PoC is fortunate in having a committed and experienced board of trustees who meet regularly with the staff and who are actively involved in the grant-making process. Each week applications are sent to a sub-committee of trustees for assessment and approval.
Ian Baker (Chair)- Ian volunteered as our accountancy advisor for several years, before taking on the post of Treasurer in 2012. Ian is a chartered accountant and a co-owner and Partner (Finance) at Rockspring Property Investment Managers LLP, an independently owned European real estate fund management business with an annual turnover of £23m, assets under management of €7.5bn and 94 staff in eight countries. He is also their Compliance Officer.
Victoria Brittain (Vice-Chair) – Victoria brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the board. She is a former associate foreign editor at the Guardian, where she worked for 20 years. A much admired writer and journalist, she has written a number of books and plays, including Death of Dignity: Angola’s Civil War and was co-author of Moazzam Begg’s Guantanamo memoir, Enemy Combatant. John Pilger called her ‘one of the greatest reporters’. Her current book, Shadow Lives: The Forgotten Women of the War on Terror explores the impact on the wives and families of the men imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay and under house arrest in Britain and the US. Victoria is a Trustee of a number of small human rights charities.
Dr Dorothy Connell – Dorothy has an MA and PhD from Harvard University in the USA, and has spent her working career in London as a manager, administrator, charity founder and fundraiser in the UK not-for-profit sector. Her career has coincided with the growing professionalisation of the sector. She is a long-standing member of the Institute of Fundraising and has developed considerable expertise in governance and guarding against reputational risk. As a senior and high-level fundraiser, she understands the necessary interaction between commercial and non-commercial sectors, and how to attain and report on financial and narrative goals as required by both donors and recipients. She has recently completed the Financial Times Diploma for Non-Executive Directors, which she feels will help her to be a more effective charity trustee. Dorothy co-founded in 1982 and still runs today the US/UK not-for-profit press Readers International, operating across the English-speaking world and seeking to promote greater knowledge of international fiction, especially outstanding works of fiction banned or censored for political reasons. She volunteers as a member of the Parochial Church Council of St Georges church in Bloomsbury, for which she helped raise major restoration funds during her work with the World Monuments Fund.
Justin Glenister – Justin is the global privacy officer and a risk lawyer at an international law firm in London. Previously an intern at Prisoners of Conscience, Justin maintained close ties with the organisation before becoming a trustee in 2018.
Stefanie Grant – Stefanie qualified as a solicitor after working with Amnesty International, as Head of the Research Department in London, and as Director of Amnesty’s US office. She specialises in migration, refugee and human rights law, and practised at the Immigration Advisory Service, at Baker and McKenzie, and as a partner at Bindmans. She headed the research branch of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, has been a consultant to the Global Commission on International Migration, and to a number of international organisations, and a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Sussex Centre for Migration Research. Stefanie is Chair of the Dutch-based Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion, and a trustee of the European Network on Statelessness, and of Independent Diplomat.
Dr Roger Harrison – Roger has long experience in management and international business gained mainly in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. On completing his doctorate in cancer therapeutics, he first spent ten years in research management, before moving into a business career which focused on identifying important medical innovations, and moving them from the laboratory into routine clinical use. He has worked in the UK, USA and continental Europe, has built and led several skilled international teams, and has served on corporate executive management boards. He has extensive experience in high-value commercialisation of important new therapeutics, spanning development and marketing, contract negotiation, and the operation of the large trans-national partnerships often needed to bring major, first-in-class medicines to market.
Tabitha Nice – Tabitha is a litigator in private practice, later non-practicing Chief Adjuster, Specialty, for a Lloyd’s managing agent and co-council to the China Tribunal a public pro-bono people’s enquiry into the practice of forced organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience. Prior to that she had qualified and practiced in litigation for seven years and she has observed elections on behalf of the Foreign and Commonwealth office in Kosovo, Bosnia, Ghana, Bulgaria, Armenia, Ukraine and George. She has a Master’s degree from Kings College London in International Peace and Security. Her role for POC does not involve practicing as a solicitor or giving legal advice.
Maria Saro-Wiwa – Born in Rivers State Nigeria, Maria met and married Ken Saro-Wiwa in 1967 during Nigeria’s civil war. Shortly afterwards, the pair fled the fighting in Eastern Nigeria and settled in Lagos. Returning to Port Harcourt after the war, Maria trained and worked as a primary school teacher in the city. She moved to England in 1978 with her four children. Subsequently, she had her fifth child, studied in North East Surrey College of Technology and then Kingston Polytechnic (now Kingston University). Following her studies, Maria remained in England and worked in the civil service for seventeen years until her retirement in 2009. She currently divides her time between England and Nigeria. Her interests includes reading and gardening and she retains a deep interest in Nigerian politics. Her faith is a deep source of inspiration and she volunteers for and supports several churches.
Diba Alikhani – Diba is a women’s rights activist from Iran, now living in the UK. She was born in Kurdistan of Iran and had most of her career and education in Tehran. Diba worked with women and children since the age of 17. Since then and throughout her education, starting at Tehran University, she became aware of the notion of inequality. While in Iran she started an independent organization for supporting women- named “Jamea ye Zanan” meaning “Organization to support Women and Children. It was the first institution of its kind in Iran. After obtaining two master degrees in psychosocial studies and clinical psychology, Diba started to work as a therapist in the UK .
PoC benefits from the support of many distinguished patrons:
Lady Brooke, Lynn Carter, Lucy Chandler OBE, Dame Judi Dench DBE, Lady Antonia Fraser DBE, Roger Graef OBE, Rosamund Horwood-Smart QC, Kurt & Caroline Jackson, Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Bruce Kent, Neil Latchman, Caroline Moorehead OBE, Rabbi Julia Neuberger DBE, Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, The Hon Jonathon Porritt, Lord Puttnam CBE, Rev Dr Nicholas Sagovsky, Sir Tom Stoppard OM, Desmond Tutu Archbishop Emeritus, Zoë Wanamaker CBE.