Senior Staff

Photo of Doris Afreh
Doris Afreh
Trustee

Doris joined the Board in 2015 and is a member of the HR committee. Doris has over 15 year’s experience as a senior HR professional working within different sectors including social care, education and private businesses. She is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development. Passionate about people, equality, inclusion and personally aligned to MRC’s values and principles.

As a busy practitioner currently working as a Director of HR for a children’s charity and serving as a school governor time to relax is limited. However Doris can occasionally be found dressed up in pink joining a fun run or two raising money for various charities.

Categories: Trustees
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Yva Alexandrova Meadway
Policy & Campaigns Manager

Yva joined MRC in 2018. Yva has extensive policy & influencing strategy at national in international levels in the UK and Europe. Before MRC, Yva was Partnerships and Innovation Officer at London Gypsies & Travellers. Prior to that she was Senior Analyst at the Centre for the Study of Democracy, a leading think tank in Sofia, Bulgaria. Among her other roles, she has served as Programme Manager at the International Centre for Migration Policy Development, based in Vienna. She has an MSc in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). Yva has a strong commitment to supporting refugees and migrants to develop their potential.

Categories: Leadership Team, SMT
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Rebekah Duncan
Trustee

Rebekah joined the MRC Board in August 2018. She is Head of Operations for the Prince’s Trust, responsible for engaging local communities, government, education institutes and employers to deliver operations that address social mobility and youth unemployment. She has previously advised and supported local government and global organisations on corporate social responsibility and community impact agendas, including leading research programmes to secure significant investment into mentoring and employability opportunities for migrants & refugees.

Whilst completing her MSc in Social & Cultural Anthropology at UCL, Rebekah set up a food waste charity project that remains active today. She also holds a postgraduate diploma in Communities Engagement and Enterprise, and a CELTA qualification gained working with Vietnamese refugees in Bangkok. A community organiser by background, she has sat on the Inspiration Network for Locality, and is a founding member of the Association of RSLM Practitioners. Her strong research background and passion for community integration, civil rights and social inclusion has drawn her to MRC’s mission and vision.

Categories: Trustees
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Laura Dunn
Customer Experience Manager

Laura is our Customer Experience Manager and joined the team in 2018. Previously, she worked in different aspects of customer service within the charity sector, and most recently managed the Supporter Care team at the disability charity Scope. She has an MA in Social Anthropology from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and focused on how welcoming London is to migrants. Laura is passionate about recognising the benefits of migration and creating a more welcoming and productive environment for everyone to thrive.

Categories: Leadership Team
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Maria Gonzalez Dardagan
Institutional Fundraising Officer

Maria joined MRC, (then Asylum Aid) in 2006. Before that she was Coordinator of a migrant organisation doing community development work and campaigning for worker’s rights.

Categories: Leadership Team
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Ian Kane
Legal Services Manager

Ian joined MRC (then Asylum Aid) in 2014 from Brent Community Law Centre, where he was Director. Before that, he was Regional Manager at Refugee and Migrant Justice. With over seventeen years of experience representing asylum seekers and refugees, Ian is a passionate and skilled caseworker and manager with a commitment to supporting vulnerable clients.

Categories: Leadership Team, SMT
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Vebi Kosumi
Trustee

Vebi Kosumi migrated to the UK from Kosovo during the dissolution of former Yugoslavia. He has worked with refugees and people seeking asylum since 2000 in the UK and abroad.

Vebi graduated in law – LLB in the University of Pristina, former Yugoslavia (SFRY), and Masters of Laws in International Law with International relations (LLM) from the University of Kent.

Currently he is working freelance consultant and country of origin expert on western Balkans region focusing on Albania and Kosovo.

For eight years Vebi was the Director of the Dover Detainee Visitors Group (now Samphire). He is a Trustee of Music in Detention since 2006 and Asylum Aid since 2013. As a board member, he contributed to the merger of Asylum Aid and Migrant Resource Centre. He ensures that the interests of the organisation are advanced appropriately and effectively, and the organisation is enabled to achieve its stated mission. Ensuring that the organisation operates within the legal and financial frameworks which apply to MRC as a registered charity.

Categories: Trustees
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Wayne Myslik FRSA
Chief Executive

Wayne joined MRC (then Asylum Aid) as Chief Executive in March 2013, after fifteen years working in senior positions in the charity and private sectors in the UK and Africa. Wayne is a demographer with extensive experience in migration studies. He has lectured in demography, geography and sociology at the University of Cape Town (RSA), University of Western Cape (RSA), University of Natal (RSA), and Syracuse University (USA). A specialist in strategic planning and organisational change, Wayne has led management consulting firms in the UK and South Africa, where he advised numerous multinational corporations. He has been Managing Director of Twelve Winds Consulting since it’s founding. Before joining MRC, Wayne held senior roles at several international NGOs including Oxfam GB and Panos London. He is currently a Trustee of Zurich Community Trust.

Categories: Leadership Team, SMT
Photo of Isabella Pereira
Isabella Pereira
Chairperson

Isabella is a Research Director in Ipsos MORI’s dedicated qualitative social research methods team, which she helped found in 2013.  She leads evaluations and research studies for government departments, think tanks and charities covering issues such as immigration, housing, welfare and family policy.  She also leads Ipsos MORI’s qualitative social research training programme and their in-house research ethics committee. Isabella is a trustee for Social Research Association and has been a mentee on the Fabian Women’s Network mentoring programme to support women into political and public life.  She has been a trustee of MRC since 2009, and is very proud to be involved with a such a diverse and innovative organisation.

Categories: Trustees
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Ciaran Price
Communications & Public Affairs Officer

Ciaran joined the team in early 2017 having previously worked in policy positions with in the UK voluntary sector. His background is in international relations and public policy and has previously worked for migrant and community development projects in the UK, Ireland and Rwanda.

For media inquiries contact Ciaran on 07483 120 703 or ciaran.price@migrants.org.uk

Categories: Leadership Team
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Richard Priestman
Trustee

Richard Priestman is a Chartered Accountant and has over 30 years experience in the finance and banking sectors

Richard has spent over 25 years working for NatWest bank and Royal Bank of Scotland group where most recently he was managing director of Corporate Businesses of Lombard and a board director of Lombard the finance house and leasing division of the group.

He was also chair of the business division and a board director of the Finance and Leasing Association, a trade body that is responsible for over a third of all consumer lending and over a quarter of all fixed capital formation spending within the UK.

He has also worked overseas in Canada for the British Columbian Provincial Government where as a forensic accountant he was involved in an investigation into expenses abuse by provincial MPs

His public sector/voluntary experience includes being President and a board director for East Sussex Credit Union  and director and trustee for a Canadian social services charity. He is also the treasurer and a board member of Citizens Advice Board, and a board director of the Local Government Association

Richard is married with two children and is a graduate of Glasgow University having attained a Bachelor of Accountancy degree(BAcc)

Categories: Trustees
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Sile Reynolds
Trustee

Sile joined MRC as a trustee in 2015. She is the Lead Asylum Policy Advisor at Freedom from Torture and leads advocacy aimed at improving legal and policy protections for torture survivors as asylum applicants and refugees in the UK. She has over fifteen years’ experience in policy research and advocacy, covering asylum & migration, mental health and equalities. She has worked with non-governmental organisations including the British Refugee Council and Mind, as well as providing policy and casework expertise at UNHCR both in the UK and in the Republic of the Congo. She is motivated by a desire to better understand the experience of migrants in the UK and to help generate policy solutions that will make a meaningful difference to their lives.

Categories: Trustees
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Isabel Roz Lopez
Co-production and Involvement Manager

Isabel joined MRC in 2018 as Co-production and Involvement Manager. She is a social educator with wide-ranging experience in the third sector in the areas of personalisation, social inclusion, user involvement and increasing the influence of users in governance. Her previous roles include national lead in personalisation and inclusion with Scope and United Response, and managing independent advocacy with Disability Action. Isabel has a BA (Hons) in Women’s Studies from the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of East London. She has extensive experience in developing and managing charities at a board level and as an activist campaigning for human rights. Isabel’s role is to ensure the involvement and influence of people supported by MRC is a core part of our work and culture at all levels.

Categories: Leadership Team
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Debora Singer MBE
Senior Policy Adviser

Debora started work as Manager of the Women’s Project in 2004, and has managed all our policy and research work on gender issues in the asylum system since 2009. She previously worked at Victim Support, and in 2012 was awarded an MBE for her work on the rights of women.

Categories: Leadership Team
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Jonathan Thomas
Trustee

Jonathan joined MRC as a trustee in May 2018. Interested in all aspects of the huge challenges and opportunities inherent in migration, Jonathan is currently the Migration Researcher at the Social Market Foundation think tank. Prior to that he had a career as a financial lawyer in the City of London, including 15 years at Goldman Sachs where he was a managing director and European head of the legal function for Goldman’s asset management business. Jonathan has a BA in History from Oxford University and an LLM in Immigration Law from Queen Mary, University of London.

Categories: Trustees
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Adrian van Schalkwyk
Operations Manager

Adrian joined MRC (then Asylum Aid) in 2015. He has extensive experience as an Operations and Financial Manager in the charity, not for profit and private sectors. He has project managed the successful delivery of a number of large European Funded Projects over a wide geographic area, ensuring that all committed project outputs were achieved within budget. He has experience in the fields of both Human Resources and IT. He has experience in the operation of UK and European funding streams and has been a SFEDI qualified business advisor. He also has credit lending and credit control experience gained with a major banking group. He is passionate about helping others and assisting in developing to their fullest capacity.

Categories: Leadership Team, SMT
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Sheena Vella

Sheena joined MRC in 2017. She is a social and cultural psychologist and has worked in the field of migration for the past 7 years in Malta and the U.K. Before MRC, Sheena was a development worker at the Evelyn Oldfield Unit. Before joining the voluntary sector, she was a research officer at the Department of Psychology and Counselling at the University of Malta, and a community worker in a family open centre for asylum seekers in Malta. She graduated with an MSc Social & Cultural Psychology from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2012.

Categories: Uncategorized
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Amanuel Woldesus
Integration & Community Development Manager

Amanuel joined MRC in 2017 from Regenerate-RISE, a charity that supports isolated elderly people, where he was Chief Executive. Before that, he has been a senior manager at The Upper Room, at Media Trust, Freedom from Torture, and Refugee Council. As someone with a refugee background himself as well as over 20 years’ experience working with migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, Amanuel has an excellent understanding of the hopes and needs of migrants, refugees and asylum seeking communities.

Categories: Leadership Team, SMT