Our Leadership


Dame Emma Thompson is one of the world’s most respected talents for her captivating brilliance in acting and screenwriting and as a steadfast campaigner for human rights.

Emma met Helen Bamber as a young comedian and struck up a life-long friendship and mentorship which saw her at the forefront of the Foundation since it was established in 2005, first as Chair of Trustees and now as President.

She co-curated “Journey,” an interactive art installation which used seven transport containers to illustrate the brutal and harrowing experiences of women sold into the sex trade.

In her own words:

"The people that we help often arrive at our door feeling barely human. The joy of seeing someone whose needs are so acute receiving the emotional, medical and legal support they need, seeing them gradually recover their humanity in this highly compassionate environment is something I will always treasure. I hope you will join me in supporting this unique charity, the Helen Bamber Foundation."

Thank you,


A former senior civil servant, Charlotte is an experienced board member and public appointee with a strong track record in making an effective contribution at a senior level to the work of organisations, Boards and committees. Charlotte brings to the Helen Bamber Foundation her experience from her long and successful career in overseas development, including posts as the Head of DFID in India and DFID’s Director Asia as well as experience as a Non-executive Director with Bournemouth and Poole NHS Teaching Primary Care Trust. Charlotte is a former Trustee and Vice-Chair of Christian Aid and current Trustee of the Weldmar Hospicecare Trust.

Charlotte is motivated to help the Helen Bamber Foundation meet the many new challenges it faces today, in order to carry on the legacy of Helen’s work to protect and support the most vulnerable victims of human rights abuses.

After training as an accountant with PwC and a spell with the International Accounting Standards Board, Hugh spent 20 years in investment banking and general management with S.G. Warburg before becoming a bursar at an Oxford college and a director of finance at a leading school. He has been a trustee of many charities including those involved with the arts, urban regeneration, international development, sport, and men’s health, and remains closely involved in a range of voluntary activities. Hugh was inspired to become involved with the Foundation by Helen Bamber’s famous saying that “Our society will be judged by how we respond to those to whom we owe nothing”.

Human rights journalist, author and biographer. In 1993, Caroline was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and was awarded an OBE in 2005 for services to literature. Caroline has written six biographies, four books of history, specialising in Italy and France during WWII, and a book about refugees: Human Cargo. She has written for the Guardian, The Times Literary Supplement, New York Review of Books, Spectator and has co-produced for the BCC.

Patricia Pank is a retired University lecturer and former clinical caseworker at The Medical Foundation For the Care of Victims of Torture, the first charity founded by Helen Bamber OBE. Patricia is a lay member of clinical governance committee UCLH Emergency Services Committee and Vice Chair of the National Research Ethics Service Committee London – Chelsea. Patricia’s motivation for becoming involved with the Helen Bamber Foundation are a strong sense of injustice and an awareness of the number of people around her in London who had survived and were still suffering gross violation of their basic human rights. Patricia first met Helen in a bed lift in the hospital where she had just started The Medical Foundation and engaged her in conversation. Patricia was the Clinical Coordinator for a London Health Authority and a Senior Tutor in the School of Nursing and Helen looked her in the eye and said “You are just the person we need!” and she has been involved with her work in one way or another ever since.

Sir Nicolas is the former President of the European Court of Human Rights, where he was the Judge of the Court elected in respect of the UK for 14 years. Sir Nicolas is the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the British Institute of Human Rights and sat on the Helen Bamber Foundation’s Human Rights Advisory Group before joining the Board of Trustees in 2015. Sir Nicolas’ incomparable experience is an invaluable source of advice and guidance, particularly in respect to the Foundation’s Medico-Legal Report service.

Sir Nicholas describes his motivation for joining the Board of Trustees in 2015 as “It is a deeply regrettable fact that the use of torture, and other forms of inhuman and degrading treatment, and of slavery, including the pernicious trade of trafficking in human beings, continue to flourish in very many parts of the world, despite their absolute prohibition in international law. No organisation has done more to protect and care for victims of these gross violations of human rights than the Helen Bamber Foundation. The work done by the Foundation in the ten years of its existence has been both vital and inspirational. It was, therefore, an immense honour to have been invited to join the Board of an organisation which, as one for long concerned with the protection of human rights, I hold in the very highest regard.”

Rebecca is the Chief Operating Officer at Freud Communications, overseeing the management of over 250 staff at one of the UK’s largest PR agencies. Rebecca brings extensive strategic and operational experience to the Helen Bamber Foundation and sits on the Operations Committee alongside the Treasurer and Managing Director.

Ian trained in medicine at the Universities of St Andrews and Manchester. Following qualification he specialised in general practice and public health and has worked in a number of different settings both in the UK and abroad. He works at the University of York as Professor of Primary Care in the Hull York Medical School (HYMS) and the Department of Health Sciences. His research interests include various aspects of communication in health, in particular issues concerned with the involvement of patients in their own healthcare.

In addition to his University posts, Ian is an Honorary Consultant in Public Health Medicine currently with Public Health England and he is also a general practitioner but has recently stepped down from clinical practice.

Nina Kowalska is an experienced campaigner and capacity builder. Nina was a founding member of the United Nations Environment Programme on Sustainable Consumption and is a former Director at the Amazon Rainforest Foundation, which operated social enterprises in the Brazilian Amazon, and co-founded 38 Degrees, the UK’s first progressive online campaigning group.

Sam Peter is currently the Head of the Global Education Marketing team at Google where she is passionate about improving education through technology and making a difference in the lives of teachers and students around the world.

Sam and her team have created, promoted and executed dozens of large and small scale programs to help advance innovative thinking in the education space over the years. One of Sam’s most notable achievements includes co-creating the internationally acclaimed Google Science Fair, an online science competition for teenagers that encourages them to dream big and change the world through scientific inquiry and invention. Sam was also responsible for bringing to market GSuite for Education (formerly Google Apps for Education), a communication and collaboration suite now used by over 90 million students and teachers globally.

Prior to joining Google, Sam spent 7 years at Bloomberg L.P. a leading Financial Services provider. At Bloomberg, Sam managed the sales teams that covered Switzerland and Monaco.

Sam holds an MSc in International Business from Kings College London and a BSc. in Biotechnology from University College London.