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.
Dr Ziya Meral, Director:
Ziya is a British and Turkish citizen. He is a Senior Resident Fellow at the British Army’s Centre for Historical Analysis and Conflict Research, based at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He has given numerous television and radio interviews for British and international media outlets, and has been cited by leading newspapers, including the Financial Times, New York Times, the Times and the Sunday Telegraph. He lectures internationally in leading universities and academic conferences as well as diplomatic and political institutions. These have included expert testimonies before the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, as well as lectures at the US State Department, NATO Defence College and the European Commission. He has regularly briefed British, European and North American officials on global developments, and undertook commissioned research projects. He has published on a wide range of topics, including a book on lives and thoughts of Nietzsche and Dostoyevsky, a theatre play which was produced for stage in Istanbul, and multiple research and policy briefings for think-tanks, governmental and non-governmental bodies. He worked as human rights researcher previously with field research on minorities in the Middle East, including in Iran, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon. He holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge in political science, a MSc in sociology from the London School of Economics, a Masters of Divinity from the International School of Theology Asia in Manila, Philippines, and a 1st Class BA from the Brunel University. He also took short term courses around the world, including on genocides and prevention in Canada, and introduction to Chinese language and culture in China. His latest book, 'How Violence Shapes Religion: Belief and Conflict in Africa and Middle East' will be released in 2018.
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.