Each member of the BUILA executive committee has a key liaison roles and or area of responsibility. The committee meets bi-monthly.
Bobby Mehta, Chair, Lead DfE,OfS, UUKi
Director of UoP Global, 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 was elected as Chair in July 2019.
Robert Carthy, Vice Chair, Lead DIT, TNE, Chair India RIG
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 and again in 2019.
Catriona McCarthy, Vice Chair, N. Irish Liaison, Lead UKCISA
Director of Internationalisation, Ulster University
Catriona is Director of Internationalisation at Ulster University, where she has responsibility for providing professional leadership of the University’s internationalisation strategy, managing its delivery and related stakeholder engagement. This is a founding Director role and her newly created team has a varied remit that includes recruitment, partnerships, mobility and international student support. Catriona has extensive international experience and has worked in the sector since 2002. Having started her career at Heriot-Watt University, Catriona has also spent time at Aberdeen University as well as serving as Deputy Director, International at the University of Edinburgh where she was involved in the design and delivery of various strategic initiatives, including the establishment of overseas operations. Catriona has a detailed understanding of global education policy, trends and funding mechanisms. She also holds an MA Hons in History and Literature, as well as a professional qualifications in marketing and project management.
Andrew Bird, Employability, Chair Europe RIG, British Council
Head of International Marketing & Student Recruitment, Bournemouth University
Andrew has worked in international marketing for over 20 years, 16 of those in the HE sector. Throughout his career he has been fortunate enough to be responsible for many aspects of internationalisation, including recruitment, admissions, partnership setup and delivery (taught and research), CPD/Exec Ed income generation and staff/student mobility (EU and non-EU). In addition, having worked at both modern and research intensive universities he has experience in understanding and supporting the diverse drivers for internationalisation depending upon the priorities and needs of each HEI. Andrew was elected onto the BUILA Executive in 2020.
Director International Office, University of Loughborough
Charlie joined the International Office at Loughborough University in 2004 and became Director in September 2012. Prior to joining Loughborough University, Charlie worked within recruitment and occupational psychology organisations. From 2008 to 2012, Charlie served as Chair of the British Universities’ Brunei Association. From 2011 to 2014, Charlie served as a member of the BUILA executive committee; he was subsequently re-elected in September 2021.
Nancy Cooke, Lead British Council/Study UK, Conference Team
Associate Director of International Development, University of Salford
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.
Stuart Easter, Scottish Liaison
Head of International Partnerships and Student Recruitment, Edinburgh Napier University
Stuart is the Head of International Partnerships and Student Recruitment at Edinburgh Napier University, where he leads a team of over 30 staff in 5 countries with responsibility for both UK and international student recruitment and partnership development. Stuart has worked in higher education since 2008 and has gained experience living and working in China as well as spending time at 3 Scottish universities in various internationalisation, recruitment and partnership development functions. Stuart has previously served on Chevening scholarship reading committees as well as being a member of the Scottish Universities International Group committee and the Universities Scotland International Committee. Stuart was elected to the Executive in 2021 and leads on liaison with the wider Scottish sector for BUILA.
Louise McCarthy, Home Office, Lead QAA
Assistant Director (International Recruitment), University of Sheffield
Louise has worked in International Higher Education for over 20 years specialising predominantly in international recruitment at two Russell Group Universities, but her experience also includes working at a small and specialised institution covering the full internationalisation remit of recruitment, partnership development and Study Abroad. In her current role at The University of Sheffield, Louise manages a team of regional managers - including staff in China, Malaysia and India - who are responsible for meeting the University's targets for international and EU student recruitment. She also leads on the University's international scholarship portfolio, the management of a large network of recruitment agents and recruitment partnership development with overseas universities, sponsors and pathway providers.
Ciara Newby, Training, Conference Team
Acting Head of Undergraduate Recruitment (International), University of Bath
Ciara has been involved in international education for 15 years, initially as a languages teacher then senior leader in a premium international schools group. Here she oversaw professional development opportunities within the school and supported middle leadership programmes in their family of international schools across the globe. A return to the UK was an opportunity to rethink her next step and having supported students in the decision making process of which country to study in, how to apply to university, and building on her network of international schools, she was motivated to move into international recruitment. Ciara worked as an International Officer at the University of Birmingham, before moving to the University of Bath, where she oversees undergraduate international recruitment. Being able to support BUILA through training and professional development opportunities alongside her day job brings together two themes she is extremely passionate about.
Ismat Abu Shihab, Chair Middle East RIG
Director of Regional Hub, Dubai, University of Bradford , University of Bradford
Ismat is an IT and Management professional with a strong background in education strategy and higher education performance, first joined University of Bradford in September 2005. In 2015, Ismat moved to become the Director of Regional Hub, Dubai leading strategic students’ recruitment from the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia, South Asia and South East Asia regions and to support the university wider internationalisation strategy and to further develop the TNE provision in Dubai. Over the past three years, the number of international students joining the University of Bradford has tripled from his regions. With over 15 years of international experience in business and higher education, Ismat established international links with professional industries and education Ministries and the University of Bradford has now a close working relationship with a wide range of key stakeholders, sponsors and cultural offices in London, directly increasing the university profile as well as the number of joint international collaborations. Ismat is a contributor to educational journals and speaks at conferences on the subject of education in the Middle East and North Africa and leads on international initiatives including being the Chair of the Ministry of Manpower, Oman Consortium of 14 UK Universities.
Charley Robinson, Chair China RIG, Lead UCAS
Head of International Recruitment and Global Opportunities, Goldsmiths UoL
Charley started working in international higher education in 2007, working as an International Officer for the University of Essex covering a range of student recruitment markets including leading on the development of institutional partnerships and outward study opportunities in China. Charley also secured a university level partnership with the State Administration Foreign Expert Affairs in Beijing to deliver professional development and training to Chinese government officials. Since 2015 she has worked at Goldsmiths University of London, first as Deputy Head of International Recruitment and Global Opportunities, then Head of International Recruitment and Global Opportunities leading on the University’s international student recruitment and marketing strategy, recruitment partnerships, agent management and the global mobility of staff and students for study and work. She is a member of UCAS International Advisory Group and in 2017 she joined the BUILA executive as Chair of the China Regional Interest Group and lead for UCAS liaison, and contributes to wider research, training and liaison activity.
Siobhan Robinson, Welsh Liaison
Head of International Recruitment , Cardiff University
Siobhan joined Cardiff University as Deputy Director of the International Office in 2013 before becoming Head of International Recruitment in 2017. Her career in HE began in managing a European funded project providing skills development and training to South Wales SME’s. In 2007 she joined the International Office at Cardiff Metropolitan University (then UWIC) as an International Officer covering South Asia and Africa, then as Senior International Officer before taking on the management of the international recruitment function as International Strategy and Marketing Manager. Siobhan was elected onto the Executive in November 2019 and leads on liaison with the wider Welsh sector for BUILA.
Robert Skelton Clarke, Lead Training, UKCISA
Head of Global Strategy, University of Hull
Robert is Head of Global Strategy at the University of Hull and has over 16 years management experience in international student recruitment, business development and marketing and communications. Robert has actively recruited in West Africa, South East Asia, China and Europe, and occupied a number of management level positions within the University. He is currently responsible for identifying and negotiating large-scale recruitment opportunities through effective engagement with key external stakeholders (agents, sponsors, commercial organisations and government bodies) in support of the University of Hull’s international recruitment ambitions. Robert was elected onto the BUILA Executive in September 2019 and leads on training. Previously he had been co-opted onto the Executive to revise BUILA’s membership engagement strategy.
Philippa Collins Robson, Project Manager, OfS, DfE, DIT
Philippa started off her career treading the boards as a dancer but after 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 & Focus London. As a freelance consultant she has continued to work with the key international promotion organisations in London on a number of high profile projects promoting key sectors and bringing major stakeholders together, including the London Universities International Partnership. As BUILA Project Manager, Philippa leads on lobbying, international promotion and partnership activities, and is the BUILA representative on the AGCAS Internationalisation Task Group.
Nanna Pedley, Communication & Training Co-ordinator
Nanna is responsible for BUILA's annual programme of training workshops, managing the website and the membership base, and is part of the Conference Team. 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.
Paulina Day, Marketing and Communications Co-ordinator
Paulina worked as Regional Manager of North American student recruitment and Summer Programmes before setting up the USA focused digital marketing consultancy, Friesland Collective. In her role as Managing Director, Paulina consults universities on US digital marketing strategy, UG lead generation and new staff training and development. As BUILA's Marketing and Communications Co-ordinator, Paulina leads on CRM Communications, Web Development, Brand Design, Virtual Events, Member Engagement, External Stakeholder Engagement, Regional Strategic Marketing & Communications Groups (Europe, South Asia), Annual Conference Planning Team, Study UK Digital Steering Group, and Regional Interest Groups (Africa, China, Europe, India, MENA, North America).