AMAR EMPLOYS A SMALL TEAM IN LONDON TO HELP COORDINATE, RAISE FUNDS, PUBLICISE, AND SUPPORT THE OVERSEAS OPERATIONS.
AMAR employs more than 1000 local doctors, nurses, medical professionals, engineers, teachers, educators and administrators in Iraq. Three field offices in Erbil, Baghdad and Basra support work across the country. AMAR’s staff work within their own communities, ensuring that local skills and capacity are developed and maintained, and allowing work in challenging security environments. The unique local knowledge of AMAR’s field team means that the services provided are always culturally appropriate and tailored to individual communities’ needs.
Andrew Methven, Chief of Staff
Andrew is the AMAR Chief of Staff, based in the London office. His responsibilities, as AMAR grows, are to lead the Staff Management Team, provide the link to the Board, and coordinate across the AMAR family, most importantly with the Field Team in Iraq. Andrew previously worked as Strategy & Commercial Director and Bid Team Leader for various International security firms, specialising in Iraq (including the Kurdistan Region), Afghanistan and Nigeria, and maritime security in the Indian Ocean and West Africa.
Prior to this he served in the British Army (The Life Guards) for 20 years. His tours included running a Reserve officer training unit in London, and various staff roles in the Ministry of Defence. He spent a very enjoyable 16 months on exchange with the Canadian Army, most of which was spent in the Balkans. His operational service includes the UN and NATO in Bosnia, and several tours of Iraq, which was his first exposure to reconstruction, development and the people of Basra.
Andrew’s first degree was in sciences from Cambridge. He holds Masters degrees from Cranfield, KCL and Imperial College Business School. He lives in London with his young family. His hobbies include ancient Greek history and playing the piano badly.
Robert Cole, Global Head of Communications
Robert started as a reporter on regional evening newspapers, and rose through local radio, into national and international television news. He was a news editor, field producer and bureau chief for news agencies, Reuters Television and Worldwide Television News for much of the 1990s. He has covered wars around the world. He spent many months in Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia during the Balkan’s conflict, as well as reporting from Chechnya, Haiti, Rwanda, Somalia and Burundi.
Following his work with the news agencies, he moved to the BBC as a World Duty Editor, later working as a producer for both Panorama and the Six O’Clock News. He was also a field editor for the BBC and covered the Kosovo conflict, as well as managing events such as the World Cup in Japan in 2002. He left the BBC to join Sky News as a Senior Foreign Editor, later becoming Head of Foreign Planning. More recently, Robert has moved away from television, and was Head of News at Save the Children before coming to AMAR.
Laura Puddefoot-Knaggs, Head of Fundraising
Laura joined AMAR in 2007 and has spent the past 8 years developing AMAR’s fundraising efforts. She has been responsible for expanding AMAR’s fundraising activities which now include a variety of special events both in the UK and across the Middle East; challenge events and community fundraising; annual campaigns; major and corporate gifts, and legacy donations. Laura oversees all of AMAR’s fundraising activities and manages the ongoing relationships with a number of AMAR’s key Major Donors as well as the charity’s global Fundraising Committees.
Prior to joining AMAR, Laura was based in Brussels and worked as a Political Assistant to Baroness Nicholson, supporting her work as a member of the European Parliament. Laura studied Modern European Studies, specialising in German, Economics and Politics, at Loughborough University, and spent one year of her degree studying at the University of Innsbruck in Austria.
Tony Howell, Head of Programmes
As the Head of Programmes Tony leads AMARs London project department. He is responsible for the strategic design and implementation of AMAR’s corporate social responsibility, and its institutional and emergency aid programmes, ensuring the organisation meets its aims.
Working closely with corporate, institutional, emergency aid donors and international organisations, the department coordinates with the field offices and in-country project teams to oversee and co-ordinate effective project delivery in support of AMAR’s development and aid programmes.
Tony is also responsible for the development, delivery and sustainability of bespoke international development and emergency aid programmes. He coordinates partners and donors including UNDP, the US State Department, Shell and BP Iraq. He manages a team of programme coordinators and project officers who work closely with the field teams to identify and deliver aid and development projects throughout the MENA region.
Tony joined AMAR in 2015 as a Programme Coordinator and has applied the skills and experience gained throughout his varied and unique project management and engineering career. Initially with the British Army (Royal Engineers), he then moved into international companies and organisations in challenging environments, remote areas, and disaster and conflict zones, before joining AMAR.
Jessica Scoot, Head of Corporate Engagement
Jessica is based in Dubai, leading on establishing and nurturing AMAR’s relationships with corporate donors. She acts as local point of contact for corporate contacts in Dubai and Lebanon. Jessica manages local fundraising and communications activities in coordination with AMAR’s Fundraising and Communications departments. She is also responsible for overseeing AMAR’s operations in Lebanon.
Jessica joined AMAR’s London office in 2009 as a Project Officer, becoming Programme Coordinator in 2010. She has managed AMAR projects in health, education and training for a range of corporate and institutional donors including Shell, World Bank and UNFPA. Jessica moved to Dubai in 2015 to establish and run a new AMAR office as Head of Corporate Engagement.
Prior to working with AMAR, Jessica was Political Assistant to Baroness Nicholson in the European Parliament in Brussels and then in the House of Lords in London. She holds a first class degree in Maths and Philosophy from the University of Edinburgh and a Masters in Development Studies, specialising in Iraq and the Middle East, from SOAS (University of London).
Helen Povall, Events Manager
Helen joined AMAR in early 2017 and works with the Communications and Fundraising Teams, raising AMAR’s profile in her role as the charity’s ‘Events Manager’. With over 10 years B2B and B2C event management experience in the corporate, public, private and freelance sectors, she has extensive experience in delivery a wide variety of events (including summits, award ceremonies, tours and special cultural events with budgets up to £1M) covering the UK, EMEA and additional international territories. Sectors and clients have included automative and aviation, finance and insurance, charity, leisure and tourism, luxury, education, media and entertainment.
In an attempt to achieve the work-life balance, Helen enjoys travelling, following current and political affairs particularly in the UK & internationally, whilst snapping the occasional B&W architectural photograph.
Pip Dragonetti, Programme Coordinator
Pip joined AMAR in February 2016 as Programme Coordinator, Corporate. Pip is responsible for managing relationships with corporate supporters and developing new corporate partnerships.
Pip studied History at the University of Birmingham, graduating with a first-class degree in 2009 and receiving an award for her dissertation on Gertrude Bell and the creation of modern Iraq. Pip then went on to do an MA in International Studies and Diplomacy at SOAS, University of London. After completing her Master’s, Pip worked at the Iraq Britain Business Council running events, organising missions and coordinating with the members. In 2013 she led a 50-strong government sponsored trade delegation to Baghdad and Erbil. Pip then moved into strategy and corporate development, working at an international law firm before returning to Hope House to work at AMAR.
Alys Brown, Programme Coordinator
As Programme Coordinator, Institutions, Alys is responsible for managing relationships with institutional donors (including UN agencies, national governments and the EU). Alys is also responsible for AMAR’s emergency work with displaced people. Alys joined AMAR in 2013 as a Project Officer, overseeing projects with a range of institutional donors, including UNFPA, UNDP, British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and EU.
Before joining AMAR, Alys spent 6 months as a Protection Officer working with Nonviolent Peaceforce in South Sudan. Alys previously spent a year in the gender unit at UNRWA HQ in Jordan assisting in the coordination programming for Palestinian refugees in Gaza, West Bank, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. During her time in Jordan she also volunteered with Iraqi refugees at an informal education centre run by Jesuit Refugee Services.
Alys has an MSc in Violence, Conflict and Development from SOAS, University of London and a BA Hons in Social and Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge.
Hannah Caswell, Project Officer
Hannah joined AMAR in 2014. She holds a degree in Law and a Master’s degree in International Relations. The latter focused on issues of state-building and post-conflict reconstruction within the Middle East and Africa and provided a strong academic understanding of these issues and the region, while developing her specific interest in the necessity of local capacity building.
Since joining Hannah has taken the UK lead on a United Nations Development Programme funded health project, Corporate Social Responsibility health and education projects alongside co-managing a large United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation education project. Within these projects she serves as the main liaison with both the Iraq office and project donors, ensuring progress is made according to the established plan and all reporting requirements are met. Prior to assuming her position at AMAR, Hannah worked as a Programmes Assistant for a London based charity supporting work focusing on developing sustainable grassroots models to build community capacity in delivering health projects to the most vulnerable groups within the Middle East and Africa.
Roisin Blake, Project Officer
Roisin joined the AMAR team in Summer 2015, after completing a Master’s degree in International Development at the University of Edinburgh. Roisin’s interests in development and the Middle East are longstanding – while studying for an undergraduate degree in Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cambridge, she spent a year living in Syria and Lebanon, interning at UNRWA HQ in Damascus and studying Arabic.
After graduating in 2012, she spent 18 months working as a political risk analyst covering the Middle East and North Africa before making a move into the development sector. In her role at AMAR, Roisin manages projects funded by a range of corporate donors.
Amro Hussain, Project Officer
Amro joined AMAR in January 2016. Born in Saudi Arabia but raised in Ireland, Amro holds an MSc in Development Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
In another life, Amro worked as a financial consultant before moving into the development sector in Honduras, where he managed a seven-month project supporting a local women’s organisation to improve gender equality in their community and to adapt to climate change.
Before coming to AMAR, Amro worked for a London-based charity conducting research on the impact of rapid population growth on development and advocating for women’s empowerment and increased global spending on family planning services.
Amro is also a keen traveller, having visited or lived in over 30 countries across five continents.
Scarlett Kassimatis, Project Officer
Scarlett joined AMAR in January 2017 having spent 18 months in Save the Children’s London office where she worked on institutional partnerships and child protection. She holds a degree in philosophy and an MA in human rights law from SOAS, University of London where her keen interest in humanitarian law led to her focusing her academic studies and professional learning on conflict in the Middle East. She spent 7 months in the West Bank learning Arabic and heading up a team of volunteers at the Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling and wrote in-depth pieces for a variety of middle east focused resources on her return to the UK.
In her role at AMAR, Scarlett manages the charity’s programmes with internally displaced populations in Iraq, funded by a range of corporate and institutional donors.
Katie Welsford, Communications Officer
Katie joined AMAR in the summer of 2015. Since completing an undergraduate degree at Durham University and a Master’s degree in Middle Eastern Politics at the University of London’s Birkbeck College, she has worked as a freelance journalist specialising in the Middle East and the Caucasus – writing for a variety of online publications including the Guardian, Daily Beast, Le Monde Diplomatique and Huffington Post. Simultaneously, she worked as the Communications Assistant for the London-based ‘Reach All Women in WAR [RAW in WAR]’ – a small NGO working to provide a platform for female human rights campaigners in areas of conflict.
Joining the Communications team, she now works directly with Robert Cole – AMAR’s Global Head of Communications – liaising with journalists and media organisations covering AMAR’s work, whilst also overseeing AMAR’s digital communications.
Isabella Librando, Digital Communications Officer
Isabella joined AMAR in 2015, working as an intern with the communications and fundraising departments before joining the AMAR family permanently in the summer of 2016 as AMAR’s Digital Communications Officer. Working closely with AMAR’s Communications Officer, Isabella is responsible for AMAR’s brand and visual identity, and regularly designs and creates artwork, digital content and video edits for online use, helping to raise awareness about AMAR’s work in the Middle East.
With a Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design from Southbank University, as well as training in video editing, Isabella previously worked as a freelance designer for various fashion, advertising and marketing clients. Isabella is based in London, but lives and breathes the digital world. She spends her spare time attempting to stick to her Italian roots by whipping up her family’s secret recipe for Tiramisù.
Wil Hutton, Fundraising Officer
Wil first began his involvement with AMAR in June 2016, joining as a part-time intern in the Fundraising team. After helping to find new sources of funding, he has been a full member of the AMAR family since June 2017. As Fundraising Officer, his role is to support and develop AMAR’s relationship with individual supporters, including through emergency appeals and challenge events.
Wil discovered his love for the Middle East when he spent six months working in Oman after leaving college. He went on to study Arabic and Politics at the University of Leeds, including ten months living in Morocco. Whilst at university he became actively involved with several charities and campaigns focusing on the Islamic world. Wil’s enthusiasm for helping others is at the heart of his work and he works to bring a creative, youthful approach to AMAR’s fundraising efforts.
Sushant Titus, Bursar
Sushant joined AMAR in August 2015, and manages the administrative and financial aspects of the AMAR London Office. Working closely with the projects and field teams, he ensures that all AMAR activities are funded to carry out their operations.
Sushant has been working in the charity sector since 2009, having first worked for The Leprosy Mission International. Prior to that, he worked within the Security, Construction and Education industry. Here he gained a wealth of knowledge in the implementation and operations of various finance systems and their reporting.
Sushant holds a PG Diploma in Business Management from Heriot-Watt University and is currently pursuing his studies to become a qualified accountant with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. When not at work, he enjoys spending his time with his young family.