Board of Trustees

Our Board of Trustees has responsibility to oversee the governance of ENS with an operational focus on finance, funding, management and reporting.

Gabor Gyulai

Gábor Gyulai

As director of the Refugee Programme, my main responsibilities are organisational and human resources management, strategic and financial planning, fundraising, advocacy and media work, leadership of national and international projects, research and capacity-building. I have been working in the field of asylum since 2000, and I am a proud member of the Helsinki Committee team since 2002. My particular professional interests in this field are evidence and credibility assessment in asylum procedures; interdisciplinary (psychological, intercultural, linguistic and gender) issues related to asylum; human rights safeguards concerning the detention of migrants; nationality and statelessness; as well as innovative training, communication and capacity-building methods in the field of human rights and forced migration. I have also extensively researched and published on these issues. I am a passionate international trainer: in the past ten years I had the privilege to teach over three thousand lawyers, judges, public administration and police officers, journalists, professors, NGO workers and staff members of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) from all continents of the world, on various topics related to asylum, migration and statelessness. I am the president and a founding member of the European Network on Statelessness (ENS) and a listed expert with the European Judicial Training Network (EJTN).

 

Jack Heriz-Smith

Jack Heriz-Smith

Jack began his career in executive search for emerging markets, working with the world's largest multinational companies to find and hire local business leaders across Sub Saharan Africa. In 2015, he moved into the third sector building corporate partnerships for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity, and subsequently Shelter where he also led on the campaign to end housing benefit discrimination. In 2020, he retrained as a full stack web developer and now focuses on developing technological solutions to social issues.

Ivanka Kostic

Ivanka Kostic

Ivanka is founder and Executive Director of Praxis and a lawyer with significant experience in the field of human rights and forced migration. She lives and works in Belgrade, Serbia. Ivanka investigated war crimes and human rights violations for the Humanitarian Law Centre before working for the Norwegian Refugee Council as a senior lawyer for the Civil Rights Project. Later, as Project Manager she oversaw efforts to improve conditions for the influx of refugees and persons displaced by the conflict in former Yugoslavia by providing legal assistance and advocacy. Now, at Praxis, Ivanka continues to work on forced migration, statelessness, discrimination and access to social and economic rights in Serbia. In addition, she has worked to advance cross-border cooperation among the Western Balkan states and increase connections internationally.

Jean Lambert

Jean Lambert

Jean served as a British Member of the European Parliament between 1999 and 2019. During her tenure she worked on issues ranging from free movement and social inclusion to asylum and immigration, from energy and sustainability to human rights and peace. As a member of the Civil Liberties and Justice and Home Affairs Committee, Jean has focused in protecting the rights of migrants and asylum seekers, including making statelessness a priority for the cross-party group on children’s rights to ensure no child is left stateless. She was one of the first parliamentarians to work on the issue of climate displacement. In 2005, Jean was recognised for her work and was selected the top MEP for Justice and Human Rights by Parliament Magazine. Jean was also nominated for the prestigious Nansen Refugee Award, awarded annually by the UN Refugee Agency.

Allan Leas

Allan Leas

Chair

Allan left South Africa in 1979 and was granted asylum on the grounds of his refusal to serve in the SADF. In London he was a founder member of the Committee on South African War Resisters, a period during which he worked for the Anti-Apartheid Movement and the ANC. In 1989 he joined the Refugee Council. For sixteen years he then worked for the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE). Following this he undertook consultancy work for the Dutch Council for Refugees, worked as Executive Director of Africa Middle East Refugee Assistance (AMERA) and returned to ECRE as Acting Secretary General. As a consultant to the voluntary sector he has worked for many organisations, including OSI, UNHCR, the Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad and others. He has recently retired as an Adviser to the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) and is a Trustee for the Afghan and Central Asian Association. Allan is a published writer of educational history books and a performed playwright.

Anila Noor

Anila Noor

Anila is a refugee-activist, TEDx speaker and a researcher based in the Netherlands. She graduated from Erasmus University Netherlands and is the founder of the New Women Connectors, a movement striving for mainstreaming the unheard voices of migrant and refugee women living across Europe. She also works as a consultant advising institutions on engagement projects related to inclusion and diversity. She is a former fellow of the Open Society Foundation and a former member of European Migrant Advisory Board. In her previous role she worked as a policy advisor on integration for the City of Amsterdam. She found herself involved in issues related to forced migration and identity crisis as a result of going through similar experiences. She is passionate about her work with refugee, migrant and stateless communities, to help increase their participation in policy-making processes affecting their access to rights.

Daniel O'Connor

Treasurer

Daniel is a career banker with extensive experience within treasury management. He currently works for Cynergy bank as their Senior Treasury Analyst managing the banks liquidity and market risks. He previously worked at HSBC where he held several senior positions including the Deputy Treasurer role in the Channel Islands. Dan has a keen interest in global markets and current affairs.

Maurice Wren

Maurice Wren

Maurice joined the Refugee Council as Chief Executive in March 2013, following twelve years as Director of Asylum Aid, a charity providing legal representation to people seeking refugee protection.

Previously, he held senior management roles in homelessness at Shelter and the Housing Associations Charitable Trust.

Maurice co-founded the Independent Asylum Commission in 2007, Detention Forum in 2009 and the Refugee Mental Health Forum in 2016. He is presently Co-Chair of the National Asylum Stakeholder Forum at the Home Office and Chair of UK Refugee Week steering group.

In addition to the European Network on Statelessness, he is a Trustee of Migrant Voice and of the refugee choir, Woven Gold. 

Maurice became a Patron of Action Foundation in 2016 and was awarded an honorary doctorate by Edinburgh University in November 2017 in recognition of his humanitarian support for refugees.

Maurice is retiring from the Refugee Council at the end of 2020.