for International Development (DFID). Jane has also worked with the UN and the Office of the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

She has an LL.M. in International Human Rights Law from the School of Oriental and African Studies, and a BA in Social and Political Sciences from Cambridge University. Outside work, Jane is kept busy as a mum of twins and loves playing the piano.

Edwin Almeida

Designation
Finance Officer
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Edwin Almeida

About

Edwin joined The Elders in June 2018 as Finance Officer. His main role is processing invoices and paying suppliers in a timely manner. Prior to this, he worked in various organisations in India and Middle East before migrating to United Kingdom to work in the NHS for eight years. Edwin has a degree in Financial Accounting and Auditing.

Born in Zanzibar, he loves travelling, swimming and scuba diving, and is PADI certified. He also likes listening to instrumental music, doing DIY around the house and a bit of gardening. Edwin is a die-hard Liverpool fan.

Tom Brookes

Designation
Policy Advisor
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Tom Brookes

About

Tom joined The Elders in March 2015, initially as a Policy Intern. As Policy Advisor, his role involves leading The Elders’ work on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, and on multilateral cooperation and ethical leadership. Prior to that, Tom completed an internship at the conflict resolution charity Inter Mediate, and previously worked as a Production Assistant on the documentary film, The Act of Killing.

He has a degree in History from Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. Outside of work, Tom enjoys reading and playing cello, and has an admittedly pretentious-sounding interest in modern jazz music.

Laura Cook

Designation
Communications Advisor
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Laura Cook

About

Laura joined The Elders in August 2019 as Communications Advisor. Her work includes leading on climate change communications and on centering intergenerational dialogue within The Elders’ work.  Laura spent over 12 years working in international development and humanitarian aid communications and is a qualified teacher.

She holds a BA in Social Anthropology from the University of Hull, an MA in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies from the University of London and is undertaking a PhD with the University of Birmingham on intergenerational climate dialogue informed by Indigenous value systems. Outside of work Laura enjoys photography, cooking and walks by the sea.

Alistair Fernie

Designation
Chief Executive
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Alistair Fernie

About

Alistair became Chief Executive of The Elders in November 2021. His career spans international development, humanitarian aid and human rights in the public, private and charity sectors over nearly three decades.

His roles with the UK Department for International Development included leading British aid programmes in Kenya, Somalia, Afghanistan, and the Middle East and North Africa, and latterly Director for International Finance. He has also been a diplomat with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, a strategy consultant with both McKinsey and his own company (Global Goals), an aid worker with Médecins Sans Frontières, and a human rights campaigner with Amnesty International.  

He has lived and worked in 10 countries across 5 continents, including 10 years in Africa and South Asia.

Alistair took the top First in Politics at Oxford University in 1992. He lives in south-west London with his wife, their teenage twins, and a rescue greyhound called Dotty.

Kate Flanagan

Designation
Communications Officer
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Kate Flanagan

About

Kate joined The Elders in February 2022 as Communications Officer, and her role involves delivering external communications for The Elders. Kate previously worked as Communications Officer at The Cleft Lip and Palate Association for over two years and has volunteered for a range of charities focusing on refugee rights, the climate crisis and social justice.

She holds a BA in History from the University of Warwick. Outside of work, she is part of a campaign for refugee rights across Europe, and enjoys hiking, music, and exploring new places.

William French

Designation
Head of Communications
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William French

About

William joined The Elders in February 2015 as Head of Communications. His role involves strategic communications counsel, editorial production and direction, and media relations including on Elders’ country visits. Previously he was Head of Communications at the Swiss Embassy in London and worked as a correspondent for Agence France-Presse in Geneva.

He has an MA in French and German from King’s College, Cambridge and studied at Albert-Ludwigs-Universität in Freiburg. William holds British and German nationality and enjoys reading, theatre and an eclectic range of music, agreeing with whoever said The Beatles were the greatest songwriters since Schubert.

Kiri Hanks

Designation
Policy Advisor on Climate Change
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Kiri Hanks

About

Kiri joined The Elders in July 2020 as Climate Policy Advisor. This role involves supporting the Elders with their advocacy work on climate change. Previously, she worked for Oxfam for six years in climate and energy advocacy roles, including as a campaigner based in Zimbabwe. Kiri started her career as a political researcher for MEPs in the European Parliament.

She has an MA from the College of Europe in Warsaw. Still a wobbly cyclist in London, Kiri is on a mission to try to cycle everywhere, all of the time.

 

 

Louise Heath

Designation
Senior Communications Officer
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Louise Heath

About

Louise joined The Elders in September 2021 as Senior Communications Officer. Her role involves amplifying The Elders’ programmatic work across the organisation’s digital platforms. Prior to that, Louise has worked in digital communications roles at a range of charities, including Sense and the Centre for Ageing Better.

She also holds a BA in English Literature and an MA in Magazine Journalism, both from Cardiff University. Outside of work she enjoys keeping active with yoga and spin classes, as well as exploring London, where she moved after university.

Claire Ireland

Designation
Director of Programmes
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Claire Ireland

About

Claire joined The Elders in January 2022 as Director of Programmes. Her role involves leading and managing the development and implementation of programmes across all strategic areas of The Elders' work. She has a background in international development and foreign policy and was Australia’s first female High Commissioner to Nigeria. Claire has an MSc in Environmental Management from Imperial College.

Outside of work Claire likes to spend time walking with her family and dog Nellie, sometimes enjoying a solo run, and nearly always enjoying a cup of coffee at the end of it.

Paul Kuzmickas

Designation
Head of Operations
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Paul Kuzmickas

About

Paul joined The Elders in January 2012. Prior to this he worked in the non-profit sector, most recently as Development Associate with the International House at the University of California, Berkeley, and before that with the San Francisco Education Fund as the Development and Program Associate.

Paul has a BA in Political Science from the University of California, Davis, and an MSc in Public Policy from Queen Mary, University of London. In his spare time he enjoys cooking and backpacking in the outdoors, and he is a passionate supporter of the Chicago Cubs and Arsenal Football Club.

Mushfiq Mohamed

Designation
Policy Officer
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Mushfiq Mohamed

About

Mushfiq joined The Elders in July 2021 as Policy Officer, where he contributes to research, analysis and monitoring of political developments relating to Elders’ programme areas. His role includes supporting initiatives and building relationships to further Elders’ programmatic work. Prior to that, Mushfiq led human rights centric grassroots initiatives on criminal justice, police and prison reforms.

Maldivian-born, UK and Malaysia raised, he holds an LLB (Hons) Law and MSc (Econ) in Postcolonial Politics from Aberystwyth University. Outside of work, Mushfiq enjoys live music, swimming, the great outdoors, reading, writing, and more recently, bookbinding and restoration.

Dominic Newlyn

Designation
Executive and Governance Officer
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Dominic Newlyn

About

Dominic joined the Elders in June 2022 as Executive and Governance Officer. His role encompasses Executive and Governance support at The Elders. Previously Dominic has worked in governance roles for The National Lottery Community Fund, as well as working in client and operational roles in the catering industry.

He studied Politics at Leeds University, where he rekindled his passion for the sport of lacrosse. Dominic continues to play regularly in Essex, and from time to time can be found treading the boards at his local operatic society.

Amy Ramage

Designation
Chief of Staff
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Amy Ramage

About

Amy joined The Elders in May 2018 as Chief of Staff. Her role encompasses HR, governance and executive support at The Elders. Amy spent eight years working in the charity sector, and prior to that practised as a solicitor before making a career change in pursuit of a worthier cause!

She has a degree in Politics and Sociology from the University of Bristol and a postgraduate qualification in Law. Originally from Dorset, outside of work Amy likes to keep in touch with her rural roots by running, hiking and horse riding in the countryside.

Amy is currently on maternity leave until summer 2023.

Pippa Ratcliffe

Designation
Operations Assistant
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Pippa Ratcliffe

About

Pippa joined The Elders in October 2018.

Following on from an Event Management BA Pippa has worked in media running formal networking and relationship development events. Since then, working as an assistant for a national healthcare regulator, supporting a fitness to practise directorate.

She is passionate about human rights, health and equality and has volunteered for the LGBT+ charity Stonewall and fundraised with Mind, the Mental Health Charity.

Originally from Yorkshire Pippa loves the countryside, camping, walks and dogs! Being half Belgian has led to a certain penchant for chocolate which she manages to balance with relaxing sessions of yoga. 

Elaine Robinson

Designation
Executive Services Administrator
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Elaine Robinson

About

Elaine joined The Elders in March 2016 as Office Co-ordinator. Over the years her role has expanded and she is currently Executive Services Administrator. She is responsible for ensuring the smooth running of the office including compliance with current office legislation. Prior to this, Elaine worked in building and design, project managing commercial and private builds.

Outside of work Elaine enjoys spending time with her daughter and four grandchildren, travel, music, reading, and walking with her partner in the countryside. She is also Vice Chair for ARIN Charity, which focuses on helping impoverished people in Ashford, Surrey.  

Padma Sivapunniyam

Designation
Head of Finance
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Padma Sivapunniyam

About

Padma joined The Elders in April 2022 as Head of Finance. Her role entails working with the Finance Officer to record and account for all income and expenditure, ensuring our accounts are prepared under requirements of the Companies Act and Generally Accepted Accounting Practices. Padma has over 18 years of experience working in both private and the charitable sector as a Finance Manager.

She holds an MA in English Literature and is CIMA part qualified. Outside of work, the great outdoors beckons, nurturing an ongoing passion for all its seasonal glory of Flora and Fauna.

Vanessa Smye

Designation
Director of Development
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Vanessa Smye

About

Vanessa joined The Elders in April 2019 as Director of Development. She works with our Advisory Council and donors to secure philanthropic support for the organisation. Prior to joining The Elders, Vanessa worked at Overseas Development Institute, UBS and Scope; developing fundraising strategies and working with donors who supported the organisations.

She has an MA in Musical Research from the Royal College of Music and later obtained diplomas in stockbroking and financial planning whilst working in financial services. Outside of work, Vanessa loves gardening, collecting interesting antiquarian books, music and has a fascination with the Apollo space programme.

 

Luke Upchurch

Designation
Director of Communications
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Luke Upchurch

About

Luke joined The Elders in July 2018. He leads the strategic development of The Elders public advocacy and positioning. Prior to The Elders, Luke headed up the communications and public relations teams at WWF UK and has spent 20 years working on international human rights issues, conservation, climate change and sustainability.  

Luke has also spent time working as a documentary film-maker and journalist in the UK and West Africa and holds a Master’s degree in Postcolonial Theory from Goldsmiths University.

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