Our Governance

In October 2001, IARS was informally established by Dr. Theo Gavrielides as a charitable, International NGO. Professor Gavrielides set up IARS in his kitchen with no funding or powerful contacts. IARS was set up as a user-led and user-focused membership organisation and it remains as such.

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.

On 19 June 2008, Dr. Gavrielides stepped down from its Board in order to register IARS with the Charity Commission of England and Wales. He remained as its Executive Director and recruited a Board of Trustees.

In February 2020, Dr. Gavrielides stepped down from his role as IARS Executive Director and re-joined the Trustee Board. Dr. Claire Bonham was recruited to run IARS as its new Director.

In September 2020, six new Trustees were appointed to the Board to help to drive the direction of the charity under its new Director and in May 2021 Dr Gavrielides stepped down as a Trustee. He remains connected to the charity as its Founder.

IARS have been awarded the Youth Mark and the ESC Quality 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. 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

Emily Poyser
Rossana Rocchini



Simon Goldhill



Vanessa Bianchi
Laura Rofe
Trustee for the Women’s Advisory Board
Richard Elliot
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
Chief Executive

The user engagement model

Since its inception in 2001 by Professor Gavrielides, 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 
Kristian Mower
Maria Sobrino
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



We are Sculpt

IARS International Institute to operate as Sculpt

*Charity CEO available for interview – details in notes 

A UK-based youth charity today changes its operating name from the IARS International Institute to Sculpt. 

IARS is an international NGO that’s been working to empower young people to forge a fairer society for over 20 years. Their work is guided and evaluated by young people themselves.  

Over the last 20 years, IARS has delivered more than 70 successful projects that have addressed real problems that young people face, in areas such as: 

  • Gender discrimination 
  • Violence against women and girls 
  • Supporting young people to find work 
  • Creating green and sustainable business 
  • Promoting collaboration among young people across the world and much more. 

In 2021, with the world changing rapidly and opportunities for their work shifting, they decided to refresh their purpose and identity, and made the decision to rebrand as Sculpt. 

Claire Bonham, Chief Executive of Sculpt, said: 

‘We are delighted to launch our new brand that speaks to our aim to empower young people to shape their future.

‘We believe that many of today’s young people are facing unjust challenges – economically, environmentally and socially. A fair, sustainable society can only evolve if all young people have the opportunities, the confidence, the ambition and the skills to make their voices heard and propel change in their communities, irrespective of who they are or where they come from.  

‘Our rebrand, like our work, has been guided by research and by young people themselves. As an organisation we base our work on rigorously researched evidence and are led in our approach by our youth advisory board. Their voices and insight are critical to solving the right problems in meaningful ways.’  


Notes to editors:  

Dr. Claire Bonham, Chief Executive of The IARS International Institute is available for interview. Contact Claire directly on: director@iars.org.uk +44(0) 7833 224442  



Sculpt is a UK-based charity providing research, training and work-experience opportunities that empower young people to shape their own futures and those of their communities. 

We work directly with young people, employers and professionals who support young people. All our work is guided by young people themselves and based on carefully researched evidence. We: 

  • Facilitate forums for young people to make their needs and their voices heard. 
  • Publish a magazine by young people to express their perspectives and encourage debate around public policy issues. 
  • Conduct research to uncover young people’s real needs and what works to empower and support them. 
  • Deliver training to build young people’s confidence, skills, ambition, resilience and sense of responsibility, so they can shape their futures and change their communities for the better, as leaders, social entrepreneurs and active participants in civic life. 
  • Deliver training for professionals who work with young people, drawing on our research and expertise. 
  • Engage with employers to facilitate work experience and employment opportunities for young people to develop skills and access diverse jobs. 
  • Facilitate international exchange opportunities to encourage and enable young people to experience and appreciate other cultures, perspectives and ways of life. 

We tackle disempowerment from three angles: working directly with young people to build confidence and skills and their voice, working with professionals who support young people, and working with employers to break down barriers to opportunity.