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Stephen Twigg

Stephen Twigg

Stephen was appointed as the 8th Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and took up this position from 1 August 2020.

Stephen Twigg is a former UK Parliamentarian, who was previously elected to the Parliament of the United Kingdom as a Member of Parliament from 1997 to 2005 (Enfield Southgate) and from 2010 to 2019 (Liverpool West Derby). During his parliamentary career, he held several senior positions including Chairperson of the International Development Select Committee, Minister for Schools and a range of Shadow Front Bench roles.

Before entering Parliament, he was elected as a Local Councillor in the London Borough of Islington. Following the 2019 General Election when he stepped down from Parliament, Stephen Twigg was instrumental in setting up the International Parliamentary Network for Education and was actively involved in parliamentary strengthening with both Global Partners Governance and the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD).


Dr Neil Kemp MBE, OBE

Dr Neil Kemp MBE, OBE

Neil’s research and consultancy interests relate to the internationalisation of education, transnational education, international student mobility and, more broadly the economics of education. He has worked and lived overseas for over 20 years, including as a British Council country director; countries include India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Kenya and Pakistan.

For the British Council, Neil was also director for international development projects, Director, Science and Technology Division and Director Education UK. He is currently Board Member for the Hornby Education Trust and other previous responsibilities include: Visiting Fellow, Institute of Education, University College London; board member, Open University Worldwide; board member, Institute for Development Studies, University of Sussex; visiting lecturer for MA in International Higher Education Management, Edge Hill University, UK.  

Neil commenced employment as an apprentice in industry and, after a physical sciences degree, completed a PhD in electron spectroscopy at Swansea University. After working in India and Indonesia he developed an interest in the economics of education, labour markets and education planning and enrolled as a research associate at the Institute of Education (UCL).


Rita Odumosu

Rita Odumosu BEd, MA, MSc

Rita is a seasoned educationist with global experience in education leadership, management, and policy and a reputation for high-quality project work, consultancy, and innovative work.

Rita attained graduate and post-graduate qualifications from The University of Birmingham and London University Institute of Education and has worked as a senior advisor, education consultant and serves as Governor to different education authorities within the UK and abroad.  Rita is involved in school improvement and consultancy, including serving as Trustees of UK charity offering support to Commonwealth girls - Commonwealth Girls Education Fund (CGEF) and providing advocacy and strategic direction in the Council for Education in the Commonwealth (CEC).  Sponsoring and meeting the education needs of girls within Commonwealth countries has involved extensive planning, fundraising, and diligent monitoring of progress and attainment for several years in over 35 countries. Both the CGEF and CEC Trustees have celebrated post 50 years of commendable service to the Commonwealth and its peoples.

Rita is Director of a Training & Consultancy limited company and currently holds a brief including leading and managing teachers’ training and consultancy to schools and education boards in India, Africa, and the Caribbean.


Anja Nielsen

Anja Nielsen

Anja has worked in international education advocacy and programmes for over five years. She has experience across a number of organisations, including The Royal Commonwealth Society where she managed The Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition.

Anja is currently the Senior Policy Adviser for Education and Youth at the UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK), leading the organisation's domestic and international education policy advocacy. In addition to the right to education, Anja is also passionate about sustainable and ethical fashion.


Dr Sue Dale Tunnicliffe (The Lady Tunnicliffe)

Dr Sue Dale Tunnicliffe (The Lady Tunnicliffe)

An expert on children learning about animals, plants, and early years STEM, and ‘voice’ of learners of all ages. Dr Tunnicliffe has published widely. She graduated in zoology from Westfield College, University of London, and has specialised in education, a qualified teacher, she has taught at all ages from the early years to university and been an OFSTED inspector.

She holds a PhD from King’s College, London, and is Reader in Science Education at UCL IOE. She set up and ran an advisory team in primary science and design and technology for an Education Authority, was Head of Education at the Zoological Society of London, and worked part-time as a cultural museum science adviser and education officer at the BBC. She has taught at Cambridge and Winchester Universities. She supervises PhD, D Ed, and Masters degree students. She received the NSTA’s Faraday Award for Science Communication (USA) in 2016, the first foreigner,and The Rajiv Ghandi Scince Centre, Mauritius award for services to science education. She fervently believes in the role of natural history dioramas as essential tools in developing particularly biological capital as well as the importance in learning of listening to the learner.


Kat Thorne

Kat Thorne

Executive Director, The Commonwealth Education Trust

Kat has extensive experience in the management of international educational projects, ranging from single schools to large districts, gained through seven years working in a range of senior, global roles at a fast-paced educational tech company. She has led a range of teams - from a small group of 15 in her role as UK Director, to entire international teams in her role as Global Commercial Manager. As a qualified teacher and with her passion for meaningful educational technology , she is now leading The Commonwealth Education Trust as Chief Executive Officer with its’ recently launched digital professional programme for teachers, Teach2030. 


Dr Joanna Newman MBE, FRSA

Dr Joanna Newman MBE FRSA

Joanna is Chief Executive and Secretary-General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) – an international organisation dedicated to building a better world through higher education, with more than 500 member universities in over 50 countries.

Joanna’s career has been in the service of British and international higher education. Before joining the ACU, she was Vice-Principal (International) at King’s College London; Director of the UK Higher Education International Unit (now known as Universities UK International); and Head of Higher Education at the British Library. She is a Senior Research Fellow in History at King’s College London. Her most recent publication is Nearly the New World: The British West Indies and the Flight from Nazism, 1933-1945. In 2014, Joanna was awarded an MBE in recognition of her work promoting British higher education internationally.


Chris Chang

Chris Chang

Pro Vice-Chancellor - Global Engagement, Portsmouth University

Chris Chang has wide Commonwealth knowledge and experience, particularly with international students and this is of interest to the Board as it would like to expand its remit and membership to Commonwealth students.

Chris is responsible for providing strategic leadership in the development and implementation of an ambitious Global Engagement strategy for the University; for extending its global partnerships and reach; and in making the university’s high-quality brand of education even more accessible worldwide. A colleague said of him, “Chris has a wealth of experience delivering international activity in the higher education sector, which makes him an excellent addition to the senior management team at the university”. “With students from over 130 countries, we already benefit from a strong international culture.”

Before joining the University in September 2016, Chris was Pro Vice-Chancellor Corporate Marketing, International and Development Services at Anglia Ruskin University. He has over 20 years’ experience in the higher education sector and a background as a lawyer. He qualified as a Barrister in 1986 and began his career working as an advocate and solicitor at the High Court of Malaya, advising large corporate clients.


Sonny Leong CBE

Sonny Leong CBE

Sonny is Chair of the Council for Education in the Commonwealth, a parliament based NGO, founded nearly 50 years ago, at the time of the first Commonwealth Education Ministers' Conference.

He is the Chief Executive of Civil Service College, responsible for the strategic development of the College, building business relationships with international governmental clients, donor agencies and their contractors, and Executive Chairman of Academy for Parliamentary & Policy Studies.

He was Deputy Chair of Future First, a social enterprise company, whose vision is that every state secondary school and college should be supported by a thriving, engaged alumni community that helps each one to do more for its students.

He has over 35 years of training, education and publishing experience, having worked in various academic and professional publishing houses. He founded Cavendish Publishing and developed it to be the largest independent academic law publisher in the UK before it was acquired by Informa PLC.

He was formerly the Chairman and Hon President of the Independent Publishers Guild, former Chair of International Division and Council member of the Publishers Association in the UK.

He was awarded the Commander of the British Empire (CBE) by HM The Queen in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2014. His was granted his Coat of Arms in 2014.


Alastair Niven LVO OBE

Alastair Niven LVO OBE

Alastair was Principal of Cumberland Lodge 2001-2013.  He held the unique double of being Director of Literature at the Arts Council of Great Britain (later Arts Council England) for 10 years and Director of Literature at the British Council for four. He was President of English PEN from 2003 to 2007.

He was Director General of The Africa Centre from 1978 to 1984. He has been an academic, with positions at the Universities of Ghana (where he had been a Commonwealth Scholar), Leeds and Stirling.

He is now a Fellow of Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford.  He has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Aarhus in Denmark and has held honorary positions at the Universities of Exeter, Warwick and London.

He is the author of four books and over fifty articles on aspects of Commonwealth and post-colonial literature, and has also written extensively about the welfare of overseas students. A judge of the Booker Prize for Fiction in 1994 and of the Man Booker Prize in 2014, he was also for Chairman of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize.