He joined the British Council in 1983 and has had postings in Kano and Lagos, Nigeria; Burma; Chile; Germany and Bangladesh. Paul served as Director of the British Council in New Zealand and in West India, where he was based in Mumbai. From 2005 to 2010 he was Director of the British Council in Egypt and from 2010 to 2012, Director of the British Council in Afghanistan and Cultural Counsellor at the British Embassy in Kabul. In the UK he has held the posts of Deputy Director Drama and Dance (1987-1989) and Director Arts (1999-2000).
He was born in 1956 and educated at King Edward’s School Birmingham and Queens’ College Cambridge where he gained a double first in English. From 1978 to 1980 he lectured in English literature at St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi. He then pursued doctoral studies in Renaissance literature at Cambridge University and worked as an academic supervisor for Cambridge BA honors students. He was awarded the OBE in 1999.
Paul is married to Viveka Kumari, and they have three children. His interests include history, international cultural relations and all the arts, especially drama. He has directed plays, particularly Shakespeare, in various countries and has published numerous articles in academic texts.
Stephanie Blochinger Stephanie Blochinger, Education Communications Coordinator
Stephanie Blochinger is the Education Communications Coordinator at the British Council. In this role, she supports the British Council’s international higher education initiatives and events.
Prior to joining the British Council, Stephanie worked at the Institute of International Education with the International Visitor Leadership Program. She earned her B.S. in International Affairs at Georgia Tech and an M.S.Ed. in International Education Development from the University of Pennsylvania. While at Georgia Tech, she participated in a semester abroad program at the University of Leeds in the UK.
Alison Corbett, Education Business Manager
Alison Corbett is the Education Business Manager at the British Council. She joined the British Council in the USA in 1997 as part of the education team. Having worked most recently on schools’ projects and education policy, Alison now focuses on international higher education projects. The British Council supports UK universities in the USA through marketing advice, partnerships and policy dialogue.
Prior to moving to the States, Alison was the program director for the US-UK Educational Commission (Fulbright) in London. She holds an MA in French Language and Literature from the University of Glasgow, Scotland. Her passion for international education can be traced back to her JYA in France, along with a memorable summer working at a ballet camp in the Catskills, New York, as part of the British Universities North America Club (BUNAC).
Kathy Culpin Kathy Culpin, Events Manager and Senior Visits Officer
Kathy Culpin is the Events Manager for the British Council USA and is responsible for working across the office with all teams ensuring that the events the British Council commits to meet their objectives, reach the right audiences, bring together the relevant people and offer opportunities for developing partnerships.
Kathy was previously employed by the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria and also enjoyed working in Germany as a teaching assistant and Morocco as a camp counselor.
Alexandra Dimsdale Alexandra Dimsdale, Head of Press and Communications
Alexandra McRae Dimsdale joins the British Council from the Associated Press in Washington DC, where she edited US news stories for an international audience and managed the broadcast news assignment desk – essentially, working as an ‘air traffic controller’ for the newsroom. She has also worked as a freelance producer and newsdesk manager at the BBC bureau in Washington DC.
Before moving to the US in late 2010, Alex was a broadcast journalist at BBC World News Television, BBC On Demand (online video) and the BBC World Service based in London. She also worked as a freelance print journalist for the Independent, where she had a regular column in the Education and Careers section; the Guardian, the Economist, and various other newspapers. Alex did her undergraduate degree at Pembroke College, Oxford, and her master’s at University College London.
Aaron Fettgather Aaron Fettgather, Partnerships Project Manager
Aaron Fettgather joined the British Council after graduating from American University in Washington, DC. Prior to this he had worked as a two-semester intern for the education team, specifically focusing on policy issues in international higher education. Most recently, Aaron’s concentration has been in K-12 education policy and teacher professional development.
Aaron has been responsible for the visits and programming of over 1,700 UK teachers who visited the United States under a Teacher International Development Programme. The teachers undertook professional visits throughout the United States. These visits have required Aaron to manage innumerable logistics and he has developed numerous professional relationships with state and local education authorities.
Zoya Ionova, Finance and Resource Manager
Zoya Ionova is Finance and Resources Manager at the British Council, with more than four years of financial and project management experience. Prior to joining the British Council, she worked as the regional finance officer at the Center for International Private Enterprise, overseeing the financial operations at the company’s field offices. Before that Zoya analyzed corporate governance issues in Russia and Eastern European markets for RiskMetrics Group. Zoya received a grant from the Theodor-Heuss-Kolleg of Robert Bosch Foundation for the development of educational project in Uzbekistan, and has led a team in a collaborative business research project on sustainable energy development for Russia and China.
A native Russian, born and raised in Uzbekistan, Zoya holds a bachelor’s degree in international economic relations from the University of World Economy and Diplomacy in Uzbekistan. She earned her master’s degree in international economics from the University of Sussex and MBA degree in business management from Virginia International University. She successfully passed a CFA level I exam and is currently pursuing CMA certification.
Joey Kirk, Higher Education Marketing Coordinator
Joey Kirk works directly with UK higher education institutions interested in the US market.
He joins the British Council with previous experience in admissions and student recruitment from two US institutions: Dickinson College and Gwynedd-Mercy College. In those roles, he recruited regionally in the United States as well as abroad while implementing updated communications procedures.
Joey holds a bachelor of arts from Dickinson College and a Master of Arts in International Education with a focus on higher education from the George Washington University.
Janice Mulholland Janice Mulholland, Higher Education Manager
As Education Manager, Janice Mulholland is responsible for the strategic direction of the British Council’s education work in the United States. Prior to joining the British Council, Janice managed the education abroad public policy portfolio at NAFSA: Association of International Educators. From 2005 to 2012 she worked at NAFSA to promote national level policies to increase access to global educational opportunities for U.S. students. Her portfolio included the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Act, portability of federal financial aid for overseas study, funding for study abroad and foreign language learning, and the opening of academic travel regulations to Cuba. Janice also previously worked for the Commission on the Abraham Lincoln Study Abroad Fellowship Program.
Janice is the co-founder of ‘Young Professionals in International Education (yPIE),” a Washington DC based group supporting local young professionals in the field of international education. She has previously taught German at the K-5th grade level, taught English in Germany, and worked in international offices at universities both in the United States and Germany. Janice is a graduate of Valparaiso University, completed graduate coursework in International and Comparative Education at Indiana University, and was a Fulbright Scholar in Germany.
Tim Rivera, Project and Partnerships Officer
Tim Rivera is a Project and Partnerships Officer at the British Council. In this role, he coordinates all activities and events under the Our Shared Future project which aims to improve the transatlantic conversation on relations between Muslims and non-Muslims through the development and mobilization of a network of academics, experts, and journalists on both sides of the Atlantic. Tim also manages the British Council’s relationships and joint projects with EUNIC and European Union Cultural Departments in the United States. Previously, as Executive Assistant to the Director USA, he provided administrative, visit, and event support across the British Council’s American network of offices in Washington, New York, and Los Angeles. He has also assisted with two educational exchange projects, Rivers of the World and World Olympic Dreams, which link primary and secondary schools in the US and the UK.
He joined the British Council in July 2010, having graduated cum laude from Yale University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science focusing on international relations, including senior seminars on US-UK Relations and nationalism and identity. These seminars culminated in papers on British public diplomacy and Vladimir Putin’s nationalism.
Melissa Wear Melissa Wear, Project Assistant
As Project Assistant, Melissa Wear is responsible for operational and project work. She supports the delivery of financial accounting services, provides executive support to the Director USA, and provides HR and visit support. She also coordinates all activities and events under the Our Shared Future project, which aims to improve transatlantic dialogue on relations between Muslims and non-Muslims through the development of a network of academics, experts, and journalists across the Atlantic. Additionally, Melissa helps manage the British Council’s relationship with the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) in DC.
Melissa joined the British Council in June 2013 after having served nearly five years in the Department of State’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Office. Melissa is also a graduate of American University’s School of International Service with Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in International Affairs. Her specialty is European affairs, with a particular focus on the EU, European immigration, and comparative European politics. Her Master’s culminated in a thesis on immigration, xenophobia, and French national identity during François Hollande’s 2012 presidential campaign.
Rebecca Zylberman Rebecca Zylberman, Manager, Networks and Partnerships
As Manager, Networks and Partnerships at the British Council in Washington, DC, Rebecca has been working with the British Council since June of 2008, focusing primarily on the British Council’s Society work. She manages the Transatlantic Network 2020 (TN2020), a project designed to reinvigorate the transatlantic relationship by connecting the next generation of leaders on both sides of the Atlantic. In addition to TN2020, Rebecca also works on the wider British Council partnership strategy, which involves working with US based organizations around shared agendas internationally.
A graduate of American University’s School of International Service, Rebecca came to British Council from the US Association of Former Members of Congress, where she managed the Association’s Congress to Campus Program and international election monitoring work.
Diana Price Dianne Price, Education Projects Coordinator
Dianne Price is the Education Projects Coordinator and is responsible for the implementation and support of the British Council’s international higher education initiatives. Prior to joining the British Council, she managed a portfolio of countries within the South and Central Asia branch of the Fulbright Scholar Program at the Institute of International Education (IIE).
Before her time with IIE, Dianne served as a program officer at the Academy for Educational Development, where she implemented professional exchange programs for the US Department of State including the International Visitor Leadership Program and Sports, Culture and Youth Exchange Program. She also managed the National Endowment for the Humanities sponsored Landmarks of America Teacher Exchange Program. Dianne is a graduate of the College of Charleston with degrees in German and International Business. She studied abroad at Eberhard-Karls Universität in Tübingen, Germany and also received a fellowship from CDS International to participate in the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals Program.
Emmanuel Kattan Emmanuel Kattan, Director New York
Now the director of the British Council’s New York office, Emmanuel Kattan previously led Our Shared Future, a Carnegie-funded British Council initiative aimed at improving the public conversation on Muslim-West relations in the US and Europe by providing hard facts and evidence-based arguments developed by a broad range of scholars and opinion leaders. Prior to joining the British Council, Emmanuel was Head of Communications at the UN Alliance of Civilizations and led the team which developed the Rapid Response Media Mechanism, an online tool connecting journalists with a wide network of experts on intercultural issues.
Emmanuel was previously in charge of communications and speechwriting in the office of the Commonwealth Secretary-General in London, UK. He ran media campaigns promoting cultural diversity in the UK and abroad. He has also worked at the Quebec Delegation in London, where he managed academic relations and student exchange programs. Emmanuel is a graduate of Balliol College, Oxford where he studied politics and philosophy as a Rhodes Scholar. He is the author of two books: an essay on the politics of memory and a novel.
Rachelle Boyer Rachelle Boyer, Programs Coordinator
Rachelle Boyer works with the New York team to help plan and execute different projects and events. Originally from South Carolina, Rachelle joined the British Council in December 2012, having graduated cum laude from Furman University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Political Science. While attending Furman, Rachelle had the opportunity to study abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland, where she interned for the Scottish Parliament. During her time there, she gained experience in UK politics, policies and culture and furthered her love for all things UK. Rachelle also joins the British Council with admissions experience having worked for two years in her university’s admission office.
Malsert Chapman, Head of Programs
Malsert Chapman is the Head of Programs at the British Council New York. She joined the British Council in 2010. Having previously worked for a Manhattan consulting firm specializing in arts and culture and museum development, she now develops and delivers programs in the arts, education, and cultural relations in the New York region for the British Council.
Malsert graduated from Boston University in 2003 with a degree in Mass Communication. After graduation she relocated to Miami, where she worked in public relations for a Fortune 1000 online-retailer before transitioning into project management for an award-winning global advertising agency. Malsert’s interest in global affairs led her to pursue a master’s degree in international relations. She graduated from the University of Nottingham in 2007 and fondly remembers her time in the UK. In her spare time, Malsert volunteers with various charities to support the New York City community.
J.J. El-Far J.J. El-Far, Arts Program Coordinator
J.J. El-Far joined the British Council in October 2012 as an arts intern and became Arts Program Coordinator in April 2013. In her spare time, she is the Founding Creative Director of the multi-disciplinary Harlem Arts Festival. Prior to joining the British Council, J.J. founded Hybrid Theatre Works, an international collective of theater artists engaging in cultural diplomacy through artist exchange and innovative theatrical events. She is a Core Team member of Theatre Without Borders and contributing theater critic for UptownFlavor.com.
J.J. specializes in international artist exchange programming, non-traditional space usage, audience development, creative marketing and organizational development. She has worked as a producer and interdisciplinary artist with La Mama, The Castillo Theatre, Ted X Harlem, LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, the NY Arab American Comedy Fest, Berkshire Theatre Festival and the Jerash Festival of Arts and Culture (Amman, Jordan). She has presented at the ReOrient Festival and Forum at Golden Thread Productions, the Conference on Cultural Diplomacy and Global Performance at Georgetown University and Arts in the One World at Brown University. She was named one of Theatre Communications Group’s Young Leaders of Color. She holds a BA from Brandeis University in Theater Arts and International Global Studies.
Salette Gressett, Arts Manager
Salette Gressett joined British Council in May 2012. She is a transatlantic arts manager with expertise in contemporary performance, live art, interdisciplinary and socially-engaged practices in the US, UK and EU.
For over 10 years she held a unique position at national funding agency Arts Council England and worked across the departments of Visual Arts, Theatre, Dance and Combined Arts to support leading artists and curators creating work beyond conventional artform boundaries including live installation, creative re-enactment, site-specific, immersive theatre, arts activism and evolving performative practices.
Prior to the Arts Council, Salette managed international touring for Momentary Fusion, the first aerial dance theatre portfolio company of the British Council. She previously worked in arts funding programs in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and in several artist-led venues including Theatre Artaud in San Francisco and Highways Performance Space where she began her career working with the founders in the formative years of this influential venue.
Tamsin Thomas Tamsin Thomas, SIEM Regional Business Coordinator
Tamsin Thomas comes to the British Council from the International Development Centre at the University of Gloucestershire (UK) where she served as an International Officer from 2009, developing their work in North America, South Asia, and West Africa. Prior to this, Tamsin worked as an International Officer for the University of Hertfordshire (UK). Tamsin completed her Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Keele University as well as a Master of Arts in European Studies from the University of Birmingham. In her spare time she enjoys travelling, reading and walking.
Simon Gammell Simon Gammell, Director, West Coast
Simon Gammell is Director, Arts and West Coast, based in Los Angeles. A 25-year veteran of the British Council, he began his career in professional theatre, working primarily as a director, and now leads the US arts team.
Simon’s role focuses on opening international partnership opportunities for the British Council with the many corporations, foundations and institutions based in California. Before taking up his role in LA, he worked in Rome, Buenos Aires, London, Sydney, and Mumbai.
Sophie Nazerian Sophie Nazerian, Programs Coordinator
As Programs Coordinator, Sophie Nazerian supports the development and implementation of West Coast based projects and programs, while also maintaining local partnerships and relationships. Born a native “Angelino” (Los Angeles resident), and acquiring her BA in history from the University of California, Los Angeles, she is well-versed in the various cultural and social dimensions of the city and region. In her prior work and research Sophie was deeply involved in the spheres of public education, diversity, and social justice.
Open the original version of this page.