The Leadership Team is responsible for the activities and projects of the Centre. The Centre is managed from its head office in London with projects implemented through its regional offices in Accra and Beirut.
Ziya Meral, Director:
Ziya is a British and Turkish citizen. He is the Secretary of the British - Turkish Foreign Policy Platform, a Research Associate at London based Foreign Policy Centre and a PhD candidate in politics at St Catharine's College, University of Cambridge. He holds an MSc in Sociology from the London School of Economics, a 1st Class BA Honours from Brunel University in Theology, and a M.Div from the International School of Theology-Asia in the Philippines. In 2010-2011, he was a Fellow at the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, a federal commission that produces policy proposals for the U.S. Government, where he conducted research on ethno-religious violence in Nigeria and Egypt. He has undertaken research projects, civil society engagement and education in a wide range of countries in Asia and Middle East, including China, Jordan and Iran. Meral is the author of two books, a play produced for stage at a leading theatre in Istanbul, and numerous opinion articles, academic essays and special research reports on Turkish and Middle Eastern politics, religion, human rights and philosophy. He is frequently interviewed by international television networks such as BBC World, France 24, Al Jazeera. He has briefed various governments and given expert statements and talks at the U.K. Houses of Commons and Lords, the U.S. Congress and Danish Parliament. More information available at www.ziyameral.com
Catherine Young, Head of Programmes and Development:
Catherine is a British and American citizen, holds a BA in Political Science from the Wheaton College, a MPhil in Latin American Studies from the University of Oxford, and a Juris Doctor in Law from the George Washington School of Law. She worked as a litigation attorney in the US, and on various humanitarian projects around the world, including working as an adviser at the UN Office on Drugs and Crime in Hanoi, Vietnam; independent researcher for the British and Irish Agencies Afghanistan Group on effectiveness of UK aid allocation in Afghanistan; on research and business development at the Office of the Chairman of Oxford Analytica, and as Executive Director of the Oxford Analytica Foundation.
Dr Martin Accad, Senior Fellow, Middle East:
Martin is a citizen of Switzerland and Lebanon, holds a DPhil from the University of Oxford and has a decade long experience in teaching and running programs and institutions in the Middle East on religion issues. He has lectured on Islam at Fuller Theological Seminary in the US, and is still a lecturer at the Arab Baptist Seminary in Beirut-Lebanon, where he also directs the Institute of Middle East Studies. He is a frequent speaker in conferences on particularly Christian-Muslim relations and Christian engagement with the Middle East.
Dr John Azumah, Senior Fellow, Africa:
John is a Ghanian citizen and holds an MA and PhD in Islamics and Christian-Muslim relations at the University of Birmingham, UK. He is an Associate Professor of World Christianity at the Columbia Theological Seminary. He is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church of Ghana and taught and worked on various initiatives on Islam-Christianity relations in the UK, India and Ghana. His books include My Neighbour's Faith; Islam explained for Christians (2008), The Legacy of Arab-Islam in Africa: A Quest for Inter-religious Dialogue (2001).
Elias Ghazal, Programs Manager, Middle East :
Elias was born in Qatar to Lebanese and Palestinian parents. He grew up in Canada where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Toronto, and a Masters in Theological Studies from Tyndale Seminary. He worked in the derivatives market in Toronto for 5 years. In 2011, he moved to Beirut to be closer to the changes that the Arab Spring promised. While there, he managed a team of 30 multinationals to develop theological e-courses in Arabic. At the same time, he completed an MA in Middle Eastern Studies from the American University of Beirut. Elias is preparing for doctorate studies to explore how religious violence impacts international relations in the Middle East.