Trust Staff

SENIOR MANAGEMENT TEAM

Duncan Wilson joined the Trust as Executive Director in June 2019.

Duncan has 20 years of experience within the human rights field, both nationally and internationally. He came to the Trust from the Open Society Foundations (OSF), where he directed grant making related to access and accountability in the Public Health Program.

Prior to joining OSF, Duncan was the first Head of Strategy and Legal at the Scottish Human Rights Commission, during which time he led the development of Scotland’s first national action plan for human rights, as well as negotiations on justice for survivors of historical child abuse. Previous to that, he was appointed as the first head of economic, social, and cultural rights at Amnesty International. Duncan started his career working as a research coordinator to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to education. He holds an LLM in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law from Lund University and an LLB (Hons) from the University of Edinburgh.

Beth Fernandez is the Trust's Deputy Executive Director. She has worked within human rights civil society organisations for almost 20 years and has managed numerous human rights capacity-building projects in the Western Balkans, Eastern Europe and former Soviet Union. She joined the Trust from ILGA-Europe where she worked to support LGBTI organisations in conducting strategic human rights advocacy, monitoring and documenting violations, and planning for strategic litigation. Prior to that she worked for Interights where she managed training projects for lawyers on international human rights standards. She has also volunteered for refugee service and policy organisations. She holds a Masters degree from University College London in Human Rights, and a BA in Politics and Russian from the University of Leeds.

Jane Pickering joined the Trust as Chief Operating Officer in September 2020. She has more than 20 years’ experience in UK charity operations. Prior to joining the Trust she was Operations Director for LucidCatalyst, an international consultancy working on at-scale solutions to climate change. She previously worked in operational lead roles at Intermediate, a charity set up by Jonathan Powell, the lead negotiator for the UK Government for the Good Friday agreement, which provides advice and support to leadership in international civil conflict; and Reprieve, which supports victims of extreme human rights abuses with a combination of public pressure and legal action. She has a BA in Philosophy and Politics from the University of Manchester.

PROGRAMME STAFF

Maha Abushama is Programme Manager for Human Rights, with a special focus on Human Rights Defenders. She came to the Trust from Amnesty International's International Secretariat, where she worked for several years as a Campaigner on Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. Her responsibilities included leading on the development of campaigning and advocacy strategies to address human rights violations, including conducting desk-based and field research into specific human rights concerns and individual cases. Previously she was a Senior External Relations Officer at the Palestinian NGO the Youth Development Association, and an External Relations Officer for the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC). She holds an MA in Human Rights Theory and Practice from the University of Essex and a BA in English Literature and Translation from Birzeit
University, Palestine.

Sophie Adwick is Senior Programme Officer for Conservation. She holds over 15 years’ multi-country experience in the design, implementation and evaluation of applied conservation and biodiversity research. Prior to joining the Trust, Sophie was Assistant Manager of the Zoological Society of London’s Asia Conservation Programme. Her responsibilities included developing, managing and overseeing programmes and projects in countries across the region such as China, Russia, Indonesia and Thailand, working closely with local ZSL teams and partners. In previous positions, she has led organisational strategy and policy on wildlife trade in the EU and UK, developed and delivered national-scale training and capacity-building courses, and provided evidence-based, technical advice and recommendations on wildlife issues to internal and external stakeholders. Sophie has extensive international field experience gained across Asia, Africa, Central and North America, and Europe. She holds a Masters in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management from Oxford University and a BSc (Hons) in Zoology from the University of Edinburgh.

Rachel Aveyard is Programme Officer for Conservation. Prior to joining the Trust, she was a Programme Manager at BBC Media Action. She has seven years of experience in research, policy and programme roles with experience in media development, community resilience, gender equality and human rights. She holds an MSc in International Development from University College London, and a BA (Hons) in Geography and Politics from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Tim Cahill is Senior Programme Officer for Human Rights. Prior to joining the Trust he headed Amnesty International’s Brazil team for over 10 years. During this time he did extensive work on issues including prisons and torture, indigenous peoples’ rights, slave labour, land rights, and threats and killings of human rights defenders. His main area of expertise is public security, social exclusion and human rights, leading him to devise dynamic new strategies to address systemic urban violence in Brazil and in Africa. Previously he worked at the Portuguese for Africa section of the BBC World Service. Tim has an MA in Political Science from the Institute of Latin American Studies at the University of London and a BA in Portuguese, Brazilian and African studies from King’s College London.

Bethan Cansfield is Senior Programme Officer for Women’s Rights. She has over 10 years of experience in the women’s rights field. She joined the Trust from Oxfam International where she launched and led the priority worldwide campaign to end violence against women and girls. In this role she worked with Oxfam offices and partners in over 30 countries to develop and implement strategies to challenge and change harmful social norms. She also led a worldwide team to develop innovative regional and global initiatives to challenge gender-based violence. Prior to Oxfam, she worked for Womankind Worldwide as acting Head of Policy and Advocacy and before that Policy and Advocacy Manager on Violence Against Women and Girls, also at Womankind. Bethan has also worked for Amnesty International UK in the Women’s Rights Programme where she focused on ending violence and sexual and reproductive health and rights. She holds a Masters from the London School of Economics in the History of International Relations with an LLM option in the International Human Rights of Women, and a Law degree from King’s College London.

Laura Cools is Programme Officer for Human Rights with a focus on transitional justice and detention, torture & the death penalty. Prior to joining the Trust, she worked as Research and Policy Advisor at Impunity Watch, the Netherlands, where she coordinated the gender and transitional justice programme in Burundi and Guatemala. Previously, she was a Project Officer at the Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law in The Hague, a researcher at Impunity Watch in Burundi, and a Programme and Advocacy Officer at the Coalition for the ICC in New York. She has acquired further experience in transitional justice, gender and human rights at ICTJ, UN OHCHR, Refugee Law Project Uganda, Aprodeh Peru, UN-LiREC Peru, and the diplomatic representations of Belgium in Chile and Geneva. Laura holds and MA in Human Rights from Columbia University, New York, as a Fulbright Scholar.

Chiara De Luca is Programme Officer for Women’s Rights. Prior to joining the Trust, she served as Communications Officer at ICMC, an implementing partner of the UN Refugee Agency, in Geneva. She has also worked as a researcher, media analyst, and campaign coordinator at several major environmental and human rights organisations, including Greenpeace International and Survival International. She holds a BA in Communications and Psychology from John Cabot University, Italy, and an MSc in Sustainable Development from the University of St Andrews, UK.

Teresa Drace-Francis is Senior Programme Officer for Arts. Prior to joining the trust she was General Manager at Iniva, a visual arts organisation working predominantly with British artists of African and Asian descent. She has previously worked at Gasworks, Cubitt as well as independently advising and lecturing. Between 2007 and 2011 Teresa worked at Arts Council England leading on artists’ workspace and international networks among other strategic initiatives and supporting arts organisations in London, including South London Gallery, Camden Arts Centre and the Photographers’ Gallery. Teresa holds a BA in Art History from Cambridge University and a Masters in Management from Queen Mary University.

Kapil Gupta is Programme Officer for LGBTI Rights. Prior to joining the Trust he worked as a Projects and Information Officer at the Human Dignity Trust. He has global experience in strategic litigation and technical assistance on international human rights law, comparative constitutional law with particular focus on matters relating to LGBTI rights. He has also worked closely with civil society organisations, litigants, and governmental and inter-governmental bodies on matters pertaining to security and communications around human rights litigation in the Caribbean, South Asia, East and West Africa. He completed his MA in Human Rights Practice under the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship (2008-10) of the European Commission. He holds a bachelor’s degree in law from the National Law Institute University, Bhopal (India).

Janek Lasocki is Programme Officer for Human Rights with a focus on freedom of expression. Prior to joining the Trust, he worked on supporting human rights and civil society in Russia through capacity building and international advocacy at ARTICLE 19 in London and People in Need in Prague. Previously he worked as Advocacy Coordinator at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR). Janek holds a BA in Russian & History from UCL and an MSc in European Studies from LSE.

Joey Hasson is Senior Programme Officer for Human Rights. Joey has almost 20 years of international experience combining grassroots community organising, civic engagement and the law to tackle structural inequalities, improve public policy and defend human rights. Joey is a co-founder of Equal Education, a national movement of school-going youth to improve public education in South Africa, and supported the establishment of the Tshisimani Centre for Activist Education in Cape Town as advisor to the Bertha Foundation. He was coordinator of Amnesty International’s global campaigns on the Right to Housing and Sexual and Reproductive Rights. Prior to joining the Trust, Joey was Activist Training Manager with 100 Million, a campaign to end the exclusion and exploitation of marginalised youth worldwide. Joey holds an MSc in Inequalities from the London School of Economics and an undergraduate degree in Social Anthropology from the University of Cape Town. He is an Atlantic Fellow for Social and Economic Equity.

Tom Lee is Senior Programme Officer for Transparency and Accountability. He was a Research Assistant in the strategy division of the British Red Cross, where he was involved in the implementation of an innovative research agenda. Tom holds a BA in History from the University of Bristol and an MA in East Asian Regional Development from the University of Leeds.

Fabien Maitre-Muhl is Programme Manager for Human Rights, with a special focus on Transitional Justice. Prior to joining the Trust he worked with various organisations including Plan International UK, UNHCR in Cote d’Ivoire and the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Fabien also worked with various civil society organisations in Colombia where he did research on the guarantees of non-recurrence, the participation of victims in reparations processes, and the prosecution of the crime of forced displacement. Fabien holds an LLM in International Human Rights Law from the University of Essex.

Robin Nobel is Senior Programme Officer for Large Gifts, Miscellaneous Grants and Trustee Small Grants; she also serves as Programme Director for the Granta Trust. Robin comes to the Trust with a decade’s worth of experience in grant management, particularly in the higher education and heritage sectors. Prior to taking up post at the Trust, Robin served as Senior Grant Programmes Manager and Acting Director of the Rothschild Foundation Hanadiv Europe, a philanthropic trust aimed at the preservation and promotion of Jewish Heritage across continental Europe, with a focus on Eastern European and Former Soviet States. She holds a Masters in Oriental Studies from the University of Oxford, as well as a Masters in English Literature and a BA in Cultural and Religious Studies from McGill University, Canada.

Sophie Pollak is Programme Officer for Human Rights. She came to the Trust from the Media Legal Defence Initiative (MLDI) where she worked for several years as a Legal and Grants Officer managing MLDI’s emergency legal assistance programme. Prior to this, she was a Projects Attorney for a number of international law firms in London. Sophie also gained experience in international human rights law, advocacy and research in a number of NGOs including Amnesty International, the Global Human Rights Clinic and the Essex Business and Human Rights Project. She has worked as a consultant providing legal and policy advice on a variety of human rights issues including the rights to water and sanitation for the UN and NGOs in Geneva, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Admitted to the bar in New Zealand in 2013, she holds an LLM in International Human Rights Law from the University of Essex and an LLB and BA in History and Film, Television and Media Studies from the University of Auckland.

Anna Shea is Senior Programme Officer for Human Rights, managing the Xenophobia and Intolerance Programme. She has 10 years of experience on asylum and migration matters and has done human rights research and advocacy in several countries, including Afghanistan, Australia, Indonesia and Turkey. Prior to joining the Trust, she was the Legal Adviser and Researcher on refugee and migrant rights at Amnesty International’s International Secretariat. She has also worked at Amnesty Canada (leading the organization’s strategic human rights litigation) and at several grassroots community organizations, focusing on the rights of non-citizens and other marginalized groups. She holds a double degree in Common Law and Civil Law from McGill University in Montreal, as well as an MA and BA (Hons) in History from the same institution.

Bénédicte Goderiaux is Senior Programme Officer for Human Rights, with a focus on Defending Civic Space. Prior to this she was senior policy and advocacy adviser at Saferworld, where she focused on the impact of counter terrorism and migration policies for rights, peace and development. Previously she was a researcher at Amnesty International's International Secretariat for 17 years, focusing on East and North African countries. She has experience monitoring, documenting and reporting human rights concerns in repressive contexts and armed conflict related abuses. She has worked with civil society groups and human rights defenders in several countries to develop tailored advocacy and campaigning strategies. She holds an MA in Social Anthropology of development from the School of Oriental and African Studies and an MA from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris.

OPERATIONS TEAM

Sophie Bunting is the Trust’s Executive Assistant, supporting the Senior Management Team and managing Trustee correspondence. She also assists in the administration for the Granta Trust. Prior to joining the Trust, she has 3 years’ experience working as a Personal Assistant. Sophie holds a BA in Politics from the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne.

Comfort Osilaja is Grants Manager at the Trust. Before joining the team, she worked at the Commonwealth Foundation where she led on the strategic review and development the Foundation’s flagship grants programme, supporting civil society’s participation in governance. Prior to that she worked at Care International UK managing a portfolio of contracts in West and Central Africa, and at CAFOD where she was responsible for the development and delivery of projects in West Africa. Comfort also worked as a Training and Development Officer at Merlin, and as a Client Relationship Manager at Path National Ltd. Comfort has a Masters in Human Resources from the London South Bank University, and a Postgraduate Diploma in NGO Management from City University London.

Sheetal Patel, the Finance Officer and Grants Administrator, previously worked at the emergency healthcare organisation MERLIN, where her job involved travelling to various conflict zones to train staff and evaluate Merlin's financial systems. Before that she worked at Imperial College, London. She holds a qualification from the Association of Accounting Technicians.

Bethany Simpkin is the Trust's Office Manager. Prior to joining the Trust, she supported the CEO at the Portland Trust as Executive assistant, office manager and project support. Bethany has 10 years experience managing projects and events in the charity sector through her roles as senior project coordinator and senior fundraising and events manager at the Holocaust Educational Trust. Bethany is actively involved in supporting women’s rights initiatives and volunteers with both domestic violence support services and a homeless charity in South East London. Bethany holds a Prince2 project management qualification as well as a BA in Sociology from Goldsmiths, University of London.

Kate Vesyropoulou is the Grants and Operations Administrator (Acting). Prior to joining the Trust, she was on the frontline of the refugee crisis in Greece, working in UNHCR-funded projects with unaccompanied minors throughout the country and the UNHCR ESTIA Integration and Accommodation programme. Prior to that, she worked at the Greek Ombudsman and the General Secretariat of Citizenship and Immigration Policy of the Greek Ministry of Interior. She holds a BA in International Relations from Panteion University of Athens and an MA in Conflict, Security and Development from the University of Sussex, as well as a Prince2 projest management qualification.

Sofia Themistocli is the Trust’s Finance Manager. Prior to joining the Trust, Sofia worked for Cancer Research UK as Senior Group Accountant and during her time there took part in volunteering opportunities such as at the Shine Night Walk. Prior to that, Sofia worked at an Investment Adviser/Manager as an Accountant for 5 years, where she implemented an expenses management system, streamlined and digitised processes and was responsible for the preparation of the Financial Statements for the three group entities. Sofia is ACCA qualified and holds a BA (Hons) in Accounting & Finance from University of the West of England, Bristol. Sofia is hoping to train as a Samaritan in the near future.