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Learn all about our people! We have an elected Board who oversee the governance of the organization, as well as four staff members and voluntary representatives.


The Board

The Board is responsible for managing IHEU in accordance with the Bylaws, the Internal Rules and the policies and directives of the General Assembly. The Board members are nominated by IHEU Member Organizations and are elected by the General Assembly, and are Directors and Trustees of the IHEU.

The Board has a directly-elected President, a Vice-President, and a Treasurer. The term of office of Board members is normally three years. All Member Organizations may nominate individuals to positions on the Board and candidates must be a member of an IHEU Member Organization, or an Individual Supporter of IHEU.

The IHEU Board elected in August 2018

Members of the Board as of the General Assembly 2018 are:

Andrew Copson (UK), President
Andrew joined the IHEU Board in 2010 and has been serving as President since 2015. He has been Chief Executive of the British Humanist Association since January 2010, following five years coordinating the BHA’s work in education and public affairs. Andrew writes, talks and campaigns on Humanism and humanist topics extensively. He is a former director of the European Humanist Federation (EHF) and former head of the IHEU delegation to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. Andrew studied Classics and Ancient and Modern History at the University of Oxford.
Anne-France Ketelaer (Belgium), Vice-president
Anne-France is Chief Executive of deMens.nu (the Flemish Belgian Humanist Organization) and vice-president of IHEU. She studied Law at the Free University of Brussels (the Humanist University of Belgium) and started her career as a teacher in non-confessional humanist education. In 1989 she became a Legal Advisor for deMens.nu and in 1998 she was appointed as Vice-Chief Executive. In June 2016 she was promoted to Chief Executive of deMens.nu. Her goal is to reinforce humanism and its importance on a regional, national and international level.
Boris van der Ham (Netherlands), Treasurer
Boris van der Ham is a former Member of of the Dutch Parliament, as well as a writer, actor, and humanist. He was elected to the Dutch House of Representatives for the social liberal Democrats party in May 2002, and since November 2012 has been the chairman of the Dutch Humanist Association, Humanistisch Verbond, where his focus has been on freedom of speech, education, and fostering international solidarity with atheists and humanists, in particular through the project Among Non-believers. He has blogged and vlogged on humanism, and featured in documentaries on the subject of humanists facing persecution, in particular in the Islamic world. In 2018 he published the book Nieuwe Vrijdenkers (New Freethinkers).
Rebecca Hale (USA), Board member
Rebecca (Becky) Hale is the President of the American Humanist Association. She has served on the AHA board since 2004, as secretary, vice president and currently as president since 2013. Rebecca is co founder of EvolveFISH.com, a web based mail order business that she and her husband, Gary Betchan, developed to support humanism, progressive values and the separation of church and state. They sold the business in 2015. In 1993 they started the Freethinkers of Colorado Springs, CO. She holds a Masters of Public Administration and undergraduate degrees in cultural anthropology and environmental studies. She was raised humanist. Becky’s focus remains on activism within the humanist and progressive communities
Gulalai Ismail (Pakistan), Board member
 Gulalai Ismail is chairperson of Aware Girls and the Seeds of Peace network. She speaks on the subject of promoting peace in Pakistan and women’s empowerment at conferences internationally and is the recipient of the International Humanist of the Year Award from the International Humanist and Ethical Union, and of the Fondation Chirac Peace Prize.
Kristin Mile (Norway), Board member
Kristin Mile is a jurist and civil servant. She worked for the Directorate of the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority and the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration before being hired by the Norwegian Gender Equality Ombud in 1995. She headed this organization from 2000 to 2005, and in 2006 was appointed secretary-general of the Norwegian Humanist Association, Human-Etisk Forbund.
Kato Mukasa (Uganda), Board Member
Kato Mukasa trained as an entrepreneurship Economist and Lawyer. He is the founding Chairperson of the Humanists Association for Leadership, Equity and Accountability ( HALEA) started in 2008, past Chair of the African Working Group of IHEYO and currently the Chair of the Uganda Humanists Association (UHASSO), Director Legal Services and Humanists Ceremonies at HALEA and Director at Pearl Vocational Training College where he trains students in Humanists studies that include Critical Thinking, Humanism and an Introduction to Humanists Ceremonies.
Uttam Niraula (Nepal), Board Member
Mr. Uttam Niraula (32) is a founder of Society for Humanism (SOCH) Nepal. Executive Director of SOCH Nepal. He has formed an alliance against improper customary practices in 31 districts of Nepal. He also runs a Humanist High school in Nepal with about 600 students. He is a journalist and small businessman too. He served IHEYO (International Humanist and Ethical Youth Organization) as a vice president and communication officer in the past.
David Pineda (Guatemala), Board member
Founder and president of Humanistas Guatemala, formerly know as Asociación Guatemalteca de Humanistas Seculares (AGHS), he is an engineer and entrepreneur. David started questioning his catholic upbringing since his early teen years, and finally gave up all supernatural beliefs at age 19 while studying science subjects in college. In 2012 he started working with a small group to eventually found Guatemala Humanists. He loves nature, reading and snakes. He believes in human solidarity and the exchange of ideas. He works to make a positive change in the world.

Staff

We have an office staff, representatives at international bodies, as well as occasional volunteers. Staff can be reached via our Contact page.

Staff

Gary McLelland – Chief Executive

Gary joined IHEU in February 2017. Before this he worked for the Humanist Society Scotland since 2013 as Head of Communications and Public Affairs. He has also previously served as a Board member of the European Humanist Federation based in Brussels, as well as a board member of the Scottish Joint Committee on Religious and Moral Education.

Before working in Humanist campaigning, Gary worked for a global citizenship project at the Mercy Corps European headquarters in Edinburgh, and also in policy and service delivery in education and social work.

He has a BSc (hons) in psychology, a diploma in childhood and youth studies and master’s in human rights law, in which he researched the approach of the European Court of Human Rights and the United Nations’ approach to so-called ‘blasphemy laws’.

Bob Churchill – Director of Communications and Campaigns

As well as managing our communications strategy and online presence, Bob coordinates campaigns including IHEU’s contribution to the End Blasphemy Laws campaign, and serves as editor of the IHEU Freedom of Thought Report, which monitors the rights, legal status and discrimination against non religious people around the world.

Prior to joining the staff of the IHEU, Bob worked for three and a half years with the British Humanist Association as Head of Membership and Promotion and volunteered for a year with the Uganda Humanist Association.

Bob is a trustee of the Conway Hall Ethical Society and the Karen Woo Foundation. He holds a BA (hons) in Philosophy from the University of Warwick and serves on the boards of two UK charities.

Elizabeth O’Casey – Director of Advocacy

Elizabeth started as director of advocacy in January 2016, after two years heading the IHEU’s delegation to the UN in Geneva. She focuses her work on freedom of religion or belief, freedom of expression, LGBT rights and the rights of women, particularly in relation to religious, traditional and cultural practices.

Elizabeth manages IHEU advocacy work at a number of institutions, including at the UN in Geneva, New York and Paris, the Council of Europe, the OSCE and Africa Commission on Human and Peoples Rights. She is also a Vice Chair of the UN NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief (in Geneva), an International Patron for the Pink Triangle Trust and an International Advisor at the Raif Badawi Foundation.

Elizabeth has a PhD in International Political Theory from the London School of Economics, where she was a Michael Leifer Scholar. She has spent time as a Global Justice fellow at Yale University, worked in various policy and advocacy positions in the UK and EU, and has also worked as a consultant on sexual and reproductive health and rights. She is based in Brussels.

Giovanni Gaetani – Growth and Development Officer

Giovanni joined IHEU in January 2017. His main task is to reach new individual contacts and humanist organizations in those areas of the world where IHEU is underrepresented, to create media and membership resources, and to work for the development of existing Member Organizations worldwide.

In April 2016 Giovanni obtained a PhD in Philosophy from Rome “Tor Vergata” University with a thesis entitled “If you want to be a philosopher, write novels. The philosophy of Albert Camus”. He has published more than thirty academic papers in English, French, and Italian mainly on the philosophy of Camus and Nietzsche. He has published also many articles on secularism, liberalism, and pluralism in different international revues and blogs.

Before joining the IHEU, Giovanni worked as a volunteer for the Italian Union of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics (UAAR). In 2013 he won the UAAR best thesis prize with his work on “Nihilism and Responsibility at the age of God’s death in Nietzsche and Camus”. In 2017 he published a book on “Atheism and Philosophy without Gibberish” for the Italian publisher “Nessun Dogma”.


Representatives

United Nations Human Rights Council, Geneva Delegation

  • Elizabeth O’Casey — Head of Delegation
  • Kacem El Ghazzali

United Nations, New York Delegation

  • Margaretha Jones
  • Sylvain Ehrenfeld
  • John Wagner

Council of Europe

  • Renate Bauer
  • Michel Grosmann
  • Françoise Olivier-Utard
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