Our board of trustees (the Board) share our passion to bring lasting change to the Middle East together with local Christian communities. They provide us with a range of experience and expertise, and are responsible for the overall governance, monitoring and strategic direction of the charity. Our trustees are all unpaid volunteers.

The Board meets four times a year, and also delegates some of its responsibilities to three committees of trustees: Programmes & Public Engagement, Governance & Resources, and Officers & Chairs.

Meet them below:

Canon Anthony Ball - Chair

I am a Canon at Westminster Abbey, having spent five years as Rector of Worth, Pound Hill and Maidenbower in West Sussex. During my career with HM Diplomatic Service (1990-2005) I lived in the Middle East, developing links with and learning from many of its Christian denominations. In 2005 I joined the staff of the (former) Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Williams, advising on international, ecumenical, Anglican Communion and inter-religious relations - with a final appointment as his Chaplain. This time left me passionately committed to the role and the flourishing of Christian communities in the Middle East.

I joined the Embrace Board of Trustees in 2012.

Anne Clayton - Vice Chair

After many years in management, HR and organisational development, in 2004 my husband and I moved to Jerusalem where we lived in East Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives. We worked with World Vision in the West Bank and Gaza and often travelled to surrounding countries.

On our return to the UK in 2010, I became UK Director of Friends of Sabeel, stepping down in December 2015. I am an HR consultant with Oxford Leaders Ltd, which supports and mentors the leaders of national and international non-profit organisations. I serve on the PCC of my church in North Oxford.

I have a passion to support the Christian community in the Middle East and am committed to helping Christians at home understand the issues and challenges that Christians in the Middle East face.  

I joined the Board in March 2016.

Victoria Smith - Treasurer

I am a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and have a BA (Hons) in Business Studies.  My finance career has spanned both the public and private sectors and I have recently retired from my role as Finance Director for a national programme within NHS England.    

I first became involved with Embrace The Middle East in 2003 and have previously held the position of Treasurer for the Charity.   Having had the privilege of witnessing first-hand the work of the Charity’s  partners in the Middle East, I am committed to supporting the work of the Charity and its Christian partners. 

I joined once again as Treasurer in April 2019.

Madeleine Radford

I have been deputy news editor at the Church Times since 2012, where I write regularly on humanitarian responses in the Middle East.

I have previously worked on the campaigns team at a breast cancer charity, working in partnership with NHS breast clinics to secure improved services for patients.

I joined the Board of Embrace in March 2016.

Kathryn Kraft

I am a Lecturer in International Development at the University of East London. My involvement in the Middle East dates back to 2001, when I first moved to Syria to study Arabic. My postgraduate studies at the American University of Beirut, then at the University of Bristol, focused on questions of religious identity in the Middle East. I have recently taken up a post with World Vision.

After several years working in humanitarian response, my teaching and research now focuses on faith, humanitarianism and development, and empowering local civil society. I am passionate about storytelling as a means of community transformation, and as Kati Woronka I have published two novels about Syrian women.

The Revd Dr James Hawkey

The Revd Dr Jamie Hawkey is Canon Theologian of Westminster Abbey, and a Chaplain to HM The Queen. He is also a bye fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, and a visiting lecturer at King’s College, London. Jamie was ordained deacon in 2007, and priest in 2008, and began his ordained life in a parish in inner-city Portsmouth, before coming to Westminster Abbey as a Minor Canon, latterly becoming Precentor. Between 2015-19 he was Dean and Director of Studies in Theology at Clare College, Cambridge, where he taught both undergraduates and postgraduates for the Cambridge Divinity Faculty and Theological Federation.

Jamie is currently a member of the International Reformed/Anglican Dialogue, and of the Malines Conversations Group. He is a trustee of the Cambridge Institute for Religion and International Studies, a Governor of the Anglican Centre in Rome, an advisor to the Center for Empathy in International Affairs, a member of the Church of England's Estates Theology Group, and of the Editorial Advisory Board for the International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church.


John Mitchell OBE

My initial career was in banking, followed by 4 years as Finance Director for International Nepal Fellowship - a Christian medical mission / NGO based in Nepal.

I then joined the British Council and have subsequently lived and worked in Hungary, Zambia, Algeria, UK, India and Afghanistan. Latterly I was British Council Director Morocco.  I have also worked for Open University tutoring Strategy and International Management on its MBA programme. 

I joined the Board of Embrace in April 2019.


Mary Oakes

I have worked in the INGO sector for the last 12 years with a focus on high value fundraising, especially major gifts and legacies. I have worked for Tearfund, the Church Mission Society, World Vision (UK and Ghana) and now have a broader regional role working for Habitat for Humanity International as Associate Director for Leadership Giving. I am very passionate about philanthropy, donor-centric fundraising and authentic leadership in Christian organisations and I am a Member of the Institute of Fundraising (Diploma).

Having visited the refugee camps in Lebanon this year, and had the opportunity to more deeply understand the complex needs of the region, I am keen to use my skills and experiences to try to make a difference to Embrace.

I joined the Board in October 2017.

Ben Morgan

I am General Counsel to Forum Partners Investment Management, a global regulated real estate investment management firm. Before joining Forum Partners, I practised law in the Corporate/M&A department of Macfarlanes LLP, a Silver Circle London City law firm.

Prior to my career as a corporate lawyer, I spent time working with, supporting and developing relationships with Christian refugee communities in north-eastern Syria, where I coordinated the delivery of English language education programmes to local communities. Living and working in the Middle East inspired a lasting commitment to supporting communities in the region.

Chris Woo

I have worked in the charity sector for the past 15 years with a variety of NGOs. I currently work for Trussell Trust where I lead the philanthropy team within the public engagement directorate.

In previous roles, I’ve had the privilege of working closely with grass roots organizations in a number of Middle Eastern countries, travelling to Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Egypt.

I’ve also been involved with Muslim-Christian relations, working for the Oxford Centre for Muslim-Christian Studies where I served as Director of Development. I studied theology and philosophy at London School of Theology.

I joined the board in October, 2020

Katie Hodkinson

I am training for Ordained Ministry in the Church of England and currently serve in a local church context whilst studying for a Masters in Theology. My passion and focus is to enable the Church to embrace cultural diversity. 

 Prior to this I spent five years working in the Inter Religious Affairs team for the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace, focusing on the Middle East. I coordinated the Archbishop's 12 day visit to the Holy Land in 2017 and created the Emerging Peacemakers Forum working with young Christians and Muslims across the Middle East to equip them with social action skills.  

Through spending much time in Egypt and Jerusalem and seeing the profound impact of local Christians, I have been deeply inspired. It is therefore a real privilege to serve as a trustee for Embrace. "


Katharine Von Schubert

After graduating in Arabic I  spent six years working in the Middle East with the Church Mission Society, Oxfam, Save the Children, Christian Aid and Quaker Peace & Social Witness. It was as a  Mission Partner in Egypt where I fell in love with the Coptic orthodox church, and later in the refugee camps of Lebanon, West Bank and Gaza where I encountered the ‘living stones’ of the Holy Land during the worst years of the second Intifada. I was able to publish my encounters with Palestinians living under occupation in ‘Checkpoints and Chances’ (Quaker Books 2005).

I currently work as a Mission Enabler in the Southwark Diocese of the Church of England, helping churches think through their calling and engagement with their local community. I have a passion for theology, and recently completed an MA in Christian Leadership at St Mellitus College. I was a Trustee of the Church Mission Society (2007-2011).  I am convinced that Western Christians can be enriched by knowledge of the indigenous churches of the Middle East. I am delighted to join the Board of Embrace in October 2020.