Team

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Evie Aspinall – Director Evie Aspinall is the Director of the British Foreign Policy Group. Her primary research interests are domestic consent for foreign policy, the UK’s role in the world and challenges posed by the UK’s strategic rivals. Evie holds a BA from the University of Cambridge and an MSc from King’s College London. She has previously worked at UN Women UK and the Future Leaders Network and was formerly the UK Head Delegate to the Youth7, the G7’s official youth engagement group. She also served as President of Cambridge University Students’ Union. She is a regular commentator in the media on issues pertinent to UK foreign policy. Contact: evie.aspinall@bfpg.co.uk

David Landsman – Senior Advisor David is a Senior Adviser at the British Foreign Policy Group. David is also Chief Executive of British Expertise International, and Senior Advisor at The D Group, two of BFPG’s sister organisations. He is a former British diplomat and senior executive whose main area of interest now is the interface between business, government and geopolitics. His diplomatic career included serving as British Ambassador to Albania and Greece and working on defence and proliferation. He has had executive roles at De La Rue plc and the Tata Group’s holding company in Europe. His other current positions include Chair of Digital Cognate, a deep tech company, and of the British-Serbian Chamber of Commerce; Partner at Circklo, which supports early-stage tech businesses; and member of the International Advisory Board of the London Institute of Banking and Finance.  He has a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Cambridge and is a Chartered Director.

Eliza Keogh  – Researcher and Programmes Manager Eliza is a BFPG Researcher and Programmes Manager, supporting the BFPG’s external relationships and managing the BFPG’s programme of events and activities. After studying Political Science at the University of Exeter and the University of Sydney, she went on to join the charity sector in both Communications and Policy and Research positions. Her primary research interests are climate change, energy security, and UK soft power. Contact: eliza.keogh@bfpg.co.uk

Senior Research Fellows

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Helen Ramscar is a leading expert on soft power within international relations and the co-author of Britain’s Persuaders: Soft Power in a Hard World (Bloomsbury / IB Tauris, 2021) and Tipping Point: Britain, Brexit and Security in the 2020s (Bloomsbury / IB Tauris, 2019). Her research interests also include global health security and medical diplomacy. She is an Associate Fellow of the Royal United Services Institute, where previously she was Director of Development. She has worked in the House of Commons, the Royal Household and the US Embassy in London. She lives in Switzerland and is a Basel board member of the British-Swiss Chamber of Commerce. She is proud of launching two successful aid initiatives: www.book-relief.org in August 2021 to support Afghanistan refugee children airlifted to the UK, and www.ambulance-relief.org to deliver ambulances into Ukraine for which she was given a Platinum Jubilee award in June 2022.

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Dr. Rebecca Harding is a Senior Research Fellow of the British Foreign Policy Group and an independent trade economist, public speaker and sustainable trade and supply chain specialist. She has built three data-based technology businesses in the trade and sustainability space and held senior positions as Head of Corporate Research at Deloitte, Senior Fellow at London Business School, and Chief Economist roles at the Work Foundation, and UK Finance. She acted as Specialist Adviser to the Treasury Select Committee and advised the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Entrepreneurship. She has acted as a trade finance and supply chains expert witness, is a member of the World Trade Board, the ITFA’s ESG Committee and the ICC’s sustainable trade finance technology sub-committee. Between 2004 and 2018 she was a Director and Trustee of the German-British Forum. 

 

Her co-authored books, “The Weaponization of Trade: the Great Unbalancing of Policy and Economics” and “Gaming Trade: Win-Win Strategies for the Digital Era” have defined the trade-based nature of strategic competition in the digital era. She provided the business case for the adoption into UK law the framework to enable digital trade; her work on the “regulatory paradox” of current sustainability reporting requirements has catalysed the establishment of the ITFA’s cross-industry Audit Council to set sustainability reporting and audit standards. She has authored 8 other books on the German economy, global innovation policy, and SME financing and Venture Capital. Her high media profile includes frequent appearances on BBC Television and Radio, Sky News, CNBC, and Times Radio, as well as citations in the broadsheet media.

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Professor Jeremy Black is a key thinker about the role of strategy in the modern age, one who brings in not only historical perspectives but also an active engagement with geopolitical issues. Born in London, he studied at Cambridge, where he graduated with a starred first, and then Oxford, before being a Professor at first Durham and then Exeter. He has lectured extensively on strategy for military institutions in America, Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Indonesia, Japan and Singapore, and also for many businesses. He is a senior fellow at the Center for the Study of America and the West at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia, US. He has served on the Council of the British Records Association(1989–2005); the Council of the Royal Historical Society(1993–1996 and 1997–2000); and the Council of the List and Index Society(from 1997). He has sat on the editorial boards of History Today, International History Review, Journal of Military History, Media History and the Journal of the Royal United Service Institution (now the RUSI Journal). He has authored over 150 publications, many focused  on international relations, British foreign policy  and geopolitics.

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Victoria Baines is a leading authority in the field of online trust, safety and cybersecurity. She frequently contributes to major broadcast media outlets on digital ethics, cybercrime and the misuse of emerging technologies, including Extended Reality and Artificial Intelligence. Her areas of research include electronic surveillance, cybercrime futures, and the politics of security. She also provides research expertise to a number of international organisations, including Interpol, UNICEF and the Council of Europe.

 

For several years Victoria was Facebook’s Trust & Safety Manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa. Her work focused on operational support to law enforcement, and strategic engagement with policy makers on criminal activity online. Before joining Facebook, Victoria led the Strategy team at Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), where she designed and developed the iOCTA, Europe’s flagship threat assessment on cybercrime, and authored Projects 2020 and 2030, scenarios for the future of cybersecurity. Prior to this, Victoria was Principal Analyst at the UK Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). In 2008, the International Association for Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysts recognised Victoria’s work with a global award for outstanding achievement.

 

Victoria is co-host of the award-nominated Cyber Warrior Princess podcast, demystifying cybersecurity for a popular audience, and has been named as one of the top 25 women in cybersecurity. She is also a Freeman of the City of London and Chair of the Security Panel of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists. She serves on the Advisory Boards of cybersecurity provider Reliance ACSN and the International Association of Internet Hotlines (INHOPE), and is a trustee of the Lucy Faithfull Foundation. She is a graduate of Trinity College, Oxford and holds a doctorate from the University of Nottingham, UK. She is a Visiting Fellow at Bournemouth University’s School of Computing, a former Visiting Research Fellow at Oxford University, and was a guest lecturer at Stanford University in 2019 and 2020.

Directors

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Peter O’Kane – Board Member Peter is one of the founders of BFPG, which has been supported from its inception by the Strategy International Group, which he chairs. He was involved in the design and execution of its nationwide, pre-Covid national engagement program which initiated ground -breaking social research amongst key regional citizen, academic and enterprise communities about their attitudes to and needs from UK foreign policy. He has maintained a strong interest in foreign affairs throughout his career, in particular building extensive connections across the Asia Pacific region where he chaired and owned a leading, pan-Asian investment bank. He is active in a number of international forums and networks. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Law from Queens’ College, University of Cambridge.

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Tom Cargill – Non-Executive Chairman  Tom Cargill is the CEO of Wilton Park. He has worked in various roles in the public, private and NGO sectors, including at the charity for children in care Believe, as well as 10 years at Chatham House (The Royal Institute of International Affairs) followed by 4 years at the engineering, procurement and construction multinational Bechtel. He is the author of numerous reports, chapters and articles on international and foreign policy issues. Tom founded the British Foreign Policy Group in 2016.

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Peter Dawson – Director Peter Dawson is a shareholder in Strategy International. Up until 2020 he was a director the former CFO of Bechtel Group, Inc. , a leading engineering, project management and construction company. During his time with Bechtel he also headed up the Global infrastructure division which is based in London, which involved extensive engagement with public and private sector leaders  across developed and emerging markets around the globe. Based between London and San Francisco Peter, a UK national, holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in natural sciences from St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge University and currently serves on the Campaign Board for the University and Colleges of Cambridge, and the Board of Cambridge in America. Peter and his wife, Christina have a strong interest in educational philanthropy and have provided cornerstone funding for the University’s Foundation Year programme which aims to give talented students from disrupted educational backgrounds a new route to undergraduate study at Cambridge

Advisory Board

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Denisa Delić is the Director of Advocacy at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) UK. Denisa has worked on UK foreign policy and conflict and humanitarian issues for almost a decade. Prior to joining the IRC, Denisa was the Head of UK Influencing at Save the Children UK and a parliamentary researcher for a Member of Parliament. She is a Senior Research Fellow at the Foreign Policy Centre and has published blogs and reports on UK foreign policy and conflict and humanitarian issues.  She holds two Masters Degrees in Global Politics and International Business studies.

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Fergus Drake OBE is Chief Executive of Crown Agents, a not-for-profit international development company, established in 1833. Crown Agents work reaches over 71 million people a year in 86 countries, with expertise in Health and Humanitarian programmes, Procurement Reform, Last Mile Supply Chain, Public Sector Transformation and Training & Professional Development. In particular the response to the global COVID19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine has showcased the organisations ability to inspect, procure, freight and deliver critical lifesaving drugs and equipment to the last mile in fragile states. Prior to Crown Agents, Fergus was Executive Director of Global Programmes at Save the Children UK from 2009 to 2017. He has also worked at the centre of government, including roles with HM Treasury in the UK, Deloitte in their Public Sector practice and was embedded in the Government of Rwanda with Tony Blair’s Africa Governance Initiative. Fergus was awarded an OBE in the 2023 New Year’s Honours List for services to UK/Ukraine relations in the Health sector.

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Lovejit Dhaliwal is an award winning journalist who has covered international affairs for over 20 years for the BBC, serving audiences of up to 130 million. Her work includes covering the revolutions in central Asia to the Arab spring, the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa to the global pandemic as well as climate change, the Ukraine Russia war and the conflict in Sudan. She has produced documentaries, presented podcasts, lectured at universities, moderated events and has also been invited to speak at events concerning diversity.

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Juliet Dryden is the CEO and Director of the British International Studies Association (BISA), a membership organisation representing and supporting the scholarly community of academics and students working in International Studies and related disciplines in the UK and abroad. She is responsible for the overall direction and management of the Association, including furthering the research of BISA’s 30 research groups, its publications and increasing and diversifying its membership. Prior to this, Juliet worked for the United Nations (UNRWA, UNOCHA and UNOHCHR) in postings in Gaza, Jerusalem and Amman, specialising in programme and research management and donor relations. She has also worked for LSE IDEAS, Chatham House, the International Institute for Strategic Studies and the West-Asia –North-Africa Institute (WANA) and is a current member of Chatham House’s Governing Council.

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Daniel El-Gamry is Senior Special Adviser to the Secretary of State for Business and Trade and Minister for Women and Equalities, the Rt Hon Kemi Badenoch MP. Since taking up post in September 2022, he has worked on the UK’s accession to the £12 trillion trade bloc the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the Global Investment Summit 2023 which attracted £30 billion of new inward investment to the UK and led on business engagement for the Secretary of State. Prior to this role, he worked in the Number 10 Policy Unit run by Dr Munira Mirza where he was responsible for equalities issues and faith engagement, receiving the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal. One of his most important achievements in post was coordinating the first-ever cross-government action plan to promote racial equality. He was also a Special Adviser in the former Ministry for Housing Communities & Local Government after working in the Conservative Research Department.

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Andrew Hawkins is Founder and CEO of Whitestone Insight, a Westminster-based polling and research consultancy he set up in 2022. Andrew studied Philosophy with International Relations at St Andrews University before being called to the Bar. In the 1990s he worked in Brussels and London before heading up the political research unit of a major polling firm, where his clients included John Major’s Conservative Party. One of the UK’s best-known figures in polling, Andrew established his previous business ComRes in 2003 and built it to become one of the UK’s best-known polling firms until its acquisition in 2019. At ComRes Andrew advised many clients on foreign policy-related issues including major projects for the UK and US Governments on domestic responses to military involvement in global conflicts. He has also worked with numerous embassies in the UK, as well as overseas politicians in Africa, Asia, Trans Caucasus and Europe.

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Ruby Osman is a policy advisor at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, where she leads the institute’s China work supporting senior leaders in developing effective China strategies. Her work focuses on how China’s shifting domestic dynamics will impact how China engages globally, including with the UK. Ruby has appeared on the BBC, Reuters and LBC, as well as writing for TIME, Newsweek and the South China Morning Post on China’s foreign and domestic policy. She also sits on the Institute of Directors’ China committee and previously co-founded the Oxford Silk Road Society think-tank.

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Matthew Otubu is the Strategic Communications Lead for Africa in the international branch of the Government Communication Service at the Cabinet Office. He collaborates with partner and allied governments overseas to sustainably build the capacity and resilience they need to achieve their policy objectives and deliver for their people through better communications planning and delivery. His experience includes implementing aspects of the UK Government Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy in both bilateral and multilateral arenas. Previously, as Head of International Campaigns, he led the UK’s priority multilateral election bid for 2022: successfully securing a UK seat on the council of an important United Nations agency, for the first time in 20 years. In addition, Matthew is the Founder and Convener of Black Politicos, a new network to support and spotlight black professionals working in public policy and public affairs across the UK. He also serves as a Member of the Board of Trustees for Mission 44 – the charitable foundation launched by Sir Lewis Hamilton to transform the lives of young people from underserved communities through education, employment and empowerment. He also serves at Mission 44 as Chair of the Nominations Committee and as Interim Co-Chair of the Impact Committee.

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Colin Smith is Vice President for Delivery at Integrity, an international development consultancy and service provider based in London.  He oversees the delivery of Integrity’s UK portfolio of projects, working with the UK government, World Bank, and others. Colin has over 25 years’ experience of international affairs in the UK’s diplomatic service, with postings to Istanbul, Brussels, Ottawa, New York, and Sofia. His career has focussed on national security issues, in particular addressing hybrid threats, as well as stabilisation in fragile and post-conflict environments. He has been seconded to both the European Commission (EC) and European External Action Service (EEAS), as well as to the Canadian Foreign Ministry.

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David Thompson is the British Council’s Director UK and External Relations, championing the organisation’s commitments to each of the Four Nations and coordinating its interactions with the UK Government. David joined the British Council in 2020 from the Russell Group where he worked closely with Vice-Chancellors and senior representatives of the UK’s leading research-intensive universities on fees, funding and finance policy. Prior to this, he worked in various roles in Parliament and in the Civil Service between 2012 and 2018. In addition to his role at the British Council, David is a Director at the Great Britain-China Centre.

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Cat Tully leads the School of International Futures (SOIF), a not-for-profit international collective of practitioners based in the UK who use futures thinking to inspire change at the local, national and global levels. SOIF has worked with organisations like the UN, Omidyar, NATO, the Royal Society and national governments to make the world fairer for current and future generations.  SOIF also supports a growing network of Next Generation Foresight Practitioners. Previously, Cat served as Strategy Project Director at the UK Foreign Office and as Policy Advisor in the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit. She is a non-resident fellow at the US Government Accountability Office’s Center for Strategic Foresight and a member of the Advisory Committee of the Chilean Council of Foresight and Strategy.

Associate Fellows

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Dr Mafalda Dâmaso is a Visiting Fellow at the European University Institute and Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College London. Her work focuses on EU cultural and media policy and its intersection with diplomacy. Currently, she works as Principal Investigator for Erasmus University Rotterdam on REBOOT, a Horizon Europe project focused on the competitiveness of the European film industry. She is also a Visiting Fellow at the Robert Schuman Centre of the European University Institute. Previously, among other experiences, Mafalda worked with or for the Centre on Public Diplomacy of the University of Southern California, the German Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations, the European Parliament, and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.  Based in London, she is also a Member of the UK Council of Creative UK, Senior Media Policy Advisor of the UK Coalition for Cultural Diversity, and a Member of the Scientific Council of the Portuguese Association of Researchers and Students in the UK.

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James Jennion is the Co-director of the Labour Campaign for Human Rights and works in transnational campaign strategy at a leading international human rights organisation. He previously worked as an adviser to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, where he managed the Committee’s inquiries into human rights violations in Xinjiang and Myanmar, and worked as a senior political affairs adviser to UNICEF UK, where he managed political advocacy around the UK’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He is Chair of the China Working Group of the Labour Foreign Policy Group, and his foreign policy analysis has been published in various outlets and cited in parliamentary, congressional, and governmental reports. He is an incoming part-time PhD candidate at the University of Leeds, where his project will focus on the UK and China’s human rights diplomacy in the Indo-Pacific.

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Michael Martins is a founding partner at Overton Advisory, a public affairs, communications, and geostrategy company. Prior to founding Overton, Michael spent six years working for the State Department at the US Embassy in London, translating UK domestic and foreign policy into their effect on US interests while implementing the foreign policy priorities of Presidents Trump and Biden. He has spent nearly a decade writing for The Economist’s forecasting arm, the Economist Intelligence Unit, covering the UK, US, Russian, EU, and Chinese foreign and domestic policy. Prior to these roles, he worked for the Institute of Directors’ Policy Unit and for politicians in the UK, US, and Canada. He holds an MSc from the London School of Economics and an MA and BA from York University.

Internships and Work Experience The British Foreign Policy Group provides substantive paid internship and work experience placements, largely in the area of Research. Any opportunities will be posted here. We do accept applications to our intern database on a rolling basis and often use this database for recruitment. Please submit your CV and a one-page cover letter explaining your interest in working with the BFPG and any relevant research interests you hold, to hello@bfpg.co.uk. Please note that only successful applicants will be notified. We kindly request that you please do not contact individual members of the BFPG team with unsolicited applications.