Our people

The members of the Board are nominated and elected by our Members and Associates. See our staff team below. See our Ambassador team below.

The Board of Humanists International and some staff members during an online meeting in October 2020

The Board is responsible for managing Humanists International in accordance with the Bylaws, the Internal Rules and the policies and directives of the General Assembly. The Board members are nominated by Humanists International Member Organisations and are elected by the General Assembly, and are Directors and Trustees of the Humanists International.

The Board has a directly-elected President, a Vice-President, and a Treasurer. The term of office of Board members is normally three years. All Member Organisations may nominate individuals to positions on the Board and candidates must be a member of a Humanists International Member Organisation, or an Individual Supporter of Humanists International.

Andrew Copson

Andrew joined the Humanists International Board in 2010 and has been serving as President since 2015. He has been Chief Executive of Humanists UK since January 2010, following five years coordinating the Humanists UK’s work in education and public affairs. Andrew writes, talks and campaigns on Humanism and humanist topics extensively. He is a former director of the European Humanist Federation (EHF) and former head of the Humanists International delegation to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. Andrew studied Classics and Ancient and Modern History at the University of Oxford.


Anne-France Ketelaer

Anne-France is Chief Executive of deMens.nu (the Flemish Belgian Humanist Organization) and vice-president of Humanists International. She studied Law at the Free University of Brussels (the Humanist University of Belgium) and started her career as a teacher in non-confessional humanist education. In 1989 she became a Legal Advisor for deMens.nu and in 1998 she was appointed as Vice-Chief Executive. In June 2016 she was promoted to Chief Executive of deMens.nu. Her goal is to reinforce humanism and its importance on a regional, national and international level.


Boris van der Ham

Boris van der Ham is the president of the Dutch Humanists. He is a former Member of the Dutch Parliament, as well as a writer and actor. He was elected to the Dutch House of Representatives for the social liberal Democrats party in May 2002. He wrote the law that made and to the ban on blasphemy in the Netherlands. In November 2012 he was elected the chairman of the Dutch Humanist Association, Humanistisch Verbond, where his focus has been on freedom of speech, education, and fostering international solidarity with atheists and humanists, in particular through the project Among Non-believers. He vlogs on humanism on freethinking on www.freethoughtvlog.com and made two documentaries on the subject of humanists facing persecution, in particular in the Islamic world. In 2018 he published the book Nieuwe Vrijdenkers (New Freethinkers) on ex-Muslims. In 2020 his new book will be published: ‘On humanism’. In his Miami speech he will answer the question: ‘what keeps free people together’. He is also the Treasurer of Humanists International.


Ana Raquel Aquino Smith

Ana Raquel Aquino is a Guatemalan lawyer specialized in public policies, good governance, and Human Rights by the Autonomous University of Madrid. She is the vice-president and member of the board in Humanistas Guatemala. She has worked in the public sector and for several Non-Governmental/International Organizations advocating the topics of the right to health for indigenous communities in Guatemala, gender equality, legal empowerment, accountability, and social justice.


Apsara Karki

Aspara Karki has been a member of SOCH Nepal since 2009, and was General Secretary from 2016 until 2017. In addition to this, she has worked for a number of NGOs in Nepal, such as Shanti Sewa Griha (SSG). Her expertise is in combatting harmful traditional practices and violence against women.


David Pineda

Founder and president of Humanistas Guatemala, formerly know as Asociación Guatemalteca de Humanistas Seculares (AGHS), he is an engineer and entrepreneur. David started questioning his catholic upbringing since his early teen years, and finally gave up all supernatural beliefs at age 19 while studying science subjects in college. In 2012 he started working with a small group to eventually found Guatemala Humanists. He loves nature, reading and snakes. He believes in human solidarity and the exchange of ideas. He works to make a positive change in the world.


Debbie Goddard

Debbie Goddard has over two decades of experience as an organizer and activist. She became involved with the secular movement as a college student in 2000 and attended atheist, freethinker, humanist, and skeptic group meetings in Philadelphia, New York City, New Jersey, and central Pennsylvania. Her involvement increased over time: she served on local advisory boards, started a student group, edited a monthly campus freethought email newsletter, and held a work-study position at the Center for Inquiry’s office in Rockefeller Center. In 2002, she was recognized in a Beliefnet “Godless Who’s Who” list as “The Student Activist” and in the Washington Blade as an “out” nonbeliever.

She began working in the Department of Campus & Community Programs at the Center for Inquiry in Amherst, NY, in 2006. After serving as a field organizer and as campus outreach coordinator, she became Outreach Director in 2012 and managed CFI’s U.S. branches and the international student outreach program. She also directed African Americans for Humanism. In 2012, she led a notable billboard and ad campaign featuring black atheists, and in 2009, she coordinated an international campaign highlighting blasphemy laws and free expression. Additionally, she was the lead organizer for the Women in Secularism 4 conference and the annual CFI Leadership Conference.

Debbie is also engaged in LGBTQ activism, civil rights work, and training new organizers in her community. She facilitates workshops and gives presentations on campaign-building, evidence-based activism, diversity and outreach, group organizing, humanism and politics, and other topics for community groups, campus groups, and national conferences across North America.


Kristin Mile

Kristin Mile is a lawyer and civil servant. She worked for the Directorate of the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority and the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration before being hired by the Norwegian Gender Equality Ombud in 1995. She headed this organisation from 2000 to 2005, and in 2006 was appointed secretary-general of the Norwegian Humanist Association, Human-Etisk Forbund, serving in this role for twelve years. Kristin is now working for the Council for Religious and Life Stance Communities.


Leo Igwe

Leo Igwe is both a scholar and an activist. He holds a B.Phil and an M.A in philosophy from Seat of Wisdom Seminary Owerri and University of Calabar in Nigeria and a doctoral degree in religious studies from the University of Bayreuth in Germany. Before embarking on an academic study of religion, Igwe founded the Nigerian Humanist Movement(now the Humanist Association of Nigeria) and worked for some years for the International Humanist and Ethical Union in the UK and the Center for Inquiry in the US. He was a guest professor (Winter Semester 2018/2019) at the Catholic University of Applied Sciences in Munich, Germany. He has research interest in witchcraft, religion and atheism in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Zambia. At the moment, Igwe devotes his time to campaigning for the release of the detained Nigerian Humanist, Mubarak Bala, working to eradicate witch persecution and fostering critical thinking in schools.


Roslyn Mould

Roslyn Mould has been a member of the Humanist Association of Ghana since it was founded in 2012. She was Secretary and Chair of the Young Humanists International African Working Group from 2014 to 2019. She has been Organizing Secretary, President and Council Member of the Humanist Association of Ghana from 2015 to 2019. As President of Humanist Association of Ghana she helped to build the young group to become the umbrella organization for non-religious groups in Ghana and the biggest allies to the LGBTI+ community and feminist movement in Ghana. She was recently elected Coordinator for the West African Humanist Network. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and Modern Languages.



Ambassadors are leading humanists from around the work who work with the Board of Humanists International to help promote our aims and objectives. They can be reached via our Contact page.

Gulalai Ismail

Gulalai Ismail is a humanist and women’s rights activist from Pakistan. She is one of the most known and inspirational figures within the global humanist movement since the very beginning of her activism, which started when she was only 16 years old.

In 2002 she founded Aware Girls, a non-governmental organization in Peshawar, Pakistan. The organization was founded to address violence and discrimination against women and young girls in Pakistan, and advocate for women’s rights, education, and access to sexual and reproductive health resources.

A Pashtun human rights activist, Gulalai is also the chairperson of the Youth Peace Network. She speaks on the subject of promoting peace and women’s empowerment at conferences internationally and is the recipient of the International Humanist of the Year Award from Humanists International, and of the Fondation Chirac Peace Prize for the Prevention of Conflict.

Gulalai Ismail’s political and social engagement cost her a lot. In September 2019, Gulalai Ismail was forced to escape from Pakistan and to reach the United States, after fearing for her life for speaking out against sexual assaults and disappearances allegedly carried out by the Pakistani military.


Uttam Niraula

For more than 13 years, Uttam Niraula has worked to promote humanism, human rights, good governance, civic space and culture within Nepal and on the global stage. From May 2016 until June 2022 Niraula served as a Board Member of Humanists International. In this capacity, he was instrumental to the growth of the organization at a critical phase.

Domestically, Niraula founded Society for Humanism (SOCH) Nepal in 2007. Niraula has been influential in promoting secularism in Nepal and the institutionalization of humanist values through participation in constitutional commissions and his work with parliamentarians. Niraula has been a staunch campaigner against Witchcraft persecution as well as the persistence of harmful traditional practices in Nepal, engaging with a range of mechanisms including the UN’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

Additionally, Niraula has worked for the United Nations’ Development Programme (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO) and civil society organizations to deliver impactful programmes on the ground. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Conflict, Peace and Development.


Staff can be reached via our Contact page.

Gary McLelland

Gary joined Humanists International in February 2017. Before this he worked for the Humanist Society Scotland since 2013 as Head of Communications and Public Affairs. He has also previously served as a Board member of the European Humanist Federation based in Brussels, as well as a board member of the Scottish Joint Committee on Religious and Moral Education.

Before working in Humanist campaigning, Gary worked for a global citizenship project at the Mercy Corps European headquarters in Edinburgh, and also in policy and service delivery in education and social work.

He has a BSc (hons) in psychology, a diploma in childhood and youth studies and master’s in human rights law, in which he researched the approach of the European Court of Human Rights and the United Nations’ approach to so-called ‘blasphemy laws’.


Elizabeth O’Casey

Elizabeth started as Director of Advocacy in January 2016, after two years heading Humanists International’s delegation to the UN in Geneva. Elizabeth manages Humanists International’s advocacy work at the UN (in Geneva, New York and Paris) and in Europe. She also designs and gives human rights and advocacy training sessions for politicians, diplomats, officials and other stakeholders. Content wise, her focus is human rights, equality, individual choice, and non-discrimination (primarily through the promotion of sexual rights, artistic and cultural rights, and the right to freedom of belief, expression, and dissent).

Elizabeth is a member of the Observatory on the Universality of Rights’ advocacy group,  a member of the Global Steering Committee of the UN Fez Process, an International Patron for the Pink Triangle Trust, an International Advisor at the Raif Badawi Foundation, and President of the UN NGO Committee on FoRB (in Geneva). Previously she served as a member of the OSCE Panel of Experts on Freedom of Religion or Belief.

She has a PhD in International Political Theory from the London School of Economics, where she was a Michael Leifer Scholar. She has spent time as a Global Justice fellow at Yale University, served in various policy and advocacy positions in the UK and EU, and has worked as a consultant on sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Elizabeth is based in Brussels.

Emma Wadsworth-Jones

Emma joined Humanists International as its first Casework & Campaigns Manager in April 2020. She is responsible for managing and coordinating Humanists International’s activities on behalf of humanists at risk, working in coordination with the rest of the team, and our members and partners. She also serves as principle editor of the Freedom of Thought Report.

Before joining Humanists International, Emma gained more than seven years’ experience in casework and campaigning at PEN International, where she advocated for freedom of expression and devised strategies to support writers at risk across Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Middle East.

She holds an MA in Psychology and Spanish, an MSc in Comparative Politics (Latin America), and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Human Rights.


Javan Lev Poblador

Javan joined Humanists International as Young Humanists International Coordinator and Social Media Consultant in February 2021. He works with young humanists worldwide, focusing on their development and growth as humanists. He also manages the social media platforms of Humanists International and assists in creating materials to promote humanism. In 2022, he was made the Membership Development Officer, tasked with looking after the Members and Associates of the organization.

Before joining Humanists International, Javan has been active in community work zeroing in on environmental conservation, climate justice, human rights, and civic engagement advocacies since 2012. He is currently the Chief Executive of Humanists Alliance Philippines International, a government-registered and progressive humanist organization in the Philippines that stands for human rights, secular education and strives for a world free from violence and division.

Javan is the co-founder and former pioneer president of the Association of Young Environmental Journalists, a youth-led environmental media organization. He is also the former Director for Design and Creatives of ATO-ClimatEducate Project, scholar alumni of Temasek Foundation International – Specialists Community Action and Leadership Exchange program in Singapore, and represented the Philippines during the ASEAN Plus Three Youth Environment Forum 2019 in Thailand.

Javan is based in the Philippines.


Jean Zong

Jean is a Finance and Operations Manager at Humanists International having joined the organisation in July 2019. She oversees the day to day financial and accounting processes at Humanists International, provides support to other staff, and ensures general smooth running of the office.

Before joining Humanists International, Jean gained several years of finance experience working in a variety of industries.

Jean holds a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from Beijing Technology and Business University, as well as a Master’s degree in Economics and Finance from University of Kent.


Kacem El Ghazzali

Kacem El Ghazzali is a MENA Advocacy and Casework Consultant at Humanists International. He has been representing Humanists International at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva since 2013.

His work focuses on researching, providing information and evaluating strategies relating to cases originating in the MENA region together with the Humanist at Risk coordinator and the rest of the team.

Kacem is also an essayist and a passionate advocate of secularism and humanism. His essays have been published, among others, in Le Monde, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Neue Zürcher Zeitung and The Huffington Post, and he is the co-editor of the secular Arabic/French magazine La Vague Culturelle. In 2018, he was among 30 other personalities named as Swiss of the Year by the Swiss Sunday newspaper SonntagsZeitung.


Lillie Ashworth

Lillie joined Humanists International as Advocacy Officer in April 2020. She supports our human rights advocacy work at the UN Human Rights Council. She works with members of Humanists International on enhancing their engagement with international human rights mechanisms, such as the Universal Periodic Review, and she designs and delivers capacity-building and training sessions on subjects related to human rights advocacy and the right to freedom of conscience and belief.

Lillie has a masters degree in international law and prior to joining Humanists International she was practising as a solicitor advising in international judicial proceedings. She also has experience volunteering in a legal capacity at the Centre for Women’s Justice (a UK-based charity supporting victims of domestic violence) and the Howard League for Penal Reform (a charity advocating for the rights of people in prison).

Lillie is based in Glasgow, Scotland.


Lone Ree Milkær

Lone joint Humanists International in May 2022 as our Humanist Professionals Network Manager. She is working on capacity building and expanding the direct networking between humanist organizations that provide services such as ceremonies and chaplaincy or existential care.

Lone has been a member of the board of the European Humanist Federation and a President of the Danish Humanist Society.

She has a masters degree in folkloristics from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and is currently studying to get her Ph.d. in cultural studies at the University of Bergen, Norway.

Before joining Humanists International, she gained a wide experience in project management, analysis, and evaluation in education and the social sector.


Rachel Abrego

Rachel Abrego joined Humanists International as Program Manager in November 2022. She is responsible for managing Humanists International ‘IDEAS’ program, “Increasing Diversity, Equality, and Security in South Asia,” empowering humanist groups and individuals in the region.

Before joining Humanists International, Rachel gained seven years of experience supporting development programs across Latin America with the National Center for State Courts and the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative.

She holds a Master in Jurisprudence in Rule of Law for Development from Loyola University Chicago and is fluent in Spanish.


Tania Giacomuzzi Mota

Tania joined Humanists International in December 2022, as its European Advocacy Officer. She advocates for Humanists International’s human rights priorities at the European institutions and is responsible for coordinating and networking European member organisations.

She holds a Master’s degree in European Law and has previously worked in the field of policy analysis at the European Parliament and at the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). She speaks Portuguese, Italian, French, and English.

Tania is based in Brussels.


Victoria Howson

Victoria joined Humanists International in April 2022. Her role looks after our fundraising and development initiatives, with the aim of increasing income and improving our supporter experience.

Victoria is an experienced fundraising and marketing professional, with almost 15 years experience working for a range of organizations in the UK. She began working in the third sector shortly after completing an Arts degree, and has been putting her creative skills to “good” use ever since. She has supporting qualifications in Direct and Digital Marketing, and the GDPR from the Institute of Data & Marketing. Amongst other things, Victoria is passionate about human rights, animal welfare, the arts, nature and the environment.

Victoria works remotely from North Yorkshire, UK. If you would like to get in touch with Victoria to discuss making a donation, leaving a gift in your Will or any other fundraising ideas you might have, you can reach her at: [email protected]


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