Our International Council Members

Anastasia Crickley, Chair

Anastasia Crickley has challenged and addressed racism throughout her life at local, regional, national and international levels, in direct work with discriminated groups including Travellers and Roma, in academic arenas, and in global and local policy and human rights fora. Anastasia Crickley was until 2018 the Chairperson of the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. She has been the Chairperson of the European Union Monitoring Centre on Racism (EUMC) and of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency and served as Personal Representative of the Chair of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). She has a long-standing association with the Council of Europe, including as a member of the Framework Convention on the protection of National Minorities, and is currently vice-president of the International Association of Community Development and a member of the Board of the International Movement against Discrimination and Racism (IMADR).

In Ireland, Anastasia was the Chairperson of the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism, which led the development and embedding of Ireland’s National Action Plan on Racism. She was a founding member of the Migrants Rights Centre Ireland and of the National Traveller Women’s Forum, Chairperson of Pavee Point national Traveller and Roma Centre and of Community Work Ireland. She also led the Department of Applied Social Studies at Maynooth University, which has played a national leadership role in access and participation opportunities for marginalised and minority groups including Travellers.

Alice Astor

Alice has a range of experience and interest in the trusteeship and governance of charities: over the past forty years she’s been a trustee of charities involved in education, farming, environment, urban and rural issues. As the daughter of MRG’s founder, in her childhood she experienced the care and thought that sowed the seeds and the foundations of MRG.

Astrid Thors

Astrid is a lawyer and a Finnish politician and the former OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, HCNM. She has been Minister of Migration and European Affairs and served in the European Parliament and in the national Parliament.

She has held several positions of trust related to Human Rights and minority rights, chairing the Advisory Board on Human Rights of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland (2011-2013) and now a member of it. She has also been engaged in the national delegation for Human rights at the Human rights center of Finland, (NHRI). Since 2019 she chairs the Human Rights Committee of LIberal International. She is currently member of the Board of the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, based in Uppsala, Sweden.

She has held several positions of trust in the fields or visual and performing arts and higher education.

Bill Samuel, Treasurer

Bill is a chartered accountant with broad private sector experience in banking, finance, and tourism. With a strong interest in human rights and conservation, he has extensive experience of the Charity Sector, having served on the councils of Education Action International, The Book Trade Charity, The Ilois Support Group and the UK Overseas Territories Conservation Network. He was also a director of Foyles Bookshop and lives in London.

George Ngwane

George is a Senior Chevening Fellow in conflict prevention from the University of York (UK), a Rotary Peace Fellow from the University of Chulalongkorn (Bangkok, Thailand) and a United Nations Minority Rights Fellow from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland. He is the Executive Director of the civil society organisation AFRICAphonie, Member of the National Commission on the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism in Cameroon.

Joe Frans

Joe is founder and Chief Operating Officer of NGA Novum AB, a company specializing in digitizing terrestrial television networks in Africa. He is board member of the Swedish Association of ethnic minority entrepreneurs IFS and previously served as chair and member of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Working Group of Independent Experts on People of African Descent. He also worked with the mayor of the City of Stockholm and represented the social democratic party of Sweden in the Swedish Parliament.

José Guevara Bermúdez

José has extensive practical experience in the area of human rights and international criminal law. Among its former responsibilities, he was Deputy Ombudsman at Mexico City’s Human Rights Institution, Latin America and Caribbean Coordinator for the Coalition for the International Criminal Court and Deputy Director General for Human Rights and Democracy at the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He also served as a member of the UN’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in 2014.

Mahdis Keshavarz, Vice-Chair

Mahdis is founder and principal of The Make Agency. Keshavarz’s clientele has included international dignitaries, Hollywood stars, global artists, numerous film festivals and events focusing on the Middle Eastern community. She has placed news stories and op-eds with media outlets around the world – including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, BBC, NPR, The National and Al Jazeera. She also serves on the board of the Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association (AMEJA).

Pratima Gurung

Pratima is an academic activist from Nepal. Pratima has been instrumental in raising the voiceless voices of women, indigenous peoples, disability rights, and has been remarkable in bridging multiple marginalised identities with an intersectional lens from Nepal, Asia and globally. Ms. Gurung is a faculty member at Padmakanya College, one of the single women colleges in Nepal. She is engaged in research and linkage her academic research to advocacy. She also contributes as an expert of Disability National Direction Committee, formed by the Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizen, Nepal Government. Pratima Gurung is a founding member and currently General Secretary of Indigenous Person with Disabilities Global Network and National indigenous Disabled Women Association Nepal. She is an example in Nepal and Asia to initiate cross-movement collaboration and intersectional approach among indigenous peoples, disability, women and other marginalised movement and discourse.

Victoria Hoskins

Victoria has 20 years’ experience as a trustee. Currently an advisor to the Stroke Association Investment Committee, and trustee for the Edward Gostling Foundation. Former trustee of the LankellyChase Foundation and former Board member of ECCR.

Victoria has been working in investment management in London for over 20 years and is a long term advocate of sustainable and impact investment. She currently leads the Charity proposition at Rathbone Greenbank Investments. Victoria is a Chartered Fellow of the CISI (FCSI).

Our Finance & General Purposes Committee Members

Amana Dawuda

Amana Dawuda is a Chartered MCIPD and holds a 1st and 2nd Degree in Africa Studies from SOAS University of London and a HND in Business and Finance. Amana has worked across a number of sectors including legal, human rights, education, environment and INGOs and has held senior HR roles, interim and permanent at INTERIGHTS, Malaria Consortium, Amnesty International and OSF, working globally in the UK and Europe, Asia, Middle East and Africa. She is passionate about diversity, inclusion, equality and equity. In her spare time Amana enjoys cooking, reading and travelling, learning about local culture and food.

Ayesha Saran

Ayesha works for the Barrow Cadbury Trust, an independent charitable foundation based in London. She is the Trust’s Migration Programme Manager, managing and actively contributing to the Trust’s research and policy work as well as its grant-making in the UK and internationally. Prior to that Ayesha spent a number of years working for international organisations in the UK and internationally, including for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Albania and the International Organization for Migration. She also spent some time working as a freelance journalist in London. She is a Trustee of think tank British Future and serves in a non-executive capacity for the Centre for Countering Digital Hate.

Bill Samuel, Committee Treasurer

Bill is a chartered accountant with broad private sector experience in banking, finance, and tourism. With a strong interest in human rights and conservation, he has extensive experience of the Charity Sector, having served on the councils of Education Action International, The Book Trade Charity, The Ilois Support Group and the UK Overseas Territories Conservation Network. He was also a director of Foyles Bookshop and lives in London.

Joe Frans, Committee Chair

Joe is founder and Chief Operating Officer of NGA Novum AB, a company specializing in digitizing terrestrial television networks in Africa. He is board member of the Swedish Association of ethnic minority entrepreneurs IFS and previously served as chair and member of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Working Group of Independent Experts on People of African Descent. He also worked with the mayor of the City of Stockholm and represented the social democratic party of Sweden in the Swedish Parliament.

Piran Thillainathan

Piran is a lawyer with nearly 20 years of experience in the financial services sector, covering both private practice and in-house roles in Canada and the UK. He has extensive experience in managing and mitigating complex legal risks, project management, strategy development and legal/policy analysis more generally in the private sector.

Tom Astor

Tom is an entrepreneur specialising in the media. He has run a number of businesses and produced a variety of projects in the film, TV, music and advertising industries.

Victoria Hoskins

Victoria has 20 years’ experience as a trustee. Currently an advisor to the Stroke Association Investment Committee, and trustee for the Edward Gostling Foundation. Former trustee of the LankellyChase Foundation and former Board member of ECCR.

Victoria has been working in investment management in London for over 20 years and is a long term advocate of sustainable and impact investment. She currently leads the Charity proposition at Rathbone Greenbank Investments. Victoria is a Chartered Fellow of the CISI (FCSI).

Our Africa Advisory Committee Members

Dr. Melakou Tegnegn (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)

Bio coming soon.

Dr. Sarah Ashanut Ossiya (Nairobi, Kenya)

Dr. Sarah Ashanut Ossiya, a Ugandan, is the preceding and one of the longest-serving Chairs of MRG Africa’s Advisory Committee. She holds a PhD in Rangeland Ecology from Texas A&M University. As a Trustee and Chair, she was instrumental in supporting the growth of the office, and in particular strengthening financial systems.

Sarah has been a Research Scientist, University Lecturer, Coordinator of the Pastoralist Communication Programme at Panos Eastern Africa, Country Director at FarmAfrica Uganda, Manager for the Report on the Status of Pastoralism at Oxfam and is currently Project Officer at the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources. From 2023 onwards, Sarah will Coordinate the Resilient Feed and Fodder Systems Project, a partnership between AU-IBAR and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to contribute to addressing the serious feed and fodder shortages, especially in pastoralist areas.

Sarah, who comes from the Iteso, an agropastoralist tribe of the Ateker community, is passionate about pastoralist development, beekeeping, women harnessing business opportunities in the animal resources sector and feed and fodder sector development.

Evelyne Naiseriae (Nairobi, Kenya)

Everlyne Nairesiae hails from the Indigenous Pastoralist Maasai Community in Kenya. She is a social scientist with over 18 years of experience working on the governance of land and natural resources. She has worked with indigenous peoples, local communities, governments, Civil Society Organizations, the United Nations and the private sector in promoting responsible land governance, securing land tenure rights, women’s land rights, climate justice, food security and the Sustainable Development Goals. She previously worked for Oxfam as Women’s Land Rights Adviser and GLTN/UN-Habitat as Coordinator of the Global Land Indicators Initiative (GLII) and Gender Focal Point. She currently is the Africa Region Director for Landesa. She holds a bachelor’s degree in education (Geography, Kiswahili) and a Master of Philosophy in Guidance and Counselling from Moi University, Kenya.

George Ngwane (Buea, Cameroon)

George is a Senior Chevening Fellow in conflict prevention from the University of York (UK), a Rotary Peace Fellow from the University of Chulalongkorn (Bangkok, Thailand) and a United Nations Minority Rights Fellow from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland. He is the Executive Director of the civil society organisation AFRICAphonie, Member of the National Commission on the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism in Cameroon.

Juliet Nakato Odoi (Kampala, Uganda)

Juliet Nakato Odoi holds a Master’s degree in Women and Gender Studies and a Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences from Makerere University. Juliet has over 15 years of experience in development work, currently working with UN Women in Uganda as Gender Mainstreaming and Coordination Officer. She has previously worked at Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE), Agency for Cooperation and Research in Development (ACORD) and Minority Rights Group International. In addition to gender, she has extensive experience in policy and advocacy that has focused on gender, SGBV and minority rights. Ms Odoi is a feminist with a passion for social justice. She has trained as a Trainer in Stepping Stones with Children.

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