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 after 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 for several years, 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.

Tanas Alqassis

I am the regional manager for Europe, the Middle East and North Africa at the Church Mission Society (CMS). I have previously worked for Musalaha, the Holy Land Trust and World Vision. Over the last 20 years I have sat on various boards and travelled widely in the Middle East. I received a master’s degree in leadership from Vision International University in California and a BA in Accounting from Bob Jones University in South Carolina. 

I joined the Board of Embrace in February 2012.

Mariam Tadros
Mariam Tadros

A graduate in Theology and Religious Studies, Mariam also has a postgraduate degree in Conflict Regulation in Divided Societies. Mariam has worked with Tearfund in their operational response in the Kurdish region of Iraq as well as working on the West and Central Africa desk. Mariam is now the Programme Coordinator for Peacebuilding at Tearfund, covering pilot projects in their Peacebuilder movement in the Middle East, providing strategic and technical support to teams globally.  She brings her huge experience and strategic knowhow to Embrace and was appointed a trustee in February 2012.

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.

Trustee John Neate

John Neate

I have extensive experience working within the charity sector, having previously worked for the British Red Cross, and in senior leadership roles with the Multiple Sclerosis Society, Prostate Cancer UK and Y Care International. I have a postgraduate Certificate in Africa and International Development, and carried out a strategic review of financial and organisational arrangements for the Israeli Multiple Sclerosis Society.

I'm also on the senior leadership team for the Network Vineyard Church in Reading, and am involved in other initiatives such as becoming the Chair of 'Lift Ghana', and supporting the Vineyard School of Ministry Africa, based in Nairobi, Kenya.

Gareth Williams

After two decades working in Investment Banking as a Managing Director in Emerging Markets, I now work with Christians Against Poverty and am a warden at Emmanuel Church Chesham.

I first developed an interest in the Middle East whilst living in Saudi Arabia as a child and went on to study Middle Eastern politics and economics at Durham and Cambridge Universities.

John Mitchell

I am currently Director of the British Council Morocco based in Rabat. 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.

Since joining the British Council I have lived and worked in Hungary, Zambia, Algeria, UK, India and Afghanistan. I have also worked for Open University tutoring Strategy and International Management on their MBA programme.  

I joined the Board of Embrace in April 2019.


Mary Smith

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.