Sunder Katwala is the director of British Future. He has previously worked as a journalist. He was general secretary of the Fabian Society thinktank from 2003 to 2011, and was previously a leader writer and internet editor at the Observer, a research director of the Foreign Policy Centre and commissioning editor for politics and economics at the publisher Macmillan. He celebrated his 10th wedding anniversary with his wife, Stacy, in 2011, and is the proud father of four children, Zarina, Jay, Sonny and Indira. His support for Everton and Southend United football clubs reflects an upbringing in Cheshire and Essex, though he was born in Doncaster, Yorkshire, to parents who came to Britain from India and Ireland, to work for the NHS.
Steve Ballinger is director of communications. He grew up in Leamington Spa in the West Midlands and went to university in Leeds. After a spell working in advertising regulation, Steve moved to the press office of housing charity Shelter before joining the media team at Amnesty International, where his brief included Iran and China as well as UK issues including counter-terrorism policy and refugee rights. While at Amnesty Steve also launched the successful Control Arms campaign for an international Arms Trade Treaty and conceived and led a joint campaign with the Observer, irrepressible.info, to protect online freedom of expression. He then headed up the media team at international development charity VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) before joining British Future. Steve is a keen cook and loves travel and cinema. He describes himself as an enthusiastic but unsuccessful golfer, poker player and Nottingham Forest supporter. He lives with his partner Sara in Walthamstow, east London.
Jill Rutter is director of strategy and relationships at British Future. She was born in Birmingham and grew up in rural Northamptonshire. After studying at Oxford University and University College London she worked as a geography teacher in London and Essex. She then joined the Refugee Council where she helped set up Refugee Week, now a regular summer fixture. She has also worked at the Institute for Public Policy Research, where she helped set up the Migration Museum Project. This organisation plans to create the UK’s first dedicated migration museum and to tell the long story of movement into and out of the UK in a fresh and engaging way. Jill lives in south London with her two sons Emil and Izzy. She enjoys cooking, walking, sunshine, sea and landscapes. In her spare time she makes pots in her studio and is writing a book about British ceramics.
Elizabeth Gibson is the office manager and executive assistant at British Future. Her heritage is Irish Catholic via the USA and mixed English and Scottish. In other words truly British! She was born in Essex, went to school in Devon, came to college in London and has never left. Elizabeth has had a varied career including teaching for over 20 years in a variety of inner city London primary schools and being the deputy headteacher at a school in the Worlds End. She has also worked as a community fundraiser for a large national charity and latterly chief executive at a charity based close to Guy’s hospital. In her spare time she is a school governor at the comprehensive school her daughters attended, she is also involved with the Friends of Westminster Cathedral serving on their events committee. Her other interests include playing bridge, going to the opera and France. She lives in Vauxhall with her husband Keith, daughters Phoebe and Ophelia, and four cats…
Dr Avaes Mohammad is Project Co-Ordinator at British Future working on the New Understandings, Creating Connections project highlighting the significance of Britain’s WW1 Indian Muslims. Avaes brings a diversity of experience to this role, ranging from his background in the chemical sciences to his practice as professional playwright and poet. Having managed a range of projects across various sectors and with his active interest in the development of British Muslim cultures, we look forward to his time with us at British Future. Committed to human rights and culture, Avaes is also a trustee of the Bhopal Medical Appeal, fellow of the Muslim Institute and works closely with English PEN as a writer/facilitator. Recently married to his significantly more impressive wife Kiran, they share a mutual love of the arts, travel and all things London. Avaes’s parents settled between the hills of Lancashire from Pakistan and East Africa, from where he proudly watched them both work in the disabled care sector.
Laura Dias is the intern at British Future. Laura studied History and Politics at the University of Warwick before completing a Master’s degree in African Studies at the University of Oxford. Laura’s Master’s thesis focused on Tanzanian Asians identity following Tanzanian independence, leading her to carry out interviews across Tanzania, Zanzibar and the UK. After graduating Laura worked at DragonGate Market Intelligence as a Market Analyst and Researcher, working closely with both public and private sector clients. Laura’s interests include travelling, reading and attempting to bake.