Two new Non-Executive Directors to take forward UNESCO’s education mandate in the UK

The UK National Commission for UNESCO is delighted to confirm that Professor Anne Anderson, Vice-Principal and Head of College of Social Sciences, University of Glasgow, and Joseph Nhan-O’Reilly, currently the Head of Education Policy & Advocacy at Save the Children, have been appointed as Non-Executive Directors of the UK National Commission for UNESCO.

The appointments were announced by the Secretary of State for the Department for International Development in December 2018.

Joseph will take up the role of Non-Executive Director with the Education Portfolio, and Anne will be a Non-Executive Director with the Higher-Education Portfolio.

Chair of the UK National Commission for UNESCO, Dr Beth Taylor, said:

I am delighted to welcome Anne Anderson and Joseph Nhan-O’Reilly to the Board of the UK National Commission for UNESCO.

Anne brings an in-depth understanding of the university sector, extensive international experience, and a track record of contributing in non-executive roles to public bodies including the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Commonwealth Scholarships Commission and VisitScotland. Joseph’s experience of educational programmes in the developing world, together with his detailed knowledge of UNESCO’s work on education, offers the opportunity to enhance the impact of the UK National Commission for UNESCO and to help UNESCO achieve its potential contribution towards securing the goal of quality education for all.”

I want to take this opportunity to thank their predecessors – Professor Kiran Fernandes who is going to focus on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and Gary Brace who retired from the Board in July 2018– for their outstanding contributions to the UK National Commission for UNESCO”.

Professor Anne Anderson said:

“I am honoured to be appointed a UK UNESCO Commissioner. Through my university work, I know how important international collaborations are for research and education, and the value of UNESCO Chairs in this process. As a Board Member for Visit Scotland, I see the great value of UNESCO and its designations to the economy. Showing the UK’s commitment to working with international organisations such as UNESCO has never been more vital. I am looking forward to playing a part in this.”

Joseph Nhan-O’Reilly said:

“I’m delighted to be joining the UK National Commission for UNESCO at this critical time. As a leading supporter of education globally, especially via UK Aid, the British government and civil society are working hard to ensure everyone, especially the world’s poorest citizens, have access to inclusive and quality education and learning opportunities. That includes working with UNESCO, the UN agency with responsibility for coordinating and monitoring the implementation of the Education 2030 Agenda.

“I’m very excited to help grow the UK’s relationship with UNESCO and accelerate our joint efforts to unlock the power and opportunity of education for all.”


Professor Anne Anderson MA, Ph.D, OBE, FRSE
Vice-Principal and Head of College of Social Sciences, University of Glasgow

Anne Anderson graduated from the University of Glasgow with an MA and then a PhD in Psychology. She was appointed Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Glasgow in 1986 and Professor in 1997, while simultaneously holding the role of Economic and Social Research Council Research Programme Director from 1995 to 2006. In 2006, she joined the University of Dundee to take up an appointment as Vice-Principal and Head of the College of Art, Science, and Engineering. She was appointed to the Council of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Council in 2008. She returned to the University of Glasgow in 2010 as Vice-Principal and Head of the newly formed College of Social Sciences that has over 500 staff and over 8,000 students. In her university leadership role, she has been very active in building international partnerships in a wide range of countries including Canada, China, India, Malaysia, and in Europe. She is a Board Member for VisitScotland and Deputy Chair of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission.

Joseph Nhan-O’Reilly
Head of Education Policy & Advocacy at Save the Children

Joseph Nhan-O’Reilly is an education specialist with over a decade’s experience working internationally to advance children and young people’s access to quality learning opportunities.

He is currently the Head of Education Policy & Advocacy at Save the Children, the world’s largest independent children’s rights organisation. He has lived and worked in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean and has extensive experience of working with UNESCO nationally, regionally and globally.

In 2010 he was elected to represent civil society on the new board of the Global Partnership for Education. He served on the board until 2017 including for four years as the inaugural Chair of the Partnership’s Strategy and Policy Committee where he oversaw a range of significant developments including a new funding window for countries in crisis and the Partnership’s first gender equality policy and strategy.

Joseph was a member of the design team for Education Cannot Wait, the world’s first global fund for education in emergencies, and he now serves on its Executive Committee. He is also the founding Chair of the Global Book Alliance a multi-stakeholder initiative working to transform book development, procurement and distribution to ensure that no child is without books.

He co-chaired the preparatory committee for the High-Level Meeting on Action for Refugee Education at this year’s UN General Assembly which was co-hosted by UNESCO.

He has held various leadership roles in the education aid sector in the UK including with Send My Friend the umbrella body for UK based civil society working on education globally.