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Council of Management

Dame Nicola Dandridge DBE, Chair

Professor of Higher Education Policy, University of Bristol, since October 2022.  Previously served as the inaugural Chief Executive of the Office for Students (July 2017 – April 2022), as Chief Executive, Universities UK (2009-2017), and before that Chief Executive of the Equality Challenge Unit. Originally trained as a lawyer, qualified in both England and Scotland, and worked in private practice.

Mr S J K (Zac) Barratt, Honorary Treasurer

Studied Natural Sciences and then law at Cambridge; qualified as a solicitor with Herbert Smith in 1983. Left Herbert Smith in 1986 to join The Summit Group where he remains as joint owner and one of two executive directors. He has been the finance director since 1993. The Summit Group ( is an early stage venture capital business, with over 30 employees in 2 majority-owned businesses, and another 15-odd investments. He was a member of Council at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art from 2004 to 2022, and Chair of its Finance and General Purposes Committee. He is a member of the advisory council of Newton Prep, a London day prep school (where he also chairs the independent bursary fund). Between December 2013 and August 2017 he was a governor of a state primary school, St Cuthbert with St Matthias Church of England primary school, in Earls Court.

Ms Sarah Dickson OBE

Chief Executive of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK.  Served for over 20 years with the British Diplomatic Service.  British High Commissioner to The Bahamas until July 2022, previously Ambassador to Guatemala and Honduras, following earlier postings in Spain, Argentina and the former Yugoslavia.  Also held various appointments in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, and spent a period as International Director at the Scotch Whisky Association.

Professor Vince Emery

President at the University of Hertfordshire hosted by Global Academic Foundation, Egypt. Emeritus Professor of Translational Virology at the University of Surrey and Honorary Professor of Virology at UCL. Chair of the Board of The Pirbright Institute and a Trustee member of the Governing Body of Charterhouse School.

Mr Alan Mackay

Deputy Vice-Principal International, University of Edinburgh, since 2012.  Provides strategic leadership on internationalisation, advancing the University’s ambition and responsibility on behalf of the international directorate.  Before joining the University he worked for the University of St Andrews.  He has an undergraduate degree in Public Policy and Management, a Postgraduate Diploma in European Policy and Law and is an alumnus of Harvard University Graduate School of Education, Institute for Educational Management.  He is a member of the British Council Scotland Advisory Committee, the Russell Group International Advisory Group and the British Council Higher Education Sector Group, and has been a Trustee for the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA).

Professor Alan McCarthy

Emeritus Professor of Microbiology at the University of Liverpool, which he joined as a lecturer in 1985. He was Head of undergraduate admissions for the School of Life Sciences for 20 years, and chairman of the postgraduate selection committee for the Institute of Integrative Biology. He has held a number of external examining, editorial board and research peer review panel appointments in the UK and Europe.

Professor Joanna Newman MBE

Provost of SOAS, University of London, since September 2023.  Her previous posts include Secretary General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (April 2017 - September 2023), Vice-Principal (International) at King’s College London, Director of the UK Higher Education International Unit and Head of Higher Education at the British Library. She is a Senior Research Fellow in the History Faculty at King’s and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Southampton and serves on the board of the School of Advanced Studies, University of London International Academy.

Ms Naina Patel

Chief People Officer at the University of the Arts London with responsibility for the HR and Health & Safety functions and a member of the Executive Board. Previous roles held include HR Director at Birkbeck and Head of Strategy & Change at Queen Mary, University of London.

Dr Cornelia Sorabji CBE

Honorary Professor of Practice, University College London, formerly also Counsellor Strategy & External Expertise at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. She originally joined the FCO as its Balkan analyst, having written her Social Anthropology PhD on national identities, Islam and the practice and politics of religion in socialist former Yugoslavia. Her career has included a lectureship at the University of Sussex, honorary fellowships at CEU, Kings College London and UCL, and convening an MA in Public Diplomacy & Global Communication at the latter.

Ms Vivienne Stern MBE

Chief Executive of Universities UK since September 2022, previously Director of Universities UK International 2014-2022.

Dr Mehroosh Tak

Senior Lecturer at the Royal Veterinary College in London. Trained as an economist, Dr Tak is interested in better understanding the structural causes of global food systems change.  Previously worked as an expert in food and nutritional security with international donors such as the UNICEF and the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations.  She currently sits on the board of The Food Foundation, Rethinking Economics and People’s Economy.

Mr Ben Webster

Founder and CEO of Mosaik Education, an NGO that supports refugees to access higher education. He previously worked at the UN Migration Syria crisis team, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and Transparency International’s Defence & Security Programme, and has led research on peer-to-peer technology for the UK Government.

Professor Paul Weindling

Wellcome Trust Research Professor in the History of Medicine at the School of Humanities, Oxford Brookes University. He also lectures at the University of Oxford.