International Advisory Board

Sylvana is an intellectual historian and Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge, where she is the Sir Harry Hinsley Lecturer in History, the Director of Studies in History and Human and Social and Political Sciences, and Tutor to the natural Scientists (Physical).  She is Associated Lecturer in both the History and Human and Social and Political Sciences faculties, and lectures on eighteenth and nineteenth-century political theory, as well as on political philosophy. She teaches graduate students on the three History of Political Theory papers, on such topics as conceptions of violence and political participation, and authors ranging from David Hume, Samuel Coleridge to Simone de Beauvoir.  She is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.
After qualifying as a chartered accountant and a period in consultancy, Brenda took up a number of roles in media and technology businesses, culminating in Managing Director and Deputy Chairman of Granada Television, Managing Director of Studios for ITV and President EMEA of Ascent Media. She led transformational change and introduced a CSR policy supporting IT education initiatives, wellbeing and diversity.
She currently runs her own advisory service focusing on financing and transforming SMEs and sits on several boards as a NED, including Chair of Audit and Risk.
Other than her professional life, Brenda has always been passionate about education and health and has sat on a number of health and university boards.
An average golfer and speaker of French and Spanish, Brenda aspires to excel in all three!
Stephen has lived in East London for nearly forty years.  His great passion is for building the communities of East London through the provision of good healthcare, housing, education and employment.  Sir Stephen O’Brien CBE is currently a Trustee of Foundation for Future London and until very recently was a Trustee of The Mayors Fund for London, Barts Charity and Music in Secondary Schools Trust.  He is Vice President of Business in the Community, Convenor of The Second Curve Network and he chairs The London Communities Commission.  Previously Stephen was Chair of Barts Health NHS Trust, NHS Tower Hamlets PCT, Unicorn Children’s Theatre, University of East London, International Health Partners, London First, Teach First, London Works and Charles Fulton and Co Ltd. He was the first Chief Executive of both Business in the Community and London First and he supports several charities in their strategy and fundraising including Bi-Polar UK, Young Epilepsy and Anchor House.  He has a special interest in mental health. He was the Co-founder and Chairman of the Cranstoun Trust which was the first residential rehabilitation centre for heroin addicts in the UK. He convened the RSA Commission on Illegal Drugs and  in 2015 chaired the Commission on Mental Health and Society. He holds Honorary Degrees or Fellowships from Liverpool University, Middlesex University, City University, University of East London and Queen Mary. In 1987 he was awarded a CBE and was knighted in 2014 for services to London and the NHS.
Lucia is a Certified Coach with a Ph.D. in geophysics, Lucia created LUSVAL in 2017 which is a consulting company.  After a master’s degree in Physics from the University of Rome and a doctorate in Earth Sciences in Geneva. Lucia worked in international, multicultural, and varied contexts, in English, French and Italian. Lucia is a Certified practitioner of “Insights Discovery” and “TRIMA competency-based approach”. By capitalizing on her experience in multicultural environments, her approach aims to facilitate organizational agility and focuses on supporting people with technical and scientific backgrounds.  Lucia is also committed to promoting women in science, through mentoring and coaching, and to engage the geoscientific community with the energy transition issues.
Torek has worked as an Adviser to the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington, former Senior Strategy Officer and Economist for the broader Middle East-North Africa Region at the World Bank Group’s IFC in Washington DC. Mr Farhadi was also the Lead at the IsDB in Jeddah Saudi Arabia for the Investment Promotion Technical Assistance Program (ITAP) for all 56 member countries of IsDB. At IsDB. For the past 9 years, Mr Farhadi was Large Projects Lead at the International Trade Centre, a UN/World Trade Organization Agency in Geneva- Switzerland, covering North Africa and the Middle East and subsequently for the Pacific Islands focusing on Trade, Tourism, Access to Finance, Export Development and sustainable improvements to the Business Environment. Torek Farhadi completed  his Diplôme d’Etudes SupérieuresSpecialisée (DESS) at the Dauphine University in Finance in Paris. Currently in Geneva, Torek is a Board member and Senior Adviser at Action for Development (AfD), a Swiss NGO supporting midwife training in developing countries in partnership with Ecole de Sage Femme -Genève. In 2019,Torekreceived a Honoris Causa Doctorate degree from UBIS University in Geneva, Switzerland.
Dr Stephanie Schrempft is a Research Associate at Geneva University Hospitals, Unit of Population Epidemiology, and Programme Director of Global Health at Hume University, Lausanne, Switzerland. After graduating from the University of Nottingham in 2008 with a First Class degree, she went on to complete an MSc in Research Methods in Psychology at University College London (UCL), for which she gained a distinction. In 2010, she gained an IMPACT-funded PhD studentship on the role of the home environment in early weight trajectories, under the supervision of Professor Jane Wardle at UCL, in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health. Following a postdoctoral position with Professor Andrew Steptoe in the Psychobiology Group at UCL, she took up a research position at the University of Geneva investigating individual and environmental factors predicting academic performance in medical students. In 2020, she started a research position at Geneva University Hospitals, examining the impact of socioeconomic inequalities on the ageing brain. Stephanie is also a Lecturer in Psychology at the Open University, UK.
Necmettin is currently working as a Professor of Islamic Law and Economics at Istanbul University. He is director of the Center for Islamic Economics and Finance at Istanbul University. He earned his B.A from Marmara University and M.A from the same university. He received his PhD from Selcuk University, Institute of Social Sciences in 2011. He has been a visiting fellow at Columbia University, Princeton University, and Cambridge University. His research interests related to Islamic law and economics. He focuses on the history of Islamic law, Islamic economics, corporate law, modernity and Islamic law and some other contemporary issues from the legal perspective. Necmettin has published several books. His research in the field of Islamic law and economics has appeared in many leading academic journals. He is a scientific advisor for numerous academic journals, and serves on the editorial boards of many academic journals and is editor in chief of the Turkish Journal of Islamic Economics (TUJISE).
Vikas is a Visiting Professor of Entrepreneurship at MIT Sloan (The Lisbon MBA), Honorary Professor of Business at The Alliance Business School, University of Manchester and an Honorary Industry Fellow at the University of Salford Business School. Vikas is currently CEO of Swiscot Group. Vikas was awarded an MBE for Services to Business and the Economy in Her Majesty the Queen’s 2018 New Year’s Honours List.  Vikas is the Chair of the Board of In Place of War, a global charity that works in 30+ countries using research-backed arts and entrepreneurship tools in peace building and development.  Vikas is a Trustee of Mustard Tree, a charity he has worked with for over 15 years. Mustard Tree are the largest charity supporting those impacted by homelessness, poverty and marginalisation across Greater Manchester. Vikas is deeply involved with TiE, the world’s largest entrepreneurship network, which is a global non-profit committed to developing the next generation of global entrepreneurs.  He is the current President of the NW-UK chapter having held the Chair for a number of years. Vikas is a member of the UK Government’s Industrial Development Advisory Board (IDAB}. Vikas is an advisor to the British Council on their digital transformation and strategy.
Vikas publishes Thought Economics, a journal where he has interviewed many of the world’s most influential and important people from world leaders to Nobel prize winners, entrepreneurs and thinkers
Dr Abdulhaq has a PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences and an MSc in Pharmaceutical Analysis & Quality Control from Kings College London KCL/University of London and a BSc in Pharmacy from the University of Jordan. Dr. Abdulhaq has substantial experience in education and the pharmaceutical industry. She has more than eight years’ experience in leading roles in the pharmaceutical industry and worked as a consultant in the field of Good Clinical Practice, a member of the Bioequivalence Committee at the Jordanian Food and Drug Administration.
Dr. Abdulhaq has extensive experience in international and experiential education and has been working as the academic director for the school of international training SIT Study Abroad refugees, health and humanitarian action program and chair for a global master’s program entitled humanitarian assistance and crisis management at SIT graduate school.
Gavin has a BA(Hons), a BArch (Hons) and RIBA ARB. He studied at the University of Liverpool (1986-1992). He is the Principal of Architects Henley Halebrown which is based in London. He was drawn to architecture through his interest in the interrelationship between art and science. After qualifying, he worked in Japan for Kinemura Associates before returning to London to practice. In 2005, Gavin exhibited in the 40Under40 UK Architects exhibition at the V&A, London as one of the UK’s future foremost architects. He has taught at universities in the UK and Japan, including University College London. The practice has won numerous national and international awards covering many facets of architectural design, housing, healthcare, office and urban design. The studio works across the UK, Europe and extensively in Russia. The practice teaches widely and has close ties with a number of educational establishments in the UK and internationally. Gavin sits on various expert industry panels and is vice-chair of the Tower Hamlets CADAP and has extensive knowledge of peer review and mentoring. In 2018 Swiss publishers Quart Verlag published a monograph on Henley Halebrown in their De Aedibus International series.
Dr Samantha Spence has both academic and practical experience of the law, having worked in both national and international law firms, together with many years teaching experience in Higher Education. Her research interests include critical thinking, feminist theory and international human rights law, specifically the rights of women and other marginalised groups. Over recent years, her work has involved working with the United Nations, in order to highlight abuses linked to harmful practices and she has been invited to the United Nations in Geneva on several occasions. She has also been invited to attend parliamentary events held in both the UK Parliament and the Pan-African Parliament. She currently works as a lecturer in law at Staffordshire University, UK and teaches and supervises students at all levels including: foundation, undergraduate, masters level and PhD supervision. She is a member of the Socio-Legal Studies Association and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Geneviève Elizabeth Cadei-Millot has spent all her career in banking and accounting in Switzerland, with major institutions such as EY, Citigroup, First Abu Dhabi Bank and more recently EFG Bank. She has also been active in public life, serving as a municipal councilor in her village in the Canton of Geneva since 2003. In 2018 Geneviève was appointed President of the Alliance Française of Geneva, an NGO which promotes the French language and culture around the world. She has been working with the French Embassy in Bern on a number of cultural initiatives. Geneviève was educated at the Graduate Institute of International Relations and Development Studies in Geneva. She also holds an MBA and a Certificate in Public Affairs, as well as a Diploma in Translation from the Institute of Linguists Educational Trust. She is a member of the Chartered Institute of Linguists and the Institute of Translation and Interpreting.
Dr Alicia Danielsson has a BA in European Business Law from Abertay University, Scotland, an LL.B. in Comparative and EU Law from the Hanse Law School in Oldenburg and Bremen, Germany, a GradD in Law from the University of Hertfordshire, England, an LLM in International Criminal Justice and Human Rights from the University of Dundee, Scotland, and she completed her PhD at Abertay University, Scotland. She has also completed a PgCert in Teaching and Learning in Higher & Professional Education and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She is currently the Head of the Centre for Contemporary Coronial Law at the University of Bolton.
Her particular interests and expertise lie in the areas of Comparative and EU Law as well as Human Rights Law, Jurisprudence and International Criminal Justice. In particular, her subject-specific research focus can be placed within the fields of comparative and EU law, with a specific focus on the area of freedom, security and justice as well as EU labour law and human rights protection, specifically in relation to the complex relationship between the regulation of prostitution and Trafficking in Human Beings (THB) for the purpose of sexual exploitation. She completed her PhD in 2021. The title of her thesis is ‘Economic Activity or Public Order Limitations: The Interplay of the Regulation of Prostitution between National Law, EU Law and Efforts to combat Human Trafficking.’
Dr Tapati Bandopadhyay has been an inventor, builder, practitioner and researcher in AI for 25+ years. She had been a global practice leader in AI-automation-cloud-SM research & advisory at Gartner from 2010, covering early-stage IPSoft, arago, MLOps, AIOps. Tapati built 200+ Gartner copyrighted research reports, including magic quadrants, hype cycles, ITScore. She received many Gartner Awards, and got consistently rated in Top 20 Advisors globally. At Wipro, 2017 onwards, Tapati filed 3 patents on XAI in less than a year and earned Fellowship in the DMTS (Distinguished Member of Technical Staff). She set up Wipro’s AI Practice CoE, Strategy & Partner Eco-systems, and built and led industry-first AI assets: ETHICA & DfT, persona-based AI, verticalized accelerators, BERT-based Q&A, ontologies discovery, data as IP marketplaces. Within 1 year, Wipro moved from zero to 33+ global leadership positions. 2019 onwards, as Vice President Research @HFS, she led AI-automation, IoT practices globally. In late 2020, partnering with senior ex-Gartner and Wipro practitioners, she founded the world’s first AI PRACTICE RESEARCH organization- AISWITCH (with a patented AI Practice framework). Viewership of the research notes reached 10000+ within just two days of publication. Tapati had been a DFID Scholar at Strathclyde, holds a PhD in AI and University Gold Medal in Engineering. She started her career at Tata Motors and then at GEC UK- building industry-first expert systems.
Martin Creaner is seen as one of the leading strategic thinkers in the global communications industry with a successful career as an executive with Motorola and British Telecom, as well as over a decade as President & CEO of the TM Forum (, the global industry association for the Telecoms Industry.   
Martin is also a recognized thought-leader on Digital Transformation and the trends of the emerging digital economy. His most recent book “Transforming the Telco” explains the opportunities and challenges that digital transformation presents and outlines how the Telco might navigate this difficult process.
Previous books include “Delivering the Digital Economy”, which outlines the dynamics of the digital economy, and “Frameworx Distilled” & “NGOSS Distilled”, which provide a detailed guidebook to the standards that underpin the Telecom software industry.   
Martin currently advises the boards of companies in the communications and high tech industries, ranging from a number of the up and coming digital economy companies to the industry leaders.
Martin has been named among the 25 most influential people in telecom software by Billing World and has twice been named as one of the Global telecoms Business top 100. 
Martin holds a Master of Business Administration from Cranfield University, Cranfield School of Management; a Master of Science in Telecommunications from the University of East Anglia; a Bachelor degree in Engineering from Dublin City University and a Batchelor degree in Physics from the University College Dublin.
Mehmet Asutay is a Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Political Economy & Finance at the Durham University Business School, and the Director of the Durham Centre in Islamic Economics and Finance as well as Programme Director of Islamic finance master programmes.
Mehmet’s teaching, research, publication, and supervision of research is all in Islamic moral economy/Islamic economics, Islamic finance and banking, Islamic political economy, Islamic governance and management and the Middle Eastern political economies. His articles on his research interest have appeared in various international academic journals and professional magazines. He has also published manuscripts and edited books on aspects of Islamic moral economy and Islamic finance, the latest of which are: A Model for Islamic Development: An Approach in Islamic Moral Economy (with S. Jan, 2019), Mapping the Risks and Risk Management Practices in Islamic Banking (with W. Eid, 2019).
Mehmet’s recent research includes the construction of Islamic moral economy and Islamic political economy; and their articulation in economic and sustainable development. In addition, his research focused on locating Islamic banking and finance within the expressed ideals of Islamic moral economy by essentialising sharing and collaborative economy nature of Islamic finance. Mehmet is also involved in empirical research in various aspects and dynamics of Islamic banking and finance as well as examining the political economy determinants and consequences of various Islamic finance industry development models.
Mehmet is the Editor in Chief of the American Journal of Islamic and Society, the International Journal of Islamic Economics and Finance Studies, and the Review of Islamic Economics. Mehmet is also a Board Member of the International Association for Islamic Economics.
Aakanksha is presently working as an Assistant Professor of Legal Studies at REVA University, Bengaluru. She has completed her LL.M. from the National Academy of Legal Studies and Research University of Law, Hyderabad, in Intellectual Property Rights and her B.A.LL.B. from the School of Law, DAVV, Indore. She also has a diploma in Victimology and Victim Assistance from the Tokiwa International Victimology Institute, Tokiwa University, Mito, Japan. She has submitted a written contribution for the purpose of a half-day of general discussion to prepare the elaboration by the committee (CEDAW) of a General Recommendation on the equal and inclusive representation of women in the decision-making system. She has a total of 4 years of experience in teaching and research, and during that time she has also assisted various students with start-ups through an incubation centre under the Ministry of Education in India.
Her research interests lie in Intellectual Property Rights, Women’s and Children’s rights, and Environmental Law. She also has several publications in various domestic and international peer-reviewed journals. Her teaching expertise is in Intellectual Property Rights, Criminal Law, and the Law of Contract. Presently, she is pursuing a PhD in Intellectual Property Rights from Gujrat National Law University. Her research project is entitled “A Socio-Legal Analysis of Post-Grant Experiences of Geographical Indication Holders in the Handicrafts Sector of India: A Case Study with Special Reference to the State of Madhya Pradesh.”