Sign in with:

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.

Nayan Patel

Nayan Patel is Risk Management specialist with over thirty-five years of experience in International Banking. He has held senior leadership positions in the financial services industry and serves as an advisor to a number of charities and organizations in the public and private sectors.

He also serves as an Advisor to Rotary India Literacy Mission and as a Special Representative for Rotary International and its charity arm The Rotary Foundation. Nayan’s method of outreach on humanitarian efforts globally is through direct engagement with wider civic society.

Born and brought up in Kenya, Nayan completed his higher education in the UK at Trinity College in London and Manchester Business School specialising in International Banking.

In his personal life Nayan has travelled extensively and acquired deep first-hand experience of the Middle East and African economies.

A committed social entrepreneur, Nayan has expertise in building strategic links between organizations and brings with him a wealth of leadership experience to the CEC Board.

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.

Helen Jones MBE

Helen Jones MBE is Director of Youth and Education Programmes for the Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council (CYEC) and Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS), previously Deputy CEO, CYEC with responsibility for programme development.

Helen brings a deep understanding of the Commonwealth, practical knowledge and extensive networks, having started her Commonwealth career with the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), working in the CSFP scholarships department.

She has over 25 years’ experience of youth work and non-formal education, and extensive experience of development management with a particular emphasis on young people and development.

Helen is Director of the Commonwealth Teacher Exchange Programme (CTEP), a one-year professional post-to-post interchange programme recognized by the UK government. She set up and is a Director of Xchange Partners, CYEC's consultancy wing.
In 2012 she served as an adviser on the Commonwealth Foundation's Transition Working Group, linked to its new strategic plan.

Helen was awarded an MBE for services to youth development in the Commonwealth in the Queen's Birthday Honours 2013.

Alastair Niven LVO OBE

Alastair Niven LVO OBE 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.

Richard Evans

Richard Evans’ career spans the private, public and charity sectors, holding senior executive positions.

Richard is a Director of a leading City headhunting consultancy, Marylebone Executive Search, focusing on the corporate, education and charity sectors. He serves on the boards of the Ramphal Institute, Campaign for Learning and Council for Education in the Commonwealth where he is a lifetime member. He is a member of the English Speaking Union, Irish Literary Society, Institute of Directors, Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Educators.

Richard’s career began in the charity sector after university, with Voluntary Service Overseas in Southern Thailand. On his return he taught politics and history. Actively interested in politics overseas, he was an observer in the transition to Spanish democracy and a journalist reporting on US presidential politics. He was a parliamentary candidate in two UK General Elections. After several years in senior management in education, Richard became Development Director for the HIV/AIDS charity ACET International.

Richard is regularly invited to speak and write on the relationship between business, politics and charity, the different approaches to corporate governance and the changing nature of philanthropy.

Dr Neil Kemp OBE


Neil is a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Education, University of London and also manages his own international consultancy company, with specialist interest in international education. He has contributed to a wide range of education and training projects in over 20 countries and has lived and worked in Asia for 20 years, including eight years each in Indonesia and India.

Currently he is a board member of the Council for Education in the Commonwealth, the UK Open University Worldwide and the London School of Commerce. He was recently professional adviser to the UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) and was a board member at the Institute for Development Studies, University of Sussex.

He has considerable experience in project management having been responsible for managing and providing consultancy advice on projects for the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, UK-DFID and the EU.

Neil's main interests outside education include coaching athletics, cycling, jazz and blues.  He was awarded an MBE in 1979 and OBE in 1989.

Mark Robinson

Mark Robinson is presently the UK Chairman of the Commonwealth Consortium for Education (CCfE). He has recently become Chairman of the Commonwealth Organisations' Committee on Zimbabwe.

He spent six years at the United Nations (1972–77), and was Assistant Director in the Office of the Commonwealth Secretary-General (1977–83).

He became MP for Newport West 1983 and in 1992 for Somerton and Frome. He was Member of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee and Parliamentary Private Secretary first to the Minister for Overseas Development, Baroness Chalker, and then to the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary, Lord Hurd. He served as Her Majesty’s Under Secretary of State for Wales (1983–85).

He was a Member of the Board of the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) 1988-92; Executive Director of the Commonwealth Press Union 1997-2002; Executive Chairman of the Council for Education in the Commonwealth (CEC) 1999-2005; and From 1987-1995 he was a Director of Leopold Joseph, the Merchant Bank.

He is also a Council Member of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, Hon. Treasurer of the Commonwealth Round Table: the Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs, and a Trustee of Concordia (YSV) Ltd., amongst other charities.

Dr Mary Stiasny OBE

Dr Mary Stiasny is Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) and Chief Executive of the International Programmes.

She was previously at the Institute of Education, where Dr Stiasny was Pro-Director with responsibility for Learning Teaching and International. Working life for Dr Stiasny began as a secondary school teacher.

She then joined Goldsmiths College, where she worked in initial teacher education, becoming Director of PGCE and Deputy Head of the Department of Educational Studies.

This was followed by a move to Oxford Brookes University as Deputy Head of the School of Education, then to the University of Greenwich as Head of the School of Education and Training, followed by four years at the British Council as Director of Education and Training before joining the Institute of Education in 2007.

In her current role as Pro Vice-Chancellor, Dr Stiasny provides academic leadership for more than 50,000 students in 180 countries studying for a University of London award, the world's oldest and leading  provider of distance and flexible learning.

Alex Wright

Alex Wright is an independent consultant specialising in international education policy and advocacy with a deep grounding in Commonwealth Affairs.

Alex worked for the Commonwealth Secretariat’s education section from 2005-2010 and has undertaken consultancies for the Commonwealth Secretariat, Commonwealth Foundation and the Association of Commonwealth Universities. He has been involved in the planning and delivery of several high level intergovernmental conferences including four Conferences of Commonwealth Education Ministers and one Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and has represented the Commonwealth Secretariat and other organisations in international policy networks and processes.

From 2010 to 2013 Alex served as Executive Director (England & Wales) of Link Community Development, a group of NGOs working to improve the quality of education delivery in 5 African countries and also as Interim Director of Link Community Development Uganda (2012-13).

Since becoming an independent consultant in 2013 Alex’s assignments have included advocacy around UN Sustainable Development Goal process on behalf of the Open Society Foundations, as well as work with the Commonwealth Secretariat and Association of Commonwealth Universities.

Alex holds a Masters’ in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies and is a qualified project manager. He joined the Council for Education in the Commonwealth as a member of the management committee in 2013 and became a trustee in 2016.