The Right Honourable The Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws
KC, FRSA, Hon FRSE
Helena Ann Kennedy, Baroness Kennedy of Shaws has had a distinguished career in law, politics, and academia. Helena has been a member of the bar since 1972 and gained the Queen’s Council in 1991. She served as the first Chair of Oxford Brookes University from 1994-2001, and later Principal of Mansfield College, Oxford from 2011-2018 and Chair of Sheffield Hallam University from 2018 to today.
In 1997 she was awarded a life peerage for her previous work in law. Recently in 2020 she worked across the aisle with MP Ian Duncan Smith to create the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, whereupon she was sanctioned by the Chinese government. She recently led a successful evacuation of 740 women judges and their families on three flights from Afghanistan with the aid of the International Bar Association which sorted temporary asylum in Greece following her personal appeal to the Greek President for their safety.
Helena has been an active and enthusiastic supporter of Flight from Plight’s work.
Chairman - Charles Malcolm-Brown
MA, MIoD, FIPI, FRSA
Charles is an academic, activist, and Managing Director. In the 1990s he was a Fellow of the Government Department at the University of Essex, where he published articles, and co-edited a four-volume reader on ‘Critical Assessments of Marx’s Social and Political Thought’ published in English, French, German, Korean and Chinese. He researched the 1983 & 1987 British Election Studies at the European Social Research Centre, the findings of which were published by the Cambridge University Press in Crewe, Fox and Day’s ‘The British Electorate: 1963-1987’. He was Secretary of the Centre for Citizenship Development. He taught Social and Political Science at Cambridge and was a Visiting Fellow and Director of the Institute for Democracy & Conflict Resolution. He helped shape degrees in politics offered by Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin universities and advised the Department of Education in the 1990s on the provision of postgraduate and doctoral degrees at Cambridge. His ideas also influenced New Labour’s 1997 campaign.
Since the 2000s he has been active in Nepal for democracy, founding the Mountain Trust, an NGO operating there to alleviate poverty – www.mountain-trust.org for example by broadcasting free top quality education via FM radio to students otherwise economically excluded from education and funding health camps, operations etc. He has worked with UCL and the Wellcome Trust on a high-altitude genetics study in Nepal to engineer a genetic therapy for hypoxia. Since 2013 he's been the Managing Director of the Dixon International Group, a world-leading innovator in smoke and fire seals and of Tullamore Investments, its parent company. He recently founded the Smoke Control Consultation Group of experts and peak associations advising Government and Regulators on improving smoke safety provisions in buildings following the Grenfell tragedy because smoke is the primary danger. Following in Baroness Kennedy’s path breaking footprints evacuating three flights of women judges from Afghanistan, Charles began Flight from Plight.
Secretary - Melanie Malcolm-Brown
Melanie Malcolm-Brown graduated with a BA (Hons) in History and English Literature and has had an extensive career at Senior Management level in the NHS and the not for profit Housing Sector including as Chief executive of a Cambridge based Housing Association. More recently she developed a PR and Marketing strategy for the Dixon International Group and joined Cambridge Acoustic Laboratory as Managing Director in August 2020.
Director of Operations - Charlie Beckwith
Charlie graduated from the University of East Anglia with a BA (Hons) in Politics and went on to work as a Communications Officer for a prominent Minister in the British Government. His studies focused on short vs long term electability.
In 2022 he was recruited to the private sector, working as a Researcher for the MD of Dixon International Group. As part of the remit, he oversees the MD’s charity in Nepal, The Mountain Trust, and is playing a key role in evacuating Afghans under the auspices of the Flight From Plight initiative.
In his spare time, Charlie is a semi-professional footballer.
Dr. Con Keating
Con is a retired financial analyst. He is currently the chair of the Bond Commission of the European Federation of Financial Analysts’ Societies (EFFAS) having previously chaired for seven years the EFFAS committee on Methods and Measures.
His professional career began as a merchant banker and ended as the head of risk management for a major international insurance group. In the interim, he headed bond trading at First Boston/Credit Suisse First Boston and Bankers Trust and was a portfolio manager for both equities, bonds and derivatives.
After retirement he was retained by the Bank of Japan and Asian Development Bank to design plans for the development of the capital markets of a number of Asian countries, including the People’s Republic of China and Republic of Korea. For the past twenty years, after a decade researching and developing risk management tools and models, his research has been heavily focussed on pensions design and has included projects undertaken for the World Bank and OECD.
OBE. Author & Journalist
Christina is one of Britain’s leading foreign correspondents and a bestselling author. She has reported from most of the world’s hotspots starting with Afghanistan after an unexpected wedding invitation led her to Karachi in 1987 when she was just 22. She moved to Peshawar to cover the mujaheddin fighting the Soviet Union and within two years she had been named Young Journalist of the Year. Since then she has won 15 major awards including five times being named Foreign Correspondent of the Year and Europe’s top war reporting prize, the Prix Bayeux. She was made an OBE by the Queen in 2013 and is an honorary fellow of University College, Oxford.
She was recently named Feature Writer of the Year in the 2019 British Press Awards; in 2017 she won the Sue Lloyd-Roberts/UNHCR award for her writing on refugees; in 2016 she won the Foreign Press Association award for Feature Story of the Year for an article on the Chibok girls in Nigeria and in 2015 Amnesty International’s Newspaper Journalist of the Year for reporting from inside Libyan detention centres.
Currently Chief Foreign Correspondent for the Sunday Times of London, her postings have included South Africa, Pakistan, Brazil and Washington, and she is particularly known for her writing highlighting how war affects women.
She has written nine books including the bestselling The Africa House and I Am Malala, as well as Farewell Kabul and The Girl from Aleppo. Her first play Drones, Baby, Drones co-written with Ron Hutchinson was performed at London’s Arcola Theatre in 2016.
Her latest book is Our Bodies, Their Battlefield: What War Does to Women, (London: William Collins, March 2020), described by eminent historian Antony Beevor as “the most powerful and disturbing book I have ever read”. It was published by Scribner in the US in September 2020, with translations in Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Lithuania, Brazil, Poland, Spain and Croatia throughout 2020 and 2021.
An inspirational speaker, she has given talks all over the world, from NATO conferences to the annual Avon Ladies convention, as well as performing storied in London and New York for The Moth, and a TEDx on Women and War. Her portrait has been in the National Portrait Gallery and the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. She inspired the character of war correspondent Esther in the novel The Zahir (2005) written by international best-selling author Paulo Coelho. She is on the boards of the Institute of War and Peace Reporting and Afghan Connection. She lives in London with her family.
Professor Todd Landman
Todd Landman is Professor of Political Science and Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Nottingham. He is Executive Director of the Rights Lab and a member of Council of the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). He was Professor of Government (2009-2015) and Executive Dean of the Social Sciences at the University of Essex (2013-2015), and held a variety of academic and leadership roles at the University of Essex since 1993, before joining the University of Nottingham on 1st September 2015. He is a member of the University’s Executive Board and has accountability for overall performance and driving the delivery of the University’s Strategy in the Faculty of Social Sciences..
The main focus of Professor Landman’s research is the systematic comparative analysis of problems in the areas of development, democracy, and human rights including quantitative and qualitative political methodology. His current focus is on the quantitative analysis of modern slavery, modern slavery prevalence estimation, and impact assessment of anti-slavery social mobilisation advocacy.
He is author of The Rights Track: Sound Evidence on Human Rights and Modern Slavery (Anthem Press 2022), Human Rights and Democracy: The Precarious Triumph of Ideals (Bloomsbury 2013), Protecting Human Rights (Georgetown University Press 2005), Studying Human Rights (Routledge 2006), and Issues and Methods in Comparative Politics (Routledge 2000, 2003, 2008); co-author of Issues and Methods in Comparative Politics (Routledge 2017), Measuring Human Rights (Routledge 2009), Assessing the Quality of Democracy (International IDEA 2008); Governing Latin America (Polity Press 2003), and Citizenship Rights and Social Movements (Oxford University Press 1997, 2000); editor of Human Rights Volumes I-IV (Sage 2009), and co-editor of the Sage Handbook of Comparative Politics (Sage 2009) and Real Social Science: Applied Phronesis (Cambridge University Press 2012).
He has numerous articles published in International Studies Quarterly, The Journal of Human Trafficking, The Journal of Risk Research, Nature Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, The British Journal of Political Science, Politics and Governance, Human Rights Quarterly, Democratization, Political Studies, The Journal of Human Rights, The British Journal of Politics and International Relations, Electoral Studies, Human Rights and Human Welfare, Public Law, and The California Western International Law Journal.
He has carried out a large number of international consultancies in the areas of development, democracy and human rights, including for the United Nations, the European Commission, the US State Department, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, the European Parliament, and International Justice Mission. He is an Associate of the Inner Magic Circle with Silver Star (AIMC), Member of the Society of American Magicians, and Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts (FRSA).
Professor Michael Mainelli
MStJ FCCA FCSI(Hon) FBCS, Executive Chairman, Z/Yen Group
Michael is a qualified accountant, securities professional, computer specialist, and management consultant, educated at Harvard University and Trinity College Dublin. He gained his PhD at the London School of Economics where he was also a Visiting Professor of Innovation & IT. His career spans scientific research, accountancy-firm partner, and director of Ministry of Defence research. During a spell in merchant banking, Michael founded Z/Yen in 1994, the City of London’s leading commercial think-tank, to promote societal advance through better finance and technology, particularly famous for its Global Financial, Green Finance, and Smart Centres indices, as well as its technology and financial research. Michael has worked in machine learning for over four decades. Michael is Executive Chairman of Z/Yen, FS Club, and the Esop Centre; Emeritus Professor and Honorary Life Fellow of Gresham College; non-executive Director of the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (national standards body) and AIM-listed Wishbone Gold plc; City & Guilds Council Member; Trustee of Morden College; Fellow of Goodenough College; Visiting Professor at UCL’s Bartlett School. Michael has advised numerous government and cities around the world. Awards include a UK Foresight Challenge Award for the Financial Laboratory; UK Smart Award for prediction software; Technology Strategy Board Challenge Award for financial avatars; British Computer Society Director of the Year; Gentiluomo of the Associazione Cavalieri di San Silvestro; Consigliere del Senato Accademico of L’Accademia Tiberina; ‘Hons’ award from the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment; Member of the Order of St John; Honorary Fellow of King’s College London. Michael is an Alderman of the City of London and late Sheriff 2019-2021. Michael is Past Master of the Worshipful Company of World Traders, Freeman of the Company of Watermen & Lightermen, as well as an Honorary Liveryman of the Furniture Makers, Water Conservators, Marketors, Tax Advisers, International Bankers, and Management Consultants, and an Honorary Freeman of the Educators.
Sir Richard Barrons
General, retd, KCB, CBE
General Richard Barrons was commissioned into the Royal Regiment of Artillery in 1977, prior to reading for a degree in philosophy, politics and economics at Queen’s College, Oxford. He has completed a Masters in Defence Administration (1990), Army Staff College (1991) and the Higher Command and Staff Course (2003). In 2014 he had the degree of Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) conferred on him by Cranfield University. He was appointed MBE in 1993, OBE in 1999, CBE in 2003, awarded QCVS in 2004 and 2006, and appointed as an Officer of the US Legion of Merit in 2009. He is an ADC to Her Majesty The Queen and was appointed KCB in 2013. He is the Colonel Commandant and President of the Honourable Artillery Company and is Honorary Colonel of 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery.
He has completed a range of regimental duties in UK, Germany and worldwide on training. On operations he has served extensively in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan in UN, UK and NATO appointments. He has commanded units at Battery (B Battery, 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery), Regiment (3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, 1999, including Kosovo and Bosnia) and Brigade (39 Infantry Brigade, in Northern Ireland). As Major General he was Deputy Commanding General of Multinational Corps Iraq (Baghdad, 2008) leading on operations with the Iraqi Armed Forces. He was appointed Chief of Staff of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps in April 2009 and, shortly afterwards, moved again to be Director Force Reintegration in HQ ISAF assisting the Afghan Governments efforts on Taliban reintegration and political reconciliation.
He was Assistant Chief of the General Staff (2010) covering the Strategic Defence and Security Review and Defence Reform exercises before promoting to Lieutenant General (2011) and taking post as Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Military Strategy & Operations), the director of operations for UK armed forces. He assumed command of Joint Forces Command on promotion to General, 19 April 2013.
David volunteers for Flight-from-Plight on a range of Afghan related humanitarian cases.
His career experience is primarily in digital technologies, telecoms and financial services. David is currently CFO at GÉANT that provides technologies for global research and education, and was a partner in the NATO/EU funded ‘SILK-Afghanistan project’ that connected 18 Afghan universities through a national fibre optic network programme, enabling Afghan students, academics and researchers to collaborate with over 50 million users across the world that use the GÉANT network. Sadly, those connections are no longer available in Afghanistan.
Lieutenant Colonel, retd
Martin is a retired Lieutenant Colonel since August 2020 with 37 years of service in the Norwegian Army. He spent 20 years in the special forces and the last 4 years in a Joint Operational Headquarters in the J5 plan branch.
He currently works with multi-national planning with his former employer.
Separate from this, he works independently to safeguard old comrades in Afghanistan who worked with the Norwegian military and risked their lives.
Donn served six and a half years in the Ohio Army National Guard as a Unit Supply Specialist (MOS 92Y) and as a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Specialist (MOS 74D).
During his service, he was deployed to Egypt where he was part of the Multinational Force and Observers on a peacekeeping mission.
Donn's civilian background includes aerospace manufacturing as well as volunteering and charity work. He currently works in the renewable energy industry.
Through his connections with Afghanistan and Civil Rights Workers there in peril he is helping filter the vetting process together with others keen to ensure due diligence.