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, UUKi, UKCISA
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.
Andrew Mandebura, Vice Chair, Lead Lobbying, Home Office, DFE
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.
Bobby Mehta, Vice Chair, Lead Governance, Support UKCISA, UUK
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.
David Thornber, Lead British Council, Support Regional Interest Groups
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.
Andrew Plant, Lead Marketing & Communications, Study UK Digital
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.
Nancy Cooke, Lead Conference, Support Training, NARIC, 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).
Robert Carthy, Lead Regional Interest Groups, Training
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.
Rachel O’Connell, Lead UCAS, NARIC, Support Training
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.
Ruth Owen Lewis, Welsh Liaison
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 and immigration; international student experience and study abroad. Ruth has developed the team significantly to include regional offices in China and Malaysia, and Aberystwyth University was recently awarded Silver in the WhatUni Student Choice Awards for International, demonstrating her commitment to the International Student Experience.
Martin Hookham, Lead GREAT Study UK Strategy, Support DFE
Head of International Office, Sussex University
Martin has been working in international education for over twenty years, having started in the private sector at EF International Language Schools in Cambridge, before moving to higher education with the University of Roehampton and currently leading the International Office at the University of Sussex. He has led three offices covering responsibilities which have included international student support, admissions, recruitment, marketing, student mobility and overseas academic partnerships. Martin joined the BUILA executive in 2017 and leads on the co-ordination of the sector’s approach to the GREAT: Study UK campaign.
Jenny Fernandes, Scottish Liaison
Head of International Office, Aberdeen University
Jenny has been working in international education for over 18 years, working at a number of institutions across Scotland before moving to the University of Aberdeen. Having studied and worked in the USA and worked in Japan, Jenny is a passionate advocate for the benefits of international education. At the University of Aberdeen she is responsible for international recruitment, student mobility, partnerships and enquiry management. Jenny joined the BUILA Executive in 2018, having previously Chaired SUIG (Scottish Universities International Group) and leads on liaison with the wider Scottish sector for BUILA.
Philippa Collins Robson, Project Manager
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 Project Manager.
Nanna Pedley, Communication & Training Co-ordinator
Nanna is responsible for BUILA's annual programme of training workshops, the website, managing the membership base and assisting with the annual Conference. She has worked part-time for BUILA since January 2016. During the rest of her time she works as a Higher Education Marketing & Communications Consultant, working on projects for UK higher education institutions as well as EU-funded projects focusing on HE and VET in Central Asia and Asia. Previously she worked for over 10 years at Royal Holloway, University of London in a variety of roles including Senior International Officer and Student Recruitment Digital Engagement Manager.