Andrew Whitley – Chair
Andrew Whitley succeeded Sir Vincent Fean as Chair of the Balfour Project on 1 June 2022. He has been a Trustee since 2018. A retired senior United Nations official, Andrew spent much of his working life in the Middle East, including seven years in Israel and Palestine. He is also a former journalist with the BBC and Financial Times. In 2017 he founded GeoPolitical Advisory Services, a conflict mediation consultancy working in the Middle East.
Dr Phyllis Starkey – Vice-Chair
Dr. Starkey was a Member of the House of Commons from 1997 to 2010. Before entering Parliament, Dr. Starkey had a double career as a distinguished research scientist and as a politician in both local and national politics. She qualified as a biochemist and followed a career in medical research, leading her own research group in Oxford. She won a seat on Oxford City Council, was Chair of Finance for six years, and Council leader for three years. From 1993-1997, Dr. Starkey was the National Chair of the Local Government Information Unit, which represents over 120 Councils across the country. Dr. Starkey has held a number of important Parliamentary posts since she was elected in 1997: Between 1999-2001 she was a member of the Modernisation of the House of Commons Select Committee; in 2002 she became PPS to Denis MacShane, Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs; in 2005, Dr. Starkey was made Chair of the Select Committee for Communities and Local Government.
Richard Haines Burden is a British Labour Party politician who was Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield 1992-2019. He served as a Shadow Transport Minister 2013-2016 and 2016-2017.
The Rt Revd Dr Michael Doe
Michael became the first Bishop of Swindon in 1994, and went on to lead the Church of England mission agency, USPG. He has a particular concern for the churches in the Holy Land, and for the contribution of all faiths – Christian, Muslim and Jewish – to the search for peace with justice in Palestine and Israel. He is currently Preacher to Gray’s Inn, one of the four Inns of Court, and Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Southwark.
Sir Vincent Fean, KCVO
Sir Vincent Fean was a member of the British Diplomatic Service (DS) 1975-2014. His last post was as Consul-General, Jerusalem (2010-14). Prior to serving in Jerusalem, Fean was Ambassador to Libya, and previously High Commissioner to Malta.
Sandra Hamrouni enjoyed a 30-year career with the British Council – as Country Director in Bahrain, Occupied Palestinian Territory, Cyprus and Algeria and Teaching Centre Manager in Tunisia, Syria, Oman and Spain. As Country Director in oPT she led educational, arts and cultural relations programmes in Gaza, Jerusalem and the West Bank and initiated and developed Higher Education Scholarships for Palestinians. Now in its twelfth year, HESPAL has enabled over 200 Palestinian academics to follow Masters and PhD programmes at UK universities. She continues to work voluntarily for the Balfour Project and Fobzu (Friends of Birzeit University).
Dr Imad Karam
Dr Imad Karam is the Executive Director of Initiatives of Change International, a global network of people of diverse cultures and backgrounds, whose mission is to inspire, equip and accompany change makers in the pursuit of a just and peaceful world. Imad is also an award-winning documentary film-maker.
John McHugo – Secretary
John McHugo is the author of A Concise History of the Arabs, Syria: A Recent History, and A Concise History of Sunnis and Shi’is. He has also published on the legal interpretation of UNSCR 242, the British and French Mandates in the Middle East, and the Jewish Egyptian nationalist James Sanua (Ya’qub Sanu’). He was a Partner in a City of London law firm and had worked on international boundary disputes in the Middle East.
Dr Peter Shambrook
Educated at the universities of East Anglia and Cambridge, Dr Peter Shambrook holds a PhD in Modern Middle Eastern History. He is author of Policy of Deceit Britain and Palestine 1914-1939 (2023) and French Imperialism in Syria, 1927-1936 (1998). He served as Programme Director of British-Arab Exchanges (1974-1987). His current research is focused on British government policy regarding the McMahon-Hussein Correspondence and he is a Historical Consultant to The Balfour Project.
Professor Roger Spooner OBE – Co-founder
Roger Spooner co-founded the Balfour Project in 2011 with his wife, Dr Monica Spooner, who served as the first Chair. He had an academic career in immunogenetics. He edited the journal Animal Genetics and his OBE was for services to animal breeding research. He chaired British-Arab Exchanges for 12 years, but it was not until 2008 that he first learnt about Britain’s contradictory promises relating to Palestine. He has been involved in the development of the Balfour Project since then, designing and managing the project’s website which reached 44000 page views a month by the time of the Balfour Declaration centenary.
Alison Waugh –Treasurer
Waugh retired from paid work (teaching/IT support for special needs) 10 years ago. Co-founded a charity for abused men 12 years ago and am trying to retire from that. Spent 3 unforgettable months in the West Bank in 2017 with EAPPI, and now try to keep the accounts in order for BP. When not bent over a laptop, I spend as much time as possible hillwalking, cycling, ceilidh dancing, gardening and looking after youngest grandchild (2) and mother (95).