The Welsh Centre for International Affairs is a registered charity (no. 1156822) and is governed by a Board of Trustees.
The trustees meet regularly as a full board, as well as delegating certain responsibilities to the Finance and Risk, Staffing and Remuneration and Governance Committees.
Gill Richardson – Chair
Gill grew up in north Wales and trained as a GP and public health consultant. She has studied French in Lille and worked with NGOs and Aid agencies in India, North Africa, West Africa and Hong Kong.
She led on the development of an International health links toolkit for the International Health Collaboration Centre, hosted by Public Health Wales whilst working as Assistant Director of policy, research and international development, and worked with Oxfam and WCIA. She provided global citizenship training for all NHS personnel. She has Executive Director experience in NHS Wales and has led Wales on the Migrant health stream of Joint Action Health Equity Europe. She is leading with Swansea University on research into the Health experiences of refugees and asylum seekers in Wales.
Eira Jepson – Vice-Chair
Eira is a PhD student at Cardiff University’s School of Modern Languages, specialising in foreign language learning in schools in Wales. Her research aims to explore ways of improving policy and practice in Wales to promote language learning as an important skill, as well as an integral aspect of global education and citizenship.
Having grown up in North Wales as a bilingual Welsh and English speaker, Eira’s interest in multilingualism and multiculturalism has taken her to study and work abroad in Europe on several occasions, including in France, Spain, Switzerland and Belgium.
Before starting her PhD, Eira worked in policy and communications in the third and private sector in Cardiff, and at the European Commission in Brussels, with a focus on the area of equality.
Sara Whittam – Chair of the Governance Committee
Originally from Ynys Mon, Sara has been based in Cardiff with her family for 15 years. Studying languages and linguistics at the University of Leeds led to working and living in France with a stint at the European Parliament.
Sara has 10 years’ experience of working in higher education policy and strategy at the University of Bristol and Cardiff University, and is currently seconded to a role developing medical education provision in north Wales. She recently completed postgraduate studies in Higher Education Leadership, Management and Administration.
Catrin Wyn Edwards – Staffing Committee
Catrin Edwards is a Lecturer in International Politics at the Department of International Politics, Aberystwyth University. She previously worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the School of Political Studies, University of Ottawa. She was awarded her PhD in International Politics from the Department of International Politics, Aberystwyth University in 2014 for a thesis on language-in-education policy and immigration in Catalonia, Wales and Quebec. Catrin has spent time as a Visiting Scholar at UQAM, Montreal, where she was based at the ‘Centre de recherche interdisciplinaire sur la diversité au Québec’, and the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. Catrin’s research interests include language policy and politics, immigration policy, linguistic diversity and multiculturalism, citizenship and sub-state governance. She also holds a MSc Econ in European Governance and Public Policy from the school of European Studies, Cardiff University.
Prior to undertaking the PhD, Catrin worked as European Policy Officer at the Welsh Language Board.
Kate Oprava – Treasurer
Kate Oprava joined the WCIA Board in 2020 as a trustee from UNA Exchange following the merger in April 2020. Currently sitting on the Finance and Risk committee, she will take over from Peter as Treasurer in November 2020.
Kate qualified as a Chartered Accountant with one of the Big Four accountancy firms in London before moving to KPMG’s corporate finance department in Cardiff. Since then she has worked for a number of organizations in both finance and IT roles. She has worked for several third sector organizations and is currently working as Finance Director for a social mobility charity.
Kate has a keen interest in the environment and is an active member and committee member of Cardiff Rivers Group. She also enjoys the arts and volunteers at Cardiff’s Chapter Arts Centre.
Raphael Esu is a Nigerian and British trained lawyer, licensed Barrister and Solicitor and arbitrator. He is also a PhD researcher in the area of maritime law.
In the third sector, Raphael has worked with the UN, World Bank, Sub Sahara Advisory Panel, Empowered African Youths Foundation and other organisations on delivering various projects both in Nigeria, Africa at Large and the United Kingdom.
He is keen on youth development and inclusion as evidenced in his work.
Felicite Walls – Staffing Committee
Felicite (better known as Flik) is a passionate advocate of volunteering, leadership and wellbeing, with a particular interest in enabling young people to flourish.
As the Volunteering Manager at WCVA, Flik aims to enable volunteers and voluntary organisations across Wales to make a bigger difference together. She currently leads the Future Leaders Network in Wales and is a member of the Global Network of Volunteering Leadership. Flik has a Masters in Management in the Community Professions and a PG Diploma in Youth and Community Work.
Martin Fidler Jones – Board Secretary and Hub Cymru Africa Board
Martin’s teenage years were influenced by a UNA Exchange/Solidarité Jeunesse exchange programme in France. There he lived and worked alongside young people from over a dozen different cultures to restore a historical monument in the French suburbs and saw the power of the UNA model first hand.
He went on to study French and Economics in Cardiff University where his ERASMUS year took him to Lyon, France where he studied Political Science (SciPo). Later he established a tree planting and social development programme in Cameroon before returning to Cardiff for a Masters in International Relations where he specialised in climate change.
Since graduating he has worked in international development in Uganda and Kyrgyzstan, helped lead the anti Brexit campaign in south Wales and was a Torchbearer for the 2012 Olympics.
Nirushan Sudarsan – Governance Committee
Nirushan is currently studying Law and Politics at Cardiff University. He is also a young trustee and Llais Ifanc member of Youth Cymru and a leader with Citizens Cymru Wales.
He is passionate about making change within communities and enjoy working on campaigns and social actions.
Martin Pollard – Staffing Committee
Martin joined the Board in 2020 as a trustee from UNA Exchange, following its merger with the WCIA. Martin is Chief Executive of the Learned Society of Wales, the national scholarly academy for arts and sciences, where he works closely with all of Wales’s universities.
Prior to that, he was the WCIA’s Chief Executive. Martin is a qualified teacher and has 20 years of experience in education, specialising in the area of global learning.
His past positions include Chair of the Wales Alliance for Global Learning, Trustee of the Wales Council for Voluntary Action, international sector lead on the Third Sector Partnership council, and member of the World Schools Debating Council.
Nick is passionate about giving the ideas and organisations that are making our world a better place the platform they deserve.
Nick is the founder of Neo, a strategic and creative partner for purpose driven organisations. Neo’s work is about helping to create deeper connections through identity, culture and communications. Connections that move people to be part of real, radical human change.
He is also a trustee of Dolen Ffermio, a Welsh charity that supports communities in Uganda through a range of interconnected programmes — including sustainable agriculture, education and social enterprise.
Revd Canon Carol Wardman
Carol arrived in Wales in 2011 to take up the post of Bishops’ Adviser for Church and Society at the Church in Wales. After a degree in English and Linguistics (from London University), a working life in the public and voluntary sectors, being ordained as a non-stipendiary priest, and an M Phil in theology (from Manchester), the job encompassed all her available experience!
Facilitating the Church’s engagement with areas of social policy – from anti-poverty strategies to environmental action, health and science to housing, modern slavery to Fair Trade, liasion with Welsh and UK governments, and international relationships – was impossible without the involvement of networks of volunteers and experts from all walks of life, both inside and outside the Church; and there was increasingly close working with WCIA by the Global Issues Forum, as it responded to policies on overseas aid, immigration and refugee policy, Brexit, and ongoing relations with Europe
After teaching in Kenya, and then recruiting young people for voluntary projects overseas, Ceri gained degrees in English/Education (York), Media Studies (Cardiff) and Voluntary Sector Organisation (LSE). She worked at the BBC & ITV, and with Channel 4 & S4C, co-ordinating community education initiatives and diverse campaigns.
Ceri set up a European Resource Unit for a leading NGO on ageing in collaboration with the European Commission, and was later seconded to the United Nations in New York to assist with preparations for the International Year of Older Persons.
Since returning to Cardiff she has worked for the Institute of Welsh Affairs, Cardiff Library Service, Amgueddfa Cymru as Head of Learning, the Welsh Government, and on a wide range initiatives as a freelance consultant.
Ceri was raised in Cardiff as a Welsh-speaker. Studying at Atlantic College sparked her lifelong interest in education, international affairs, politics and social justice.
Alex joined the WCIA in December 2021 as the partner trustee for the HCA. He holds a Masters in International Politics and is passionate about the positive work international development can do. At university he was involved with UNA-UK and Model United Nations.
His day job is as a Senior Parliamentary Researcher for an MP/ Shadow Minister, providing communications, policy and political advice for the member on a daily basis.