The Elders are assisted by a small team based in London.
The Elders' Team
Chief Executive Officer
Lesley-Anne Knight became Chief Executive Officer of The Elders in January 2013. She believes strongly that combating injustice and inequality is vital to building enduring peace in the world and has been active in humanitarian and development work for more than 30 years.
She was previously Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis, a global confederation of Catholic aid agencies based in Rome. As leader of one of the world’s largest development and humanitarian networks, she had overall responsibility for the coordination of Caritas global relief efforts following major natural disasters and humanitarian crises such as the Haiti earthquake of 2010 and the conflicts in Darfur, Democratic Republic of Congo, Middle East and Sri Lanka.
She has also worked as International Director of CAFOD (the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development) and as Emergencies Manager for HelpAge International. Earlier in her career she gained invaluable field experience, spending several years in Latin America working with indigenous peoples and refugees, as well as in the Mexico City office of Oxfam.
Lesley-Anne was born and brought up in Zimbabwe and attended university in Cape Town before post-graduate studies in London and Paris. She speaks Spanish, German, French and Portuguese.
Follow @_LAKnight on Twitter.
Finance and Services Officer
Prior to joining The Elders in September 2013, Karina enjoyed a 30-year career in PR, communications and publishing. A passionate advocate for autism and carers, in her spare time she stages annual fundraisers for several national charities, including The National Autistic Society, The Giving Tree Foundation, Carers UK, Maggie’s Centres and Marie Curie Cancer Care. Born on the bayou near New Orleans and raised on Pensacola Beach, wanderlust and a trusty backpack took her to far-flung places, including a two-year stint teaching English in Tokyo. Karina holds a BA in English and French from Kennesaw State University, Atlanta, and enjoys baking and meditation, though not simultaneously.
Pia Muzaffar Dawson
Digital Communications Officer
Before joining The Elders as Online Communications Assistant in September 2010, Pia was a Peaceworker for Quaker Peace and Social Witness and spent a year with Crisis Action working on their Sudan365 campaign. She has a BA in International Relations and Development Studies from the University of Sussex, and a background in human rights activism in Southeast Asia. Pia trains in the Indonesian martial art Pencak Silat, but remains a feeble opponent due to her commitment to nonviolence.
Policy Team Coordinator
Prior to joining The Elders in September 2011, Manou worked with several non-profit organisations including the Ligue des droits de l’Homme, the EastWest Institute and most recently Oxfam in the Netherlands as Support Officer to the Regional Manager of the Middle East and Maghreb. She has a BA in History with Development Studies from the University of Sussex and a Masters in Political Science from the Sorbonne University. Manou speaks English, French, Dutch and Spanish and is addicted to cheese and dreamy music. She can also sing and dance but stage fright prevented her from becoming a popstar.
Senior Media Officer
Elliott joined The Elders in March 2012, following two years at a communications consultancy advising NGOs. Before that, he worked at the London School of Economics (LSE) and interned at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
He has a BA in Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and an MSc in Media and Communications from LSE. Elliott grew up in France but, after almost ten years in north London, is now confused by newfound allegiances to its Ethiopian restaurants and Arsenal FC.
Events and Logistics Officer
Prior to joining The Elders in May 2013, Mark was the Executive Assistant to the Director-General at the International Planned Parenthood Federation, a sexual and reproductive health and rights organisation operating in over 170 countries, working on executive level support, governance issues and events and logistics. Before this Mark spent 23 years in the Royal Air Force, serving both overseas and in the UK in a wide variety of human resources roles.
Mark has a BSc in International Relations and an MSc in International Development Management, both courtesy of the Open University. He enjoys all things horticultural and coarse fishing, but is perennially pained by the inability of his beloved Nottingham Forest to reach the Premiership.
HR and Executive Assistant to the CEO
Anna is Personal Assistant to the Chief Executive and has worked in the non-profit sector since 2001. She was Programme Administrator at both Development Finance International from 2001 to 2004 and also Leonard Cheshire Disability from 2005 to 2007. Anna has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of Wales and taught English in Portugal and the UK from 1987 to 1997. She cycles to work, has a weakness for chocolate and enjoys film and theatre.
Systems and Events Officer
Paul joined The Elders in January 2012. Prior to this he worked in the non-profit sector, most recently as Development Associate with the International House at the University of California, Berkeley, and before that with the San Francisco Education Fund as the Development and Program Associate.
Paul has a BA in Political Science from the University of California, Davis, and an MSc in Public Policy from Queen Mary, University of London. In his spare time he enjoys cooking and backpacking in the outdoors, and he is a passionate supporter of the Chicago Cubs and Arsenal Football Club.
Digital Communications Assistant
Before joining The Elders in April 2012 as Digital Communications Intern, Ingrid was working for a software company in Australia. She has held various roles in recruitment for Accenture, and has previously interned with Science City York and The European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies.
Ingrid has a BA in Philosophy and Sociology from the University of York and shares her name with an author of religion, philosophy and witchcraft.
Senior Middle East Analyst
Nigel joined The Elders in April 2013, after 24 years in various departments and agencies of the British civil service. With an MA in Latin & Greek and English Literature, he initially pursued a career in book publishing, and has worked as a writer and editor for many years, both in and out of government, always hoping that the pedanticism of his classical education (and tendency towards long sentences like this one) is sufficiently counterbalanced by the creativity derived from his reading and writing of poetry – the latter yet to be recognised by an indifferent public.
He has worked as a Middle East analyst for 12 years.
Senior Policy Officer
Elisa Peter joined The Elders in January 2013. Prior to this, Elisa was Deputy Coordinator of the United Nations Non-Governmental Liaison Service in New York. In that role, she facilitated the engagement of civil society in the UN’s intergovernmental processes in the fields of international development, human rights and peace building.
Before joining the UN, Elisa spent ten years working with nonprofit organisations to promote sustainable development and human rights, including five years in a remote community above the Arctic Circle.
Elisa holds a Masters degree in Public Administration from Harvard University. She was awarded a mid-career fellowship by the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations in 2011. When her two small children allow her some spare time, she enjoys flying trapeze and honing her other circus skills.
Follow @ElisaPeter on Twitter.
Kasita joined The Elders as Communications and Publicity Assistant in July 2012, having previously undertaken internship and temporary roles with the team. She has also interned at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Kofi Annan Foundation.
Kasita has a BA in History and Politics from St Anne’s College, Oxford, and an MSc in Human Rights from the London School of Economics. She is still on the lookout for an intriguing hobby to add to her staff biography.
Senior Policy Officer
Malcolm joined The Elders in April 2014. He has worked for the Refugee Council, Christian Aid, Oxfam and Landmine Action UK and as a consultant on humanitarian and international development programmes with governments and NGOs. He has significant field experience in Africa and Asia including periods in Sudan and Sri Lanka. He is a keen walker and reader and enjoys music and sport. He has a BA in Anthropology from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London.
Director of Operations
Tom joined the Elders in February 2010, after a decade working internationally as an Orchestra Manager. This gave him the experience to manage a large number of high-profile people and design trips and meetings around the world that went off safely and smoothly. Since joining The Elders he has experienced a crash course in diplomacy, international protocols, foreign affairs and out-of-the-ordinary situations; however it is his training at the hands of his two daughters that has been the most relentless and rigorous. Tom has a BA in Journalism and Creative Writing from Curtin University, Australia, and has previously worked as a production manager in the advertising industry. His world view is helped along by his practice of Nichiren Buddhism.
Policy and Advocacy Director
Andrew Whitley joined The Elders in January 2011. He worked for the previous 16 years with the United Nations in East Timor, Kosovo, Gaza, Jerusalem, Geneva and New York, concluding his UN career as Director of the Representative Office of UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, in the United States.
Earlier in his career Andrew worked as a foreign correspondent, with the BBC and the Financial Times, in the Middle East and Latin America. He was active in human rights, with Human Rights Watch, from 1990 – 1994 and had short spells as an academic, in Tehran and New York.
Andrew holds a Masters degree in history from St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge. He is a voracious reader of non-fiction, and loves nothing better than exploring new parts of the world he has yet to visit. He is married and has two children, both of whom are aspiring opera singers.
Prior to joining The Elders as Communications Director in December 2012, Jennifer was Head of Advocacy and Communications at the International Planned Parenthood Federation, a large NGO working in reproductive health and rights in 170 countries. She also worked for many years in policy development and communications for both the British and Canadian governments, focusing on reproductive technologies and stem cell research. Jennifer spent some time at the PR agency Burson-Marsteller working in its healthcare practice.
Having been involved in women’s health for over 15 years, Jennifer is excited about working directly on human rights issues at The Elders. She has a BA in political science and history from McGill University in Canada and an MSc in Public Policy and Public Administration from the London School of Economics. When she’s not commuting on trains from the Sussex coast, Jennifer enjoys hiking, cooking and avoiding all gardening activities.