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 leading 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 Bethnal Green, east London.
Matthew Rhodes is director of strategy and relationships at British Future. He was born in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, and reflects his family’s strong Yorkshire heritage in his passionate support of Leeds United FC, though he also grew up in Bedford and Brighton. After studying at Nottingham University, he qualified as a solicitor and specialised as an employment lawyer with a large commercial law firm, before deciding he would like to travel and see the world, and do something different with his life. He worked in Westminster for six years as a senior aide to The Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP, working on a wide range of issues and policy matters, during which time he very much enjoyed working with East Londoners. He also assisted Stephen in six different ministerial roles, including when he was in the cabinet as Chief Secretary to the Treasury. He is married to Rebecca and is a dad to Poppy and Jotham. He enjoys watching and playing most sports, playing the drums, and enjoys philosophy, theology and spending time with his family.
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 will manage a new project – “An Unknown and Untold Story – The Muslim Contribution to The First World War” – which seeks to raise public awareness, during the centenary of the First World War, of the 400,000 Muslims from undivided India who served in the British Army from 1914-1918. 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.
Michael Hough is the intern at British Future. Born in Basildon and raised and schooled in Billericay, Essex, Michael went on to the University of Manchester to study Modern History and Politics, looking in particular at Twentieth Century history with an emphasis on The Cold War and Modern Europe and America. After graduating Michael worked at the charity Link Up (UK), working jointly on a Family Tree Project and Myth-Busting project. Michael has also written for the website Debater. Michael is a passionate sports fan and is a big supporter of Tottenham Hotspur and Essex County Cricket Club. His other interests include blogging on both sport and politics and reading. He now lives in Billericay, Essex with his family.