The Sulha Alliance Executive Board consists of 2 staff members and 4 founding members and volunteers, who advocate for and support Afghan former interpreters. We are supported by Community Representatives from the Afghan interpreter community. To protect their and their family's safety, we don't display their names and pictures. The Sulha Alliance CIO is supported by its Board of Trustees.
Anne Engstrom (Charity Foundation Officer)
Anne Engstrom has worked in the New Zealand parliament and New Zealand civil service before moving to the UK in 2005.
Anne has worked in local government, the UK parliament and a UK political party and also for Liberal International, a political membership organisation. In this role, Anne worked in Germany, Brussels and Senegal as well as the UK. During this time, Anne also lived as a military spouse on garrisons in Germany, Cyprus and the UK from 2009 until December 2020.
Since then, Anne has made the move from politics to the charity sector and now works as the Charity Foundation Officer for the Sulha Alliance. Anne supports the Executive Board in governance and compliance.
F. (Community Support Officer)
Photo © IWM HTF-2006-007-091
F. worked as an interpreter for the British military for almost 7 years in the southern province of Helmand, Afghanistan.
F. worked in many roles, and in particularly enjoyed working in CMIC (civilian and military cooperation), helping locals in isolated communities, for instance with setting up water-clearing projects, medical and dental clinics. In this role, F. was the main point of contact between British military and locals.
As Afghanistan was taken over by the Taliban in August 2021, F. was very concerned about his family, knowing that the first thing the Taliban would do would be to locate the interpreters who had worked with foreign forces. F. was supported by UK colleagues to reach Kabul airport for evacuation. The saddest moment was not being able to allow his son to say goodbye to his classmate. F. is happy to work with the Sulha Alliance to draw on his lived experience to support Afghan interpreters and LECs.
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.
Dr. Sara de Jong
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 HoC Defence Select Committee 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.
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.