Structure, governance and management
International Alert is a UK-based NGO, registered with Companies House and the Charities Commission. The charity is a company limited by guarantee and has no share capital. We are governed by a Board of Trustees (Board). The Board has a sub-committee, the Strategy, Risk and Audit Committee (SRA), which advises on and monitors matters of organisational strategy, risk management and relevant audits. The SRA comprises the Chair, the Treasurer and two further trustees. Strategic and operational leadership of the organisation is managed by our Executive Team.
We have 230 staff based in our 14 offices around the world, including a team of thematic peacebuilding experts. The programmes’ work is supported by administrative, financial, fundraising, human resources, IT, and advocacy and communications teams.
International Alert UK is affiliated with International Alert Europe, which is registered as a Stichting (foundation) in The Hague, the Netherlands.
The Board meets four times a year and is responsible for governance, establishing the organisation’s strategic framework and annual objectives, and agreeing on the annual budget. The trustees are directors of the organisation for the purposes of company law and, in line with that responsibility, oversee the financial reporting and ensure that proper financial statements are made for each financial year to give a true and fair view of the organisation’s financial activities and its financial position at the year-end. The SRA meets on a quarterly basis and is the key committee of the Board. The SRA has been entrusted with the more detailed oversight of key areas of the charity, including finance and all budgetary issues, risk and security and organisational strategy. The Executive Director is accountable to the Board for all the organisation’s work, and the other members of the Executive Team report to the Executive Director. The Executive Team reports to each Board and SRA meeting on the organisation’s work, activities and finances, presenting progress in relation to the budget, annual objectives and strategic framework.
Board of Trustees
The Board may consist of three to 15 members; we currently have nine trustees. The Board is international, to reflect the diversity of the organisation’s work. New trustees are elected at the Annual General Meeting or by the Board at a regular meeting and serve for a period of three years. Trustees may be re-elected for one further term of three years. Before a decision is taken to appoint a trustee, meetings are arranged for the potential new trustee with the Executive Director and one or two senior Board members, normally including the Chair. On appointment, new trustees receive a full induction on their responsibilities under company law and charity law, and on the organisation. The process includes both a pack of relevant documentation and a series of meetings with senior and middle management. We ended 2021 with a total of nine trustees (five women and four men), five of whom are based outside the UK.
Each of our board members have a specific interest and expertise in conflict-related issues and peacebuilding.
Carey Cavanaugh (Chair)
Carey Cavanaugh is an academic, an accomplished American diplomat and peace mediator, and has been active for decades in international peacebuilding. He is currently Professor of Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution at the University of Kentucky. He had a 22-year diplomatic career focused on arms control, humanitarian issues and peace. This included postings to Berlin, Moscow, Tbilisi, Rome and Bern, as well as assignments in the State Department, Pentagon and on Capitol Hill. Under presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, Carey helped advance peace efforts involving Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Tajikistan and Turkey. He was confirmed by the US Senate as Ambassador and Special Negotiator for Nagorno-Karabakh and Eurasian Conflicts in May 2000. Since leaving government service, Carey has remained engaged in conflict resolution and peacebuilding activities, working with leading European NGOs on civil society initiatives and track-two diplomatic efforts. From 2014 to 2018, he was a trustee of Conciliation Resources. Visit Carey’s website at www.careycavanaugh.com.
Richard Langstaff (Honorary Treasurer)
Richard Langstaff is an experienced international entrepreneur. He holds degrees from Rice University, the University of Kentucky, the University of Denver and SOAS University of London.
Hans Bolscher is a senior adviser in the field of climate, energy and development. He started his career with Médecins Sans Frontières in Sudan and Uganda and was later director for the first fair trade labelling initiative, Max Havelaar in the Netherlands, working in many countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. As a former director at the Dutch government (first for immigration and later for climate and industry), he was deeply involved in the international discussions on climate and international raw materials trade. Hans has a clear focus on the role of business in development as well as economic and financial aspects of aid and trade. Next to his advisory work, he is also (non-executive) Chair of the Board in several green companies and head of a renewable energy investment fund.
Emine Bozkurt has held several senior leadership roles. She was recently appointed Chair of the EU High Level Expert Group on Gender Equality in Sport, which will make proposals on gender equality in sport to the European Commission, member states and the sporting movement. As Chair of the Board of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance in Sweden, she was part of the leadership of an intergovernmental organisation on global democracy working worldwide. As a former Member of the European Parliament (2004–2014) representing the Netherlands, Emine worked on human rights, democracy and international relations. She was Chair of the European Parliament’s delegation for the relations with the countries in Central America. A passionate advocate of human rights, she was appointed Chairwoman of the cross-party Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup of the European Parliament. In 2014 she was appointed by His Majesty the King of the Netherlands, Knight in the Order of Orange-Nassau.
Nina Fallentin Caspersen
Nina Fallentin Caspersen is Professor of Politics and Head of Department at the University of York in the UK. Her research focuses on the dynamics of intra-state conflicts, peace processes and peace agreements, governance and state recognition. Her research is comparative in nature, but much of it has been focused on the Caucasus and the Balkans. Nina’s most recent books are Peace Agreements: Finding Solutions to Intra-state Conflicts (Polity, 2017) and Unrecognized States: The Struggle for Sovereignty in the Modern International System (Polity, 2012). She holds a PhD in Government from the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is originally from Copenhagen, Denmark.
Chris Deri is an American businessperson and advisor who currently serves as President of Teneo Digital. Chris has led businesses across multiple markets; and he has advised Fortune 500 companies in the US, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia on some of their most complex issues, including crises, public-private partnerships, corporate and social responsibility and sustainability strategies. Chris has also advised several international NGOs, including Save the Children (US) and Amnesty International, on their engagement with business, governments and institutional investors; and he has been a member of communities such as the World Economic Forum Young Global Leaders. Chris joined the Board of Trustees in 2016.
Abir Haj Ibrahim
Abir Haj Ibrahim is one of the two co-founders of Mobaderoon, an Arab civil society network of some 4,000 social activists that advises and trains community development projects and organisations in Syria. Prior to this, she worked in the oil sector in Syria, for Total, but her experience during the conflict led her to dedicate her life to supporting and sustaining peaceful coexistence. She is now a peacebuilding facilitator and helped establish Mobaderoon’s Peace Ambassador programme, which trains and supports peace advocates in Syria. In 2014, Mobaderoon was awarded the Livia prize for its support of non-violence. Abir is also the co-founder of Globally Connected, a network supporting and building trust and understanding between the Syrian diaspora, host communities and Syrians in Syria, and she recently helped found the Arab World Facilitators Network.
Lisa L. Rose
Lisa Rose is originally from the United States and now lives in Northern Ireland. She works internationally with marginalised communities in conflict and post-conflict societies. Lisa works in Council of Europe countries, Kenya and Rwanda engaging with national and local governments, politicians, security forces and communities to assist them to be more peaceable and to navigate conflicts in non-violent ways. Her other specialist interests are supporting young people from tougher social realities by encouraging civic action and human rights-based advocacy and using the arts as a dialogue for peacebuilding. She also serves as a trustee on the boards of YouthBank International and Beyond Skin; is a Mediators Beyond Borders International Kenya and Rwanda team member, and is also an advisory board member for the Alliance for Peacebuilding’s Social Enterprise for Peace Working Group.
Erin Segilia Chase
Erin Segilia Chase has over 25 years international experience in peacebuilding, social justice and human rights, with a focus on strategic and annual planning, board development, and fundraising. She has served as Director at Swarovski Foundation and Impetus Private Equity Foundation, Board member at Seeds for Peace, Global Director at the Philanthropy for the Catalyst Consulting Group, among other roles. She is currently the Executive Director for Fundraising, Partnerships and Communications at CARE International.
Our late patron Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu passed away on 26 December 2021. He was one of the greatest living moral icons of our time.
He was a key player in the fight against apartheid in South Africa and the chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and in 1984 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
From his work against apartheid in South Africa to his championing of democracy, freedom and human rights – including for those still living under the scourge of racism, xenophobia and homophobia – Archbishop Tutu served as the vocal conscience of a generation.
When Archbishop Tutu retired in 1996, Nelson Mandela told those at a dinner to honour him:
His joy in our diversity and his spirit of forgiveness are as much part of his immeasurable contribution to our nation as his passion for justice and his solidarity with the poor.
In 2007 Archbishop Tutu, Nelson Mandela and Graça Machel convened The Elders, a group of world leaders who contribute their integrity and leadership in dealing with some of the world’s most pressing problems. Having served as chairman for six years, Archbishop Tutu became an honorary Elder, continuing to work energetically in a number of areas of human rights for many years afterwards.
Archbishop Tutu was involved in the work which led to International Alert’s founding in 1986 and was the first Vice-Chairman of our Board of Trustees. On his role as our patron, he previously said:
The need for us all to continue the fight for peace has never been greater. I am very proud to be International Alert’s patron as they continue to build peace around the world.
Their track record of working with courage and compassion to inspire hope in troubled communities is invaluable. From holding hands with Rwandans in the aftermath of genocide, to supporting young Syrians today. Always building, always challenging, always inspiring.
They are part of a global network for good, extending from the villages of DRC to the corridors of the United Nations.
Archbishop Tutu will be remembered fondly by all at International Alert. Commenting on his passing, Executive Director Nic Hailey said: “We grieve and give thanks for his life and work. What a peacemaker. His message to us was to ‘keep talking peace’.”