Committee

Each member of the BUILA executive committee has  a key liaison roles and or area of responsibility. The committee meets bi monthly.


  • Charlene Allen, Chair, Lead UUK

    Director of Student Recruitment and International Relations, Southampton University

    Charlene has worked in International Offices for 17 years and has been involved in various projects throughout that time including working with and in a Regional Office in Kuala Lumpur; supporting the setting up of an office in China; and the expansion and development of international offices to increase international student recruitment and partnerships globally. She has presented at several international working groups, conferences and coordinated and supported research symposiums in South East Asia focusing on climate change. She works with and supports the Vice President International and the Vice President Education in leading and implementing the university’s internationalisation strategy and education strategy. She represents the University nationally and internationally at the highest levels, raising profile, identifying and delivering partnership/business opportunities and advising senior management accordingly. Charlene was co-opted onto the committee in November 2008 and then fully elected in 2011. Since joining, she has worked with the British Council on their marketing projects, and led on BUILA marketing, including the redesigning and restructuring of the BUILA website. In addition to her role as Chair she leads on building and developing the strategic link between BUILA and Universities UK.

    Contact Charlene Allen
  • Andrew Mandebura, Vice Chair, Lobbying Team, UUK, Home Office

    Director of International Development, Huddersfield University

    Andrew has been involved in international recruitment since 2003, working at Edge Hill University following graduation. Since 2005 he has worked at the University of Huddersfield in a variety of roles in the International Office covering recruitment, agent management and looking after several recruitment markets. In 2013 he became Director of International Development at Huddersfield and leads all aspects of marketing, recruitment and support for international students within the institution. Andrew joined the executive in September 2014 and works closely with Roisin on developing the lobbying profile of the executive on behalf of the sector.

    Contact Andrew Mandebura
  • Bobby Mehta, Vice Chair

    International Director, University of Portsmouth

    Bobby has worked in higher education since August 1999 when he began working in the Access and Admission Department at the University of Luton (now University of Bedfordshire). He moved to the International Office at Luton in December 2000 and remained there until August 2002 when he moved to Wales as an International Recruitment Officer at the University of Glamorgan, now the University of South Wales. In his time at the University he has held a number of positions including: Deputy Head of International Recruitment, Head of International & Business Development in the Faculty of Business and Society, Acting Director of the International Office, Head of Student Recruitment and Head of Enquiries & Admissions and International & EU Recruitment. In April 2017 Bobby was appointed to the post of International Director at the University of Portsmouth where he is now responsible for: • Strategic Lead and Management of the International Office • International Marketing and Recruitment • International Student Support • Student Mobility • International Business Development and Partnerships Bobby was originally elected to represent Wales on the BUILA Executive Committee in December 2009 and is currently serving as Vice Chair.

    Contact Bobby Mehta
  • Roisin McEvoy, Lead Lobbying, Liaison Northern Ireland

    Head of International Student Experience, Ulster University

    Roisin joined the University of Ulster in 2002 as a Lecturer in the UNESCO Centre and has since worked on a variety of international development and global education programmes and projects. She was appointed Programme Director of the University’s International Development Programme in 2009 and subsequently took up the post of Head of International Student Experience in September 2012. Prior to this she studied and worked at Auckland University, New Zealand and Queens University Belfast. She is currently a member of the International Unit’s Outward Mobility Community of Practice.She joined the BUILA Executive Committee in November 2012 to represent the Northern Irish Universities and is working to develop BUILA’s lobbying and advocacy profile in the sector.

    Contact Roisin McEvoy
  • Naomi Graham, Lead Scottish Liaison, Training

    Assistant Principal International, Edinburgh Napier University

    Naomi Graham was appointed Assistant Principal International in February 2017 after joining the Edinburgh Napier University in December 2014 as Director of International Operations. Naomi leads the development and delivery of the University’s Internationalisation Strategy which includes ambitious plans to build strategic partnerships globally and expand our transnational education (TNE) provision into new regions of the world. Naomi has responsibility for all student recruitment and admissions to the University (home and international), and the growth and expansion of the University’s online programmes. Naomi has over 10 years experience in international development, recruitment and marketing in the higher education sector. Prior to joining Edinburgh Napier University, Naomi worked in international roles at Newcastle University and the University of Edinburgh, and most recently at the University of Glasgow. Naomi joined the BUILA executive in November 2013 and represents the interests of the Scottish universities on the committee as Scottish Liaison, as well as taking the lead on BUILA’s training programme.

    Contact Naomi Graham
  • David Thornber, Lead British Council

    Regional Manager for South & Southeast Asia, Durham University

    David joined the University of Portsmouth in 2001 as International Officer, with regional management responsibilities for China and then South Asia. A move to the University of Winchester in 2005 saw David take on the role of Head of International Development. In January 2007, David joined Durham University’s International Office as its Senior International Officer where his responsibilities included operating as a country manager for South Asia, Africa and the Gulf Region, developing key partnerships with overseas universities and institutions and managing Durham University’s portfolio of overseas educational agents. David is currently Durham University’s Regional Manager for East & Southeast Asia; he joined the BUILA executive in September 2015 taking on the lead for liaison with the British Council.

    Contact David Thornber
  • Andrew Plant, Lead Marketing & Communications, GREAT

    College International Manager, Nottingham Trent University

    After working in advertising and recruitment roles in the private sector, Andrew joined Aston University’s international office in 2006, managing recruitment for Africa and East Asia. He moved to the University of Warwick in 2009 to take on responsibility for South Asia and Latin America before moving to NTU in 2011 as Head of International Development for the College of Art & Design, Architecture and Built Environment. As of January 2016 he works as College International Manager in NTU Global, the University’s global engagement office, with a wide remit of development, mobility, partnerships, experience and recruitment. He was co-opted onto the executive in early 2016 before being elected as a full member later that year and will be leading on Marketing & Communications.

    Contact Andrew Plant
  • Nancy Cooke, Conference Team, UCAS

    Associate Director of International Recruitment, Salford University

    Nancy has over 15 years’ experience in international education, spanning teaching, recruitment and marketing, partnerships and mobility, as well as student support. Her international work has included setting up and supporting regional hubs in India, China and UAE, and previously in Nepal, Colombia and Kenya. Nancy is an advocate for supporting students throughout their student journey and her MBA thesis researched the international student decision making within liberal arts education. As well as being a member of the BUILA executive committee, Nancy is also Chair of the British Universities Transnational Exchange Association (BUTEX).

    Contact Nancy Cooke
  • Robert Carthy, Lead Regional Interest Groups

    Director of the International Development Service, Northumbria University

    Rob Carthy is the Director of the International Development Service at Northumbria University. He leads a team of over 80 staff based in six locations across the globe, working on the recruitment and admissions of International Students, development of International Partnerships, and student mobility. In addition he has oversight of the University’s Language Centre, delivering in-session and pre-sessional English, as well as credit-bearing modern Foreign languages. Rob joined Northumbria University in 2003 and moved to the International Office in 2005. He has held various roles in the team since then, including Partnerships Manager and Deputy Director, and took over as the Director of International Development in November 2013. He has held executive roles on BUTEX, the UK-Saudi Interest Group, and has worked closely with the BUILA senior team. He was elected onto the BUILA executive in 2016.

    Contact Robert Carthy
  • Rachel O’Connell, Executive Member

    Student Recruitment Manager, University of the Arts, London

    Rachel joined University of the Arts London in early 2015 with primary focus on international recruitment and some aspects of EU. Rachel’s involvement in higher education began with a role in the research department at AQA in 2009 with focus moving to the international sector through a dissertation on the integration between home and international students in the UK. Rachel has since worked in both the private and public sphere of education with international recruitment positions at the University of Bath followed by Kaplan International Colleges and moving onto Bucks New University covering a range of regions throughout including Sub Saharan Africa, MENA and South Asia.

    Contact Rachel O’Connell
  • Ruth Owen Lewis, Executive member

    International Director, Aberystwyth University

    Ruth has worked in the Higher Education sector since 2001, moving to International in 2008. She has had several roles relating to International including International Officer, Partnerships Manager, Deputy and Acting Director and has experience in many regions from South Asia to Africa, the Americas to S/E Asia. She was appointed as the Director of the International Office in Aberystwyth University in 2014. Her current remit includes international recruitment and marketing; partnerships; visas, immigration and compliance; international student experience and study abroad. Ruth has developed the team significantly to include a China Regional Office, and Aberystwyth University was recently awarded Silver in the WhatUni Student Choice Awards for International, demonstrating her commitment to the International Student Experience.

    Contact Ruth Owen Lewis
  • Fahd Asif, Scottish Liaison, Training

    Senior International Officer, Dundee University

    Fahd has been involved in international recruitment since 2010, having previously worked within broadcast media and marketing. Growing up in the Middle East, Fahd studied in the UK as an international student and is passionate about all aspects of international education. In his role as a Senior International Officer at the University of Dundee, Fahd has managed the University’s international recruitment, partnership and engagement activities within several regions including Middle East, Africa, Central and South Asia. He now manages the Dundee’s international operations in the South East Asian markets. Fahd joined the BUILA executive in 2017 and represents the interests of the Scottish Universities on the committee as Scottish Liaison, as well as taking the lead on BUILA’s training programme.

    Contact Fahd Asif
  • Philippa Collins Robson, BUILA Secretary

    Philippa started off her career treading the boards as a dancer but after a period of ‘resting’, a quick brush with wildlife at the Nature Conservancy Council, and a brief spell making classic public information films at the Central Office of Information, she switched one type of performance for another; promoting education and training as Director of Marketing and Strategic Planning for the Central London Training and Enterprise Council. As a freelance consultant she has carried on working with the key international promotion organisations in London on a number of projects promoting key sectors and bringing stakeholders together. Philippa is currently the Project Manager for the London Universities International Partnership which compliments her role as BUILA Secretary.

    Contact Philippa Collins Robson

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5th - 7th July 2017

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