Our Governance

In 2001, IARS was informally established by Dr. Theo Gavrielides as a community interest group. On 31 January 2005, IARS was incorporated as a non-profit company limited by guarantee. It was established under a Memorandum of Association, which defined the objects and powers of the company, and is governed under its Articles of Association. IARS was set up as a user-led and user-focused membership organisation and it remains as such.

On 19 June 2008, IARS was registered with the Charity Commission of England and Wales.

IARS have been awarded the Youth Mark, indicating that all our policies and procedures and the structures we have put in place take into consideration the needs and realities of all young people.

Finally, as an Institute we are an EU-wide recognised accrediting body including the issuing of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Accreditation and YouthPass.

Legal and HR structure

The company has a non-executive committee, known as the Board of Trustees, of at least two individuals. The Board of Trustees meets quarterly to make decisions and receive the report of the Executive Director who is managed by the collective Body of the Board. In addition the Youth Advisory Board, will be represented by one of its members on the IARS Board of Trustees.

Meet our trustees

Dr. Theo Gavrielides
Founder & Strategic Leader

He is an international expert in human rights, criminal and restorative justice including victims’ rights. He acts as an advisor to the Council of Europe, UN, EC and a number of governments. Dr. Gavrielides is also an Adjunct Professor at Simon Fraser University, a Visiting Professor at Buckinghamshire New University and the Founder and Director of Restorative Justice for All (RJ4All). Previously, Professor Gavrielides was the CEO of Race on the Agenda. He also worked at the Ministry of Justice as the Human Rights Advisor of the Strategy Directorate. He holds a PhD in law, a Masters in Human Rights and an LLB. He is a human rights lawyer and the author of many books and peer review articles.

Emily Poyser

Emily is a communications expert and has spent much of her career working in international development. She is now based in London following many years working overseas, including in Afghanistan and Tunisia. She currently works for the UK Cabinet Office overseeing communications projects. Prior to that she held media roles at UNICEF UK, the UK Prime Minister's Office, and the UK's Department for International Development.


Rossana Rocchini

Rossana is a Global Chartered Management Accountant with 20+ years-experience working in Fortune 100 corporations.  In 2019, she left Coca-Cola after working there for 16 years in various finance capacities and in various countries around the world.  At the same time she moved to London and decided to dedicate part of her time to giving back to a world that had given her so much.  Rossana enjoys traveling around the world with her husband, exercising, is an avid reader and a self-described “podcast junkie”. 


Simon Goldhill

He is the Founder and Director of Strategy at Metamorph Group Limited, set up to acquire existing high street law firms and transform the delivery of consumer legal services in England & Wales. His has been a practicing solicitor for over 20 years and and is highly experienced in strategic business. In addition, he has over 15 years of board level experience in educational charities.

Vanessa Bianchi

Vanessa has 15 years of experience in programme management at the international level, having worked with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, the European Commission in Brussels, and Save the Children in London, driving social impact, business development and shaping iNGO-private sector partnerships. Passionate about sustainability and about making a difference, she currently supports the transition to Net Zero at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. 


Laura Rofe
Trustee for the Women’s Advisory Board

Laura  is Australian and has been living in London for over 8 years now. Over the course of her career she has worked in the financial services sector, an industry that is known to be very male dominated. From here her passion for diversity and female empowerment grew and so did her involvement in supporting this cause. Over the years she has been involved with many charities as well as mentoring programmes supporting young people with a focus on women. More recently she launched an internal mentoring programme at her company to support women and help improve gender diversity within the company. 

Richard Elliot

Richard has lived in South London for the last 20 years. He is delighted to join the Board having just retired from the University of London where he led on Strategy, Planning, Performance and Risk. He brings extensive experience in these areas from a successful career in public sector management and consultancy with the Local Government Association, Local Authorities and the Audit Commission. At the University he was also involved in developing new partnership arrangements between academic institutions in London, Paris and the United States. He has a Masters in International Relations from Sussex University, is a passionate believer in international co-operation particularly at the civil society level and is active in pro-european movements.

Ruby Halabi

The Executive Director is responsible for the operational side of the company, and line manages IARS’ staff team who manage interns and volunteers. Project associates work independently and remotely most of the time and are also line managed by the Executive Director. They are encouraged to involve interns with specific interest in their projects and to consult with the advisory groups as appropriate.

Claire Bonham
Executive Director

The user engagement model

Since its inception, IARS has been a user-focused organisation, and we have always involved our users in the design, development, delivery, monitoring and quality control of our projects and services.
The User Engagement Groups will carry out regular checks to ensure that the systems we have in place are appropriate and up to date (e.g. recruitment, engagement and retention).
To ensure that all its services are user-led, IARS has adopted evaluation and monitoring systems that user-proof each stage of delivery including outcomes.

The user engagement model includes, but is not be limited to, the following advisory groups:

IARS began as a pan European networking and idea sharing platform for young people. IARS is committed to empowering young people to influence policy and practice. It is for this reason that IARS regards the role of young people within the organisation as crucial. 

To accommodate this ideology, IARS has created an independent body of young people who will take on responsibility for evaluating and steering the work of the organisation.  The YAB consists of young people from different backgrounds and circumstances who are aware of the problems facing young people in today’s society and who are interested in an opportunity to do something positive about these issues.   

Their tasks  include  inspecting IARS services and policies; monitoring the quality of its youth projects; carrying out research and responding to youth consultations; advising on specific youth projects; reviewing and updating the volunteer and user engagement policies, the Equal Opportunities policies and any other IARS policy impacting on its young users.

They also receive free training on digital skills and other areas according to their interest. The YAB has proved to be an excellent opportunity for young people to get their voices heard and to address issues that are important for them. One example of this is the launch of the 99% campaign aiming to make society more inclusive responsive to young people’s views and realities. 

IARS supports the 99% Campaign and all YAB activities by financing the dissemination activities, providing office resources, working with the media and by holding events. The 99% Campaign uses a dedicated website, social media channels and a printed magazine to promote positive stories and dispel negative stereotypes. 

The YAB will consist of no more than 20 members with a quorum of 3 members who will meet, at a minimum every three months. Most decisions are made by consensus.  There is a steering committee who coordinate the activities and act as chief editors of the 99% publications. 

Meet our current steering committee 
Joshua Eden
Ekerette Ewang Sampson
Agnes Miseta
Ned Staniland
Madalina Merlusca
Annika Heinrich

One of the key principles of the WAB is to scrutinise the social impact of our projects from a gender perspective, ensuring that all outcomes are of high quality and responsive to the specific needs of its target groups. Also by participating in these activities we hope that members of the group will be further empowered themselves to speak out on issues that matter to them and will improve their communications skills to do so in a professional environment.  

Their tasks will include, but not be limited to, inspecting IARS services and policies; monitoring the quality of its gender-focused projects; proposing and championing new gender-focused project ideas; reviewing and inform IARS research and funding applications; reviewing and updating the user engagement policies, the Equal Opportunities policies and any other relevant IARS policies.

The steering committee consists of 5 women from diverse backgrounds to reflect the wide variety of women’s perspectives. For specific projects an ad-hoc group will be created to    advocate for the rights or refugee and asylum seeking women or women who have been victims of abuse. 

Meet our current steering committee
Olivia Willers
Amanda Blackhurst
Madalina Merlusca
Ama Yarboi
Anna Pierce

The IARS International Institute is committed to high research ethical standards and to producing only high quality publications that conform to internationally accepted research rules. Therefore, the IARS Academic & Editorial Board exists to act as a sounding board for IARS’ publications, research projects and reports.  

The roles of the Academic & Editorial Board include: quality control of IARS’ academic outputs and accreditation programmes including IARS books, publications, evaluation reports; solicit contributions; identify suitable reviewers (when appropriate); participate as reviewers; provide input on the content and direction of issues; promote IARS’ extensively within their own institutions and externally; develop editorial policies to guide the content, scope, purpose and style of IARS publications.

Within the Academic Board, there is a standing Research Ethics Committee, which reviews research ethics applications from IARS and external applicants. 

The roles of the Research Ethics Committee include: to ensure that IARS research programmes comply with COPE and international research ethics standards; to review research ethics applications; to approve conducting fieldwork as per research ethics standards; to ensure that human rights, data protection and other relevant legislation are respected when approving applications for fieldwork. 

The Research Ethics committee consists of the Editor-in-Chief and at least two independent members from the Academic and Editorial Board.

Decisions will be reached by majority vote and only after the production of constructive feedback to the applicants. Only applications that complete the Research Ethics Application Form and are submitted to the Editor-in-Chief will be eligible for consideration.

Meet our current members of the academic board
Executive Director, Creative Diversity Network, UK
Dr. Daniel Briggs
Faculty Member, European University of Madrid, Spain
Dr. Darren Sharpe Sharpe
Dr. Debarati Halder
Dr. Jason Schaub
Dr. Neil Chakraborti
Dr. Sabine Selchow
Dr.Panagiotis Pentaris
Karen Miner-Romanoff, Ph.D., J.D.
Prof. Dr John Winterdyk
Prof. Charles MacLean
Prof. Vasiliki Brouskeli