Board of Trustees

The Sulha Alliance has nine trustees, eight of whom appear below. The Charity Commission has granted a dispensation to one of the trustees and exempted them from inclusion of their name in the CIO's entry on the Register of Charities. 

Sarah Hutchinson

Sarah is an ex-Army Officer who, amongst many overseas and operational deployments, served in a mentoring role at the Afghan National Army Officer Academy, Kabul in 2016. During this time she worked with a female interpreter whose reports of intimidation and threats were not acted upon by her employer and was deeply saddened when she failed to report for work without explanation.

 After leaving the Army, and whilst studying for a post-graduate degree in International Relations, Sarah had the opportunity to support Sulha Alliance co-founder Sara de Jong as a research intern on her project supporting the claims to protection by former interpreters which led to her involvement with the Sulha Alliance.

Mukhtar Malakzai

Mukhtar Malakzai is a former interpreter and Supervisor of Locally Employed Civilians at the Labour Support Unit, who worked for the British Army in Afghanistan. He is currently working for a British NGO where he is the Project Coordinator for Refugee resettlement schemes, including the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Programme (ARAP). 

Mukhtar himself experienced the challenges of being a refugee for 7 years, as, despite his employment record with the British Army, he was initially not eligible for resettlement to the UK, under a previous limited resettlement programme, the now defunct Ex-Gratia Scheme. Mukhtar is adaptable to a wide range of challenges due to his background working for large multinational organisations, in different roles, including project manager and has been highly commended by Superiors in the past for completing all roles with tenacity and integrity.

Laurence Longe

Laurence is a retired Chartered Accountant who for 24 years was the Chief Executive Officer and then Chairman of RSM UK one of the largest UK professional service firms. Laurence is also a non-executive director of the UK independent publishing house Faber & Faber.

David Turner KC

David spent more than 17 years as a Reservist before finally prioritising both his family and his career as a commercial barrister specialising in insurance/reinsurance, professional liability and construction disputes and cases involving fires and explosions. His pro bono work has included acting for the families of service personnel killed on operations or training exercises. He spent six years as a trustee of a national medical charity, additionally serving on its grants board and finance committee. 

David Williams

David Williams : Award-winning journalist behind the Betrayal of the Brave campaign fighting for Afghan former interpreters and their families.  David has worked in conflict zones around the world for more than 40-years, often operating alongside frontline charities.  He has visited Afghanistan over 25-times as well as working extensively in neighbouring countries. David has also been at the heart of some of the biggest ever newspaper fund raising campaigns for disaster-hit countries and war zones.

Peter Gordon-Finlayson

Sulha Alliance Co-founder Peter has been advocating for former interpreters since 2017. He is an ex-Army Officer who deployed to Afghanistan's Helmand Province for a 6 month tour of duty in 2011, where he built strong working relationships with several interpreters. Peter spent 4 years in the army, reaching the rank of Captain, before moving into the corporate security sector. He became an advocate  when he discovered that an interpreter who he had worked with was facing rejection of his asylum case and at risk of deportation. After leading a successful campaign, Peter became involved in the wider issue of the treatment of former interpreters with the Sulha Alliance.

Ed Aitken

Sulha Alliance Co-founder Ed spent 8 years as an Army Officer and served on two tours of Helmand Province, Afghanistan. His Afghan interpreter from his first tour was one of the lucky few who was allowed to relocate to the UK. Realising the lack of support the resettled interpreters were given, Ed teamed up with his old interpreter and set up the Sulha Network in 2016. This became a widely used support group and doubled as a lobbying platform to campaign for better treatment of the Afghan interpreters resettled in the UK. Ed has now combined his experience of working with the Afghan interpreter community in the UK with the broader goals of the Sulha Alliance.  

Sara de Jong (Chair)

Sulha Alliance Co-founder Sara is a Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of York. For her ongoing research into the claims to protection and rights by Afghan and Iraqi military interpreters and other Locally Employed Civilians, she has interviewed former interpreters and advocates, including veterans, lawyers and civil society actors in the UK, US, Canada, Germany, France and the Netherlands. She provided oral evidence to the UK HoC Defence Select Committees and spoke at the Roundtable “Protect Translators and Interpreters, Protect the World” at the United Nations HQ in NYC. She also organised meetings to bring national and international advocates, stakeholders and interpreters together.