EXECUTIVE TEAM

Polly Akhurst Co-founder and co-director Polly Akhurst studied the IBDP at UWC Atlantic College and continued her studies at the University of Oxford. Polly works for the UWC International in London, where she runs engagement programmes for UWC’s 60,000 strong alumni demographic. Polly has a longstanding interest in changemaker education, and has experience of working with organisations such as Ashoka, Kaospilots, and in leading several changemaker educational programmes for UWC alumni. In her spare time, she also runs Talk to me, an initiative that encourages strangers to talk each other in large cities.

Polly Akhurst

Co-founder and co-director

Polly Akhurst studied the IBDP at UWC Atlantic College and continued her studies at the University of Oxford. Polly works for the UWC International in London, where she runs engagement programmes for UWC’s 60,000 strong alumni demographic. Polly has a longstanding interest in changemaker education, and has experience of working with organisations such as Ashoka, Kaospilots, and in leading several changemaker educational programmes for UWC alumni. In her spare time, she also runs Talk to me, an initiative that encourages strangers to talk each other in large cities.

Frances Howell Communications and fundraising volunteer Frances is an alum of UWC Atlantic College and recently graduated from the School of Oriental and African Studies with a degree in Arabic and History. Her final year dissertation explored alternative food movements as a means of social, economic, and political activism in Palestine; she is passionate about innovative forms of education, community-building and social change. Frances has previously worked with non-profits including VSO, Oxfam, UWC International and Bait al Karama, in research, policy, advocacy, and interpreting.  

Frances Howell

Communications and fundraising volunteer

Frances is an alum of UWC Atlantic College and recently graduated from the School of Oriental and African Studies with a degree in Arabic and History. Her final year dissertation explored alternative food movements as a means of social, economic, and political activism in Palestine; she is passionate about innovative forms of education, community-building and social change. Frances has previously worked with non-profits including VSO, Oxfam, UWC International and Bait al Karama, in research, policy, advocacy, and interpreting.

 

Pascal Zigashane Coordinator and IT Support, Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya Pascal Zigashane is from the Democratic Republic of Congo. As well as studying for his online diploma in Social Work from Regis University. Pascal is currently working for JRS (Jesuit Refugee Service) as an IT Assistant, providing technical support to JWL (Jesuit Worldwide Learning) students and JRS staff team in Kakuma Refugee Camp. Pascal is the Executive Director of URISE Initiative for Africa. He has previously worked as a secondary school teacher and outreach coordinator for several organisations in Kakuma. See more...  

Pascal Zigashane

Coordinator and IT Support, Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya

Pascal Zigashane is from the Democratic Republic of Congo. As well as studying for his online diploma in Social Work from Regis University. Pascal is currently working for JRS (Jesuit Refugee Service) as an IT Assistant, providing technical support to JWL (Jesuit Worldwide Learning) students and JRS staff team in Kakuma Refugee Camp. Pascal is the Executive Director of URISE Initiative for Africa. He has previously worked as a secondary school teacher and outreach coordinator for several organisations in Kakuma. See more...

 

Mia Eskelund Pedersen Co-founder and co-director Mia Eskelund Pedersen, an alumna of UWC Mahindra College, and the School of Oriental and African Studies, Mia currently works at UWC International in London, where she oversees UWC’s volunteer-led national committee network. Mia studied Arabic for her degree and spent a year in Syria, where she co-founded the UWC Syria National Committee. She has extensive experience of working with refugee youth, through UWC’s Refugee Initiative, as well as volunteering to support asylum seeking women in the UK. She is passionate about minority rights and making educational opportunity accessible for all. See more...

Mia Eskelund Pedersen

Co-founder and co-director

Mia Eskelund Pedersen, an alumna of UWC Mahindra College, and the School of Oriental and African Studies, Mia currently works at UWC International in London, where she oversees UWC’s volunteer-led national committee network. Mia studied Arabic for her degree and spent a year in Syria, where she co-founded the UWC Syria National Committee. She has extensive experience of working with refugee youth, through UWC’s Refugee Initiative, as well as volunteering to support asylum seeking women in the UK. She is passionate about minority rights and making educational opportunity accessible for all. See more...

Rinad Salkham Translation and research volunteer Rinad, a recent alumna of UWC Atlantic College, is currently a student at Brown University, where she studies Economics and Middle East Studies. She strongly believes in the importance of working to assimilate refugees into the societies they live in, especially through education. She has worked a lot with refugees, helping them with their English skills, while she was a volunteer in STAR and OASIS in the UK. See more...    

Rinad Salkham

Translation and research volunteer

Rinad, a recent alumna of UWC Atlantic College, is currently a student at Brown University, where she studies Economics and Middle East Studies. She strongly believes in the importance of working to assimilate refugees into the societies they live in, especially through education. She has worked a lot with refugees, helping them with their English skills, while she was a volunteer in STAR and OASIS in the UK. See more...

 

 

Jacob Warn Online faciliator Jacob, an alumnus of the University of Oxford, is a teacher, journalist and musician. Passionate about innovative and social responses to the refugee crisis, he has worked in Greece with Be Aware and Share, providing education and youth opportunities to asylum-seekers and has developed a number of media and outreach projects with the aim of raising awareness and sensitivity towards migrant issues. Jacob has previously worked with Oxfam GB and Amnesty International, and held a number of teaching roles in schools. See more  

Jacob Warn

Online faciliator

Jacob, an alumnus of the University of Oxford, is a teacher, journalist and musician. Passionate about innovative and social responses to the refugee crisis, he has worked in Greece with Be Aware and Share, providing education and youth opportunities to asylum-seekers and has developed a number of media and outreach projects with the aim of raising awareness and sensitivity towards migrant issues. Jacob has previously worked with Oxfam GB and Amnesty International, and held a number of teaching roles in schools. See more

 

Stuart MacAlpine Director of Education Stuart is a learning programme designer, professional learning leader and school leader with a passion for the humanist tradition and internationalism and is a life long fan of Kurt Hahn and UWC.  Stuart currently leads the learning programme for Service, Outdoor Education, Personal Social Education, Activities and Academics for the UWC South East Asia in Singapore, East Campus as Director of Teaching and Learning.  Stuart is originally from the UK, his wife is Italian and their children have grown up in Singapore. See more...  

Stuart MacAlpine

Director of Education

Stuart is a learning programme designer, professional learning leader and school leader with a passion for the humanist tradition and internationalism and is a life long fan of Kurt Hahn and UWC.  Stuart currently leads the learning programme for Service, Outdoor Education, Personal Social Education, Activities and Academics for the UWC South East Asia in Singapore, East Campus as Director of Teaching and Learning.  Stuart is originally from the UK, his wife is Italian and their children have grown up in Singapore. See more...

 

Emerimana Daniel Christian Lead Facilitator - Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya Daniel moved to Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya from Burundi in 2009. In 2014, he graduated from the Regis University with an advanced Diploma in Liberal Arts. Daniel has a vast experience in working with refugee youth. He is the founder of the  URISE Initiative for Africa, a community-based organisation that seeks to find meaning in the life of refugees through youth empowerment. He served as the Assistant Supervisor with the Jesuit Refugee Service for two years, and later joined the UNHCR's Resettlement Unit as an interpreter. He describes himself as a young entrepreneur who is passionate about peace, youth empowerment and social change in Africa. See more...

Emerimana Daniel Christian

Lead Facilitator - Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya

Daniel moved to Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya from Burundi in 2009. In 2014, he graduated from the Regis University with an advanced Diploma in Liberal Arts. Daniel has a vast experience in working with refugee youth. He is the founder of the  URISE Initiative for Africa, a community-based organisation that seeks to find meaning in the life of refugees through youth empowerment. He served as the Assistant Supervisor with the Jesuit Refugee Service for two years, and later joined the UNHCR's Resettlement Unit as an interpreter. He describes himself as a young entrepreneur who is passionate about peace, youth empowerment and social change in Africa. See more...

Eleanor Mackenzie-Smith Translation volunteer Eleanor is a recent graduate from the University of Edinburgh, where she obtained an MA in Arabic and Spanish. Eleanor spent her year abroad in Cairo, where she became passionate about Arab feminism, and subsequently wrote her undergraduate dissertation on that topic. She also set up a language exchange for Syrian refugees in Edinburgh. Having previously worked in Beirut, Eleanor wants to contribute to the economic growth and development of the Arab world, and is particularly interested in the fields of education and communication. See more...

Eleanor Mackenzie-Smith

Translation volunteer

Eleanor is a recent graduate from the University of Edinburgh, where she obtained an MA in Arabic and Spanish. Eleanor spent her year abroad in Cairo, where she became passionate about Arab feminism, and subsequently wrote her undergraduate dissertation on that topic. She also set up a language exchange for Syrian refugees in Edinburgh. Having previously worked in Beirut, Eleanor wants to contribute to the economic growth and development of the Arab world, and is particularly interested in the fields of education and communication. See more...


ADVISORY GROUP

Sara Heinrich Sara manages the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s work with schools & colleges and informal education. Previously, she has taught English at Lister Community School, Newham, London, and remains an active Teach First ambassador. A UWC alumna herself, Sara has coordinated UWC Short Courses in Turkey, Swaziland and Germany and continues to support short course volunteer teams. She loves exploring the outdoors, reading novels and discussing politics over a good meal. See more...    

Sara Heinrich

Sara manages the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s work with schools & colleges and informal education. Previously, she has taught English at Lister Community School, Newham, London, and remains an active Teach First ambassador. A UWC alumna herself, Sara has coordinated UWC Short Courses in Turkey, Swaziland and Germany and continues to support short course volunteer teams. She loves exploring the outdoors, reading novels and discussing politics over a good meal. See more...

 

 

Dima AlMekdad Dima AlMekdad is a Syrian London based scientist pursuing a PhD in Bioanalysis research at King’s College London, and working at LGC as a research analyst. Parallel to her scientific career, Dima is actively engaged in education and cultural projects. She volunteers as Jusoor's London Ambassador and as a member of UWC Syrian National Committee. Dima is also a co-founder of Qisetna: Talking Syria. See more...    

Dima AlMekdad

Dima AlMekdad is a Syrian London based scientist pursuing a PhD in Bioanalysis research at King’s College London, and working at LGC as a research analyst. Parallel to her scientific career, Dima is actively engaged in education and cultural projects. She volunteers as Jusoor's London Ambassador and as a member of UWC Syrian National Committee. Dima is also a co-founder of Qisetna: Talking Syria. See more...

 

 

Shruti Tewari Shruti Tewari has worked at UWCSEA East since August 2012 as a University Advisor. Previously she worked in Jakarta, Indonesia two years as a College Counselor and as an IB MYP and DP English teacher. Prior to that, Shruti worked at UWC Mahindra College in India for three years as the Director of College Guidance and an IB DP English teacher. She’s an Indian national who grew up and studied in the UK, Hong Kong, and India. Shruti believes in education and empowerments, and enjoys working with students, parents, teachers and mentors throughout the application process. See more...  

Shruti Tewari


Shruti Tewari has worked at UWCSEA East since August 2012 as a University Advisor. Previously she worked in Jakarta, Indonesia two years as a College Counselor and as an IB MYP and DP English teacher. Prior to that, Shruti worked at UWC Mahindra College in India for three years as the Director of College Guidance and an IB DP English teacher. She’s an Indian national who grew up and studied in the UK, Hong Kong, and India. Shruti believes in education and empowerments, and enjoys working with students, parents, teachers and mentors throughout the application process. See more...
 

Christer Windeløv-Lidzélius Christer Windeløv-Lidzélius is the principal at Kaospilot, a renowned disruptor in higher education that develops leadership and fosters entrepreneurship. For more than 15 years, Christer has been working in the fields of leadership, strategy, innovation and entrepreneurship. He has lectured and advised companies on 5 continents, and worked in more than 25 countries for private companies, NGOs and public organisations alike. See more    

Christer Windeløv-Lidzélius

Christer Windeløv-Lidzélius is the principal at Kaospilot, a renowned disruptor in higher education that develops leadership and fosters entrepreneurship. For more than 15 years, Christer has been working in the fields of leadership, strategy, innovation and entrepreneurship. He has lectured and advised companies on 5 continents, and worked in more than 25 countries for private companies, NGOs and public organisations alike. See more

 

 

Sari Samakie Sari is a Syrian, Jordan based student finishing his senior year at King’s Academy and is heading to Georgetown University for college. Sari is the Co-founder of Fikra 3al Mashi, an educational nonprofit working with urban refugees and underprivileged students, he is also a photographer and a speaker on the importance of education, tolerance and forgiveness. In Syria, Sari was apprehended, abducted and taken out of school for three years. Sari is also the 2016 winner of the Kurt Hahn Prize.  

Sari Samakie

Sari is a Syrian, Jordan based student finishing his senior year at King’s Academy and is heading to Georgetown University for college. Sari is the Co-founder of Fikra 3al Mashi, an educational nonprofit working with urban refugees and underprivileged students, he is also a photographer and a speaker on the importance of education, tolerance and forgiveness. In Syria, Sari was apprehended, abducted and taken out of school for three years. Sari is also the 2016 winner of the Kurt Hahn Prize.

 

Maya Alkateb-Chami Maya Alkateb-Chami is the Director of Jusoor, a nonprofit that helps Syria through education, and a consultant and founder at the Community Arts Initiative. Previously, she ran Al Makan Art Association and led the UWC scholarship program for Syrian adolescents. She also consulted and taught in the areas of NGO capacity building and youth engagement, including for Maastricht School of Management and UNRWA. Maya holds an MSc in Education from Indiana University Bloomington and a BA in Political Science from Damascus University. See more...

Maya Alkateb-Chami

Maya Alkateb-Chami is the Director of Jusoor, a nonprofit that helps Syria through education, and a consultant and founder at the Community Arts Initiative. Previously, she ran Al Makan Art Association and led the UWC scholarship program for Syrian adolescents. She also consulted and taught in the areas of NGO capacity building and youth engagement, including for Maastricht School of Management and UNRWA. Maya holds an MSc in Education from Indiana University Bloomington and a BA in Political Science from Damascus University. See more...