Staff and Leadership

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Sophia Gaston – Managing Director
Sophia is the Director of the British Foreign Policy Group.

A social and political researcher specialising in public opinion, her research particularly explores populism, nationalism and the rise of anti-establishment movements, as well as broader threats to governance in Western nations.

Through the British Foreign Policy Group, she works to highlight the domestic social and political origins of the destabilising forces in the international world order.

Recent projects include multi-country studies on rising economic and social insecurity in Europe, the growing political salience of nostalgia, the rise of conspiracy theories, and the consequences of demographic change and inter-generational conflict on transatlantic policy-making environments.

Sophia is also a Research Fellow in the Institute for Global Affairs at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and an Academic Fellow at the European Policy Centre in Brussels.

She is a regular media commentator in broadcast and the press, and frequently presents her research at conferences and workshops in the UK and internationally.

sophia.gaston@bfpg.co.uk

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Matt Gillow – Communications and Events Manager

Matt is the Communications & Events Manager at the British Foreign Policy Group. Previously, Matt worked in Parliament for a Cabinet Minister, for a number of public affairs and strategic communications practices, and as an Associate at a Westminster think-tank. Whilst reading International Relations at the University of Leeds, Matt founded TalkPolitics, an award-winning campaign for political education and democratic participation, and 1828, a liberal opinion platform. Matt has experience working on a number of political campaigns and organisations at both local and national level, and writes regularly for platforms including the Telegraph, Huffington Post, CityAM and the Independent on areas such as foreign aid, trade policy and movements for human rights and democracy.

matt.gillow@bfpg.co.uk

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Evie Aspinall – Researcher

Evie Aspinall is a Researcher at the British Foreign Policy Group. Having graduated from the University of Cambridge with a degree in Political science she went on to become President of Cambridge University Students’ Union. She has recently completed her Master’s in International Development from King’s College London, where she was UN Women UK’s Student Champion. Her primary research interests are Higher Education, foreign aid and gender equality. At the BFPG, Evie focuses heavily on our US and China research streams.

evie.aspinall@bfpg.co.uk

Honorary Presidents

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Sir Simon Fraser GCMG

Sir Simon is a founder and managing director of Flint Global, a business advisory firm. He is also one of the founding trustees of the Patchwork Foundation, a newly established charity which works to promote and encourage the positive integration of under-represented, deprived and minority communities into British democracy and civil society. He is also Deputy Chairman of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House). In his public service career, Sir Simon was the Head of the UK Foreign Office and Diplomatic Service, and before that he led the UK Department for Business and held a succession of senior roles in the British Government and the European Commission. He was the UK Civil Service Champion for Inclusion and Diversity.

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The Rt Hon Gisela Stuart

Gisela has a wealth of experience in politics, with a particular concern to ensure UK foreign policy reflects and protects the interests of citizens across the UK.  Gisela is Chair of Change Britain, an organisation set up to make a success of Britain’s exit of the EU. During the European Referendum campaign in 2016 she was Chair of the Vote Leave campaign. Previously she was the MP for Birmingham Edgbaston from 1997 until she stood down in 2017.  As an MP, amongst other things, she was on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, Defence Select Committee, and Intelligence and Security Committee.

Advisory Directors

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Tom Cargill
Tom Cargill is the Executive Director of British Expertise International (BEI). 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 was the founder of the British Foreign Policy Group in 2016 until Sophia Gaston became Director in summer 2019.

Peter Dawson
Peter Dawson is chief financial officer and director of Bechtel Group, Inc., a leading engineering, project management and construction company. He also serves as executive sponsor of the corporate services including Bechtel Enterprises (Bechtel’s project financing and development arm), Corporate Affairs, IS&T, and Security. A UK citizen, Peter joined Bechtel in 1978 in London, and has held a wide range of commercial and operational leadership roles including recently as head of the global infrastructure division. Peter is married with two children, and holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in natural sciences from St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge University. He currently serves on the Campaign Board for the University and Colleges of Cambridge, and the Board of Cambridge in America.

Peter O’Kane
Peter chairs the Strategy International Group, which, among other things, owns the long-established private business networks, The D Group and British Expertise. Both organisations’ members operate at the forefront of the UK’s international trading challenges. A life-long internationalist, his career has taken him around the globe. Following his MA at Cambridge he worked for John Swire in Hong Kong, Australia and The Philippines. Years in financial services saw him practise in The City, the US and Scandinavia, returning to the East, notably China, Korea and SE Asia, when he took over Crosby a leading pan-Asian investment banking business. Since its sale he has focused on a range of finance and UK technology businesses, assuming the chairmanship of Strategy in 2014.

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@thebfpg.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.