Meet the team

The UKNC is managed by a Board of Non-Executive Directors and staffed by the Secretariat.

Non–Executive Directors


Dr Beth Taylor – Chair

Until early 2016, Beth Taylor worked as a consultant for the Institute of Physics as chair of the UK National Committee for the International Year of Light, and for the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) on the development of an advanced skills training hub. Her previous full time role was as Director of Communications and External Relations at the Institute of Physics (IOP), responsible for the Institute’s relationships with stakeholders in the UK and internationally, including media relations, public affairs, science outreach activities and web developments.

She led the Institute’s international activities, including the physics for development programme which supports education and training for physicists in the developing world. Following a research degree in earth sciences at Cambridge University, Beth joined the UK Department of Energy, to work on energy conservation and the “Save It” campaign, and later on North Sea oil development. She subsequently spent three years in the USA, teaching geology at the University of New Mexico, and working as an energy policy consultant for Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Returning to the UK, she joined the Energy Technology Support Unit as an analyst, modelling alternative strategies for meeting national energy demand projections and reducing environmental impacts. In the 1990’s, Beth joined the corporate strategy team of the UK Atomic Energy Authority, to work on the privatisation of AEA Technology and the refocusing of the UKAEA on nuclear site clean-up and fusion research. Beth became head of the UKAEA’s corporate communications in 1998, responsible for media and community relations at Dounreay, Windscale, Harwell and Winfrith.  She moved to IOP in 2007. Beth was a founding Director of Caithness Horizons, a new community facility and visitor attraction in Thurso.


Professor Kiran Fernandes PhD, CEng, FRSA – Vice Chair with Higher Education portfolio

Professor Fernandes’s expertise lies in modelling complex social and business domains ranging from operational processes to strategic decisions. His work has covered a wide range of fields, including construction, pharmaceutical, biotech, automotive and digital companies. His most recent research utilized modelling techniques to better understand gangs and their involvement in gun crime. Professor Fernandes is a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Colin Mcinnes

Professor Colin McInnes – Vice-Chair with Social and Human Sciences portfolio

Colin McInnes holds a chair in Aberystwyth University’s Department of International Politics and is the University’s Professor of Research Excellence and Impact. He was Dean of Graduate Studies and Head of the University’s Department of International Politics. He was a lecturer in the Department of War Studies, The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst; Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Defence Studies, King’s College London; and Special Adviser to the House of Commons Defence Committee. He is currently advising both Public Health Wales and the InterAction Council (an NGO consisting of over 40 former Presidents and Prime Ministers still active in influencing world events) on global health issues. Professor McInnes has published widely, initially on strategy and security and more recently on global health politics. His book, Spectator Sport War: The West and Contemporary Conflict, was a Choice ‘Outstanding Academic Title.’ The wider impact of his work was rated 4* in the 2014 REF, for which he is also a panel member. He is currently a Non Executive Director of the UK National Committee for UNESCO, responsible for the Human and Social Sciences Portfolio; and is the lead author of its papers setting out recommendations for reform of the World Social Sciences Report and on the UNESCO Chairs programme. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and of the Royal Society for the Arts.

Gary Brace – Education portfolio

GTCW Council members. © WALES NEWS SERVICE

Up to his retirement in 2014, he had been Chief Executive of the General Teaching Council for Wales (GTCW), holding that post since its inception in 2000.

Previously, Gary was Assistant Chief Executive with the Qualifications, Curriculum and Assessment Authority for Wales (ACCAC) and prior to that, history officer with the Authority. He spent 15 years at the ‘chalkface’ teaching history and government & politics in a secondary school and a sixth form college in Cardiff. He has been author and co-author of a range of guidance booklets for teachers and has undertaken education advisory work in the Russian Federation and Georgia on behalf of the Council of Europe. He is also Vice Chair of Cynnal Cymru – Sustain Wales, Governor of Herbert Thompson Primary School Ely, Cardiff and currently Chair of Llandaff Rowing Club. Gary is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and has been awarded the University of Glamorgan Chancellor’s Medal. Gary has twice climbed Mt Kilimanjaro.

Profile - Zamila Bunglawala

Zamila Bunglawala – Cross Cutting portfolio

Zamila is a Deputy Director of the Cabinet Office. Through her extensive national and international policy, strategy and programmes experience in senior roles – including No.10 Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit, Cabinet Office, central Whitehall departments, Open Society Foundation, Young Foundation, Brookings Institution, United Nations in Darfur, Sudan and Kathmandu, Nepal – Zamila has led a wide range of policy and program projects, specialising in education and employment, gender, SGBV, ethnic and faith minority groups, humanitarian conflicts and development. She has strong communications, stakeholder engagement, networking, influencing, strategic oversight, governance and leadership skills from working in national and international organisations. She has advised Ministers, Special Advisers and Heads of UN agencies. She is widely published and is an international public policy speaker on gender and minority equality issues and appears regularly in print media and TV. She also designed and delivered the Knowledge Exchange Trials (KET) program – focussing on bridging the divide between the academic and policy communities, in collaboration with University of Manchester, where she is a Fellow.

Helen Maclagan – Culture portfolio

Helen Maclagan is an independent heritage and cultural specialist, based in the West Midlands. Having originally studied and trained as an archaeologist, she worked for some 20 years as Warwickshire County Council’s County Archaeologist, also playing a role in national archaeological and heritage organisations. She is currently a Vice-Chair of the Council for British Archaeology and a member of the National Trust Archaeology Panel, and has been a member of numerous other national committees. Helen joined the UK National Commission in December 2013. Since then she has been involved with World Heritage Sites (particularly the UK Tentative List) and with issues around Underwater Cultural Heritage, each the subject of a recent UK National Commission Policy Brief. Other areas of activity have related to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, and to Culture and Conflict (with UKNC partners the Blue Shield Committee). Challenges ahead include engaging with Intangible Cultural Heritage, Diversity of Cultural Expressions and with broader issues around Culture and Development. Her interests include the engagement of local communities with the historic and natural environment and links between culture and health.

Karen Merkel – Communication & Information portfolio

Since 1990, Karen has delivered media programmes for live broadcast and interactive platforms across the UK and Africa with public sector broadcasters and the independent sector. She produced programmes for BBC Radios 4 and 5Live, conceived and co-ran SoundRadio – one of the first five Community Radio Stations with a UK Licence to broadcast; assessed capital lottery bids for ACE specialising in Cultural Quarters and digital developments, and produced the BFI’s Capital Development Plan. She worked for the BBC for 9 years; in World Service Education, as Director of Education for the World Service Trust (the BBC’s International Development arm) and directing strategy for BBC Worldwide Interactive Learning. She led Amnesty International’s Internet Programme, launching its new site globally and introducing its first online debates. She co-founded New Media Networks (NMN) working across Africa and the UK. Tate & Lyle Sugars has just granted NMN the license to use its archive collection of films for educational purposes and currently, she is a Creative Entrepreneur in Residence at Kingston University co-developing an online platform for curation, film streaming and distribution, exchange and dialogue of  African film from emerging film-makers in East and West Africa and their Diaspora counterparts in the UK. For the past 6 years and since its inception, Karen has been an Associate Tutor for the Media in Practice module of UEA’s School of International Development’s Masters Course in Media and International Development.




James BridgeJames Bridge – Chief Executive and Secretary-General

James runs the UK National Commission for UNESCO, having been brought in to restructure it in 2011. The organisation received an A+ rating in November 2016 from the UK government for the third year in a row. He advises the UK Government, Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies on UNESCO internationally and UNESCO in the UK. He is an Alternate Member of UNESCO’s Executive (management) Board.

James advised on national and international policy and ran campaigns for Age Concern, the National Council on Ageing (now Age UK). He was International Adviser at the Royal College of Nursing; and was head of the Brussels offices of Save the Children International; the UK Law Societies; and Greater London Enterprise. He worked in the Secretariat-General of the European Commission liaising with the European Parliament Committees on International Trade and Economic and Monetary Affairs.

Andrea BlickAndrea Blick – Accreditation, Finance and Office Manager

Andrea joined the UK National Commission for UNESCO in June 2011, having previously worked for 20 years as Finance Manager for a leading set of criminal barristers. Previously she worked in theatre and theatrical management. Andrea also oversees the accreditation process providing support and quality control for individuals and organisations applying for UNESCO designations, prizes and patronage in the UK.

Matthew Rabagliati – Communications and Research Manager

Matthew supports the UKNC in developing and delivering its policy advice to UK government, devolved administrations and UNESCO and in strengthening relationships with experts and representatives from UNESCO projects across the UK. He was formerly a Senior Parliamentary Advisor at Historic England, and a Policy and Communications Manager at The Heritage Alliance.

Moira NashMoira Nash – Policy Adviser

Moira helps to coordinate the delivery of the UK National Commission for UNESCO’s policy briefs. She joined the UKNC in December 2013 having worked as a freelance consultant to international NGOs. She has over twenty years experience of the international development sector focussing on issues including trade negotiations, indigenous peoples’ rights and corporate accountability.

Shannon McNaught – Research and Administration Assistant

Shannon provides administrative, logistical and research support for projects undertaken by the UK National Commission. She joined the UKNC in January 2016. Shannon began her career in the cultural sector and has worked with a number of arts organisations in the United States and UK, including the Art Institute of Chicago and Dulwich Picture Gallery.

Dr Elizabeth Bell – Newton Prize Programme Lead

Liz is currently working with the UK National Commission for UNESCO and BEIS to launch the new high profile Newton Prize as part of the Government’s Newton Fund. She is also Partner and Director of an education admissions consultancy company for universities and colleges (EdAd Ltd), set up following her role as Head of Policy at UCAS.

Liz is an education, research and innovation systems expert, with professional experience covering a broad spectrum of natural, medical, engineering and social science research policy. Her professional experience includes working with the Russian Government as a British diplomat for five years in Moscow from 1997 to 2002 advising them on redesigning their research and innovation policies. As Head of Policy and External Affairs at The Physiological Society, from 2005 to 2010, she researched learned society international research capacity building issues. More recently, she spent 2015 to 2016 working with Queen Mary University of London to launch their new Institute of Bioengineering with key potential public research funders and industrial sponsors.

Kia Da Silva Cunha – Newton Prize Programme Administrator

Kia joined the UKNC in February 2017 and provides programme support and coordination for the Newton Prize currently being delivered by the UKNC. The Newton Prize (part of the broader Newton Fund) contributes to the UK’s Official Development Aid mandate through science and innovation partnerships. Prior to joining the UKNC Kia worked at Universities UK International within the programmes team, on international partnerships and scholarships including Ciências sem Fronteiras (Science without Borders Brazil) and the British Council’s Newton Fund programmes. Kia’s focus areas include international development, science and education, capacity building and knowledge exchange.