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Executive Committee

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Jessica Toale 


Jessica is a Labour Councillor in the City of Westminster and qualified barrister. She is a political and international development specialist who has worked with UN agencies, NGOs, development consultancies and universities.  She is also a Visiting Fellow at King's College London where she works on the application of DNA technologies to sexual exploitation in the aid industry. Jessica previously served as a Political Advisor to two Shadow Secretaries of State for International Development and was the founding chair of the Fabian Society's International Policy Group. She has written extensively on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, UK's foreign policy and the UK-China relationship. She is a British Council Hammamet Fellow and has participated in the FCO's UK-China Young Leaders' Delegation and GBCC Future Leaders' Delegation. Jessica has a masters in Urbanisation and Development from the London School of Economics (LSE).  

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Peymana Assad


Peymana Assad is a Labour Councillor in the London Borough of Harrow, elected in 2018 making her the first person of Afghan origin elected to public office in the UK. In September 2020 she was announced as one of the 35 emerging leaders in Europe by the Obama Foundation. Peymana has worked extensively across the charity sector on girls’ rights in the Global South and sat on boards for British charities working with the FCO and DFID on gender, peace and security across the Middle East and South/Central Asia. She stood as a Labour Parliamentary candidate in the 2019 General Election, making her the first person of Afghan origin to run in a national election for any major political party in the UK. 

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Anna-Joy Rickard

Executive Committee Member

Anna-Joy is an advisor to African leaders and governments on behalf of the Tony Blair Institute, in the areas of international positioning, strategy and delivery, and most recently the COVID-19 response. With a focus on French and Portuguese-speaking Africa, she is currently working with the Sahel region. She has a particular interest in geopolitical partnerships and diplomacy, China, and conflict and security.  Before moving closer to foreign policy she worked in international development for over a decade, including supporting entrepreneurs in Latin America and Asia, and as Executive Director of the Centre for Global Equality at Cambridge. She is a qualified leadership coach and has been a Labour Councillor in Hackney, East London since 2014.


Rishi Patel


Rishi is the Practice Lead for Policy Communications at Global Counsel, a business advisory firm. He works with organisations to devise strategies for campaigns and communications related to public policy. Rishi’s main policy interests are in Britain’s strategic foreign policy relationships, notably the UK’s future relationships with the European Union and Asia. Rishi is also passionate about diversity and inclusion, particularly how to make foreign policymaking more inclusive. A keen linguist, Rishi speaks Italian, French and Gujarati, as well as basic Spanish and Hindi. He is a graduate of Oxford University & University College London.   


Emmanuel Artusa-Barrell


Emmanuel has worked in several areas related to risk management, including political and security risks across many countries and industries in Latin America. He previous worked for several embassies in Argentina and for NGOs such as the Okita Foundation, an Argentine-Japanese NGO, writing reports on bilateral trade and market opportunities for the Japanese Embassy. Emmanuel holds a degree in international relations from the Catholic University of Salta, a Masters of Science in Risk, Crisis and Disaster Management from the University of Leicester, a Masters in Business Administration from the Catholic University of Argentina and a Masters of Science in international business and politics from Queen Mary University of London after been awarded the FCO Chevening Scholarship.

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Andrew Bruce

Executive Committee Member

Andrew is a foreign policy and democratic governance specialist who has  worked for the United Nations, European Commission and Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and served as the Executive Director of a non-governmental organisation.  In these roles he has led political missions, managed the deployment of international election observation missions, overseen democracy support programmes and written, or contributed to, publications on elections and conflict prevention.  He has also provided support to a Labour member of the Foreign Affairs Committee.  Andrew now combines work in foreign policy with teaching students at an inner-city school in South London.  He has a Master’s in International Human Rights Law from Oxford University.


James Jennion

Executive Committee Member

James is a senior political affairs adviser to an international children’s charity. He previously worked as an adviser the UK Foreign Affairs Committee, where he led inquiries on human rights in China and the UK’s role in the Asia-Pacific. He recently completed the British Council’s Generation UK-China Leadership Programme and is a Trustee of The Equality Trust, a charity campaigning for greater socioeconomic equality in the UK and beyond. He has attended conferences, training programmes and secondments in countries including Kazakhstan, Kosovo and Azerbaijan, and has previously spent extended periods of time in China and Peru.

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