Professor Evelyn Collins CBE

Professor Evelyn Collins CBE is Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Equal Rights Trust and was previously Chair of the Board of Equinet, the European Network of Equality Bodies, from October 2013 to October 2017.  She is also currently a Trustee on the Board of the Abraham Initiatives UK and a member of the National Statistician’s Advisory Committee on Inclusive Data.

Evelyn was Chief Executive of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, an organisation with a wide remit under Northern Ireland’s equality laws, from March 2000 until February 2023.

Evelyn is a law graduate of Sheffield University, and has Masters’ degrees from the University of Toronto (Criminology) and Queen’s University Belfast (Human Rights and Discrimination Law).

Evelyn has worked on equality issues since the 1980s, mostly in Northern Ireland but also as a national expert working on gender equality in the European Commission in Brussels and more widely through her engagement with Equinet and various EU projects.

Evelyn was a member of the European Commission’s Advisory Committee on Equal Opportunities between Women and Men from 1992 to 2020, serving as its President in 2005.  Evelyn also served on the Board of the Chief Executives’ Forum in Northern Ireland from 2014 – 2020 and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Evelyn was awarded the CBE in 2008, for services to the public in Northern Ireland.

In July 2014, the University of Ulster awarded Evelyn the honorary degree of Doctor of Law (LLD) for her contribution to the promotion of equality and good relations.

In May 2023, Queen’s University Belfast conferred the title of Honorary Professor on Evelyn, where she will contribute to the work of its School of Law.

Vice Chair

Danby Bloch

Danby Bloch is chairman of London wealth managers and independent financial planners Helm Godfrey. He is also Head of Editorial Strategy at business research specialists Platforum.

Danby was one of the Co-founders of Taxbriefs Financial Publishing which produces customised newsletters and other publications for firms of financial planners and accountants as well as publishing textbooks for financial advisers and investment specialists. Danby was a director of investment platform operators Nucleus Financial Group, a successful financial technology company based in Edinburgh. 

Danby has written and edited several books on financial planning including several of the Chartered Insurance Institute’s learning texts and innumerable articles for the UK national and trade press. He is currently the editor of a monthly newsletter that is part of the Chartered Insurance Institute’s programme for financial advisers’ continuing professional development. 

Danby read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Wadham College Oxford. He holds the Chartered Insurance Institute’s Diploma in Financial Planning.  

He is vice chair of the Equal Rights Trust and chair of its audit and risk committee. He is also a Patron of the Friends of the Pitt Rivers Museum Oxford and for many years was on the Council of Modern Art Oxford. Danby was a governor and then chair of governors of Oxford Brookes University and subsequently Pro-Chancellor. He was later Chair of the board of the Oxford Playhouse. Playhouse.


Robin Allen KC

For over 40 years Robin Allen KC has worked as a barrister specialising in equality and discrimination and human rights law, working both in the UK and internationally. 

In 1993 he was made an expert adviser to the European Commission on the law affecting the most disadvantaged. In 1998 – 1999 he worked with the European Commission on the proposals for what became the Race Directive and Framework Equality Directive, and throughout the 2000s he lectured judges and jurists from across all Member States on the new European equality laws. From 2002 – 2007 he was special legal adviser to the Disability Rights Commission. He was elected to the Bar Council of England and Wales in 2013 and chaired its Equality and Diversity and Social Mobility Committee for six years. In 2018, he set up the AI Law Consultancy to disseminate the developing laws and standards concerning the impact of AI on equality and non-discrimination. Its work has been referenced by the European Commission, Equinet, the Council of Europe and the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, as well as the UK Government. He has written widely on issues relating to equality and discrimination and in 2018 he gave the Hamlyn Lectures under the overall title “Why does Equality seem so difficult?” Robin has appeared in over 40 cases in the UK’s highest court, the House of Lords/Supreme Court and many leading cases in the CJEU and the ECHR.

Ferdous Ara Begum

Ferdous Ara Begum is the member of the Board of Trustees of HelpAge International and a former member of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (2007-2010). She is a gender and ageing issues specialist.

As a CEDAW Member she had the opportunity to examine the reports on women’s advancement in 115 countries. She worked to realize equality between men and women through ensuring women’s equal excess to and equal opportunity in every aspect of their life including public and political life. She took the lead role to formulate the General Recommendation on protection of human rights of older women, which is called General Recommendation No 27.

As the member of the Board of Trustees of HelpAge, she influenced the policy guideline of the organization for the benefit of the older people, so that they have a dignified life with adequate social protection, access to health services, protection from violence and they have a voice.

As a former civil servant, she was the first woman to lead Bangladesh Television as Director General, and also the first female Commissioner of Taxes in Bangladesh. She served as a board member of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Grameen Bank for six years.

In her 32 years of continuous public service, she has been active in educating and creating public awareness on the importance of women’s rights and actively influenced women’s financial independence.

She also worked  with the International Institute on Ageing (UN-Malta).  She is also the country representative of INPEA from Bangladesh.

She has a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University and 9 months Diploma on Public Administration from Princeton University. She is  the CEO of the Active Ageing, Care Training and  Research Centre in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Paddy Coulter O.B.E.

Paddy Coulter, a specialist in media and international development/human rights, is a partner in the Oxford Global Media consultancy. He is an Associate Fellow of the Oxford University graduate college, Green Templeton. Paddy is a Trustee of the Geddes Trust which promotes student journalism in Oxford and for the past eight years was Chair of the International Board of ARTICLE 19, the international human rights organisation protecting media and information freedoms.

He formerly worked as Communications Director for the Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI) of Oxford University’s Department of International Development and before that, from 2001 to 2007), as Director of Studies at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford.

Paddy has a background in television where he was previously Director of the independent television production company, the International Broadcasting Trust, producing over a hundred television programmes for BBC TV, Channel 4 Television and other leading broadcasters on global issues. He has won the Gold Award from the United Nations Correspondents Association in New York (for the television documentary series, ‘Under the Blue Flag’).

He has also extensive experience of trust boards having served as trustee for Oxfam, the UK Committee of UNICEF, Comic Relief and the Media Trust.

Niall Crowley

Niall Crowley is currently working as an independent equality and human rights expert at European level and at Member State level, including in Ireland. As co-founder of the Values Lab, he has innovated in supporting values-led organisation building and values-based approaches to the new public sector equality and human rights statutory duty. He was formerly Chief Executive Officer of the Equality Authority. He led the development of this institution for ten years from its establishment in 1999. Prior to that he worked for over a decade in the civil society sector. He played a leading role in the entry of this sector into the then social partner arrangements.

His career began with a BAI and BA focused in Civil Engineering from Trinity College, Dublin and work in this field in Ireland, Zambia, and Mozambique.

Quinn McKew

Quinn McKew is the Executive Director of ARTICLE 19, the leading international freedom of expression organisation. She brings to ARTICLE 19 a background in community building, environmental activism, and the protection of human rights in the digital age.  Above all she brings a decade-long dedication to the value of freedom of expression to create and maintain a more inclusive, a fairer and a more sustainable world.

As a graduate of both Stanford (international relations and the environment) and of Georgetown University (MBA in non-profit management), McKew’s experience has spanned both the public, private and third sectors. Since joining ARTICLE 19 in 2011 she has played a vital role in developing a world-leading programme of work on digital infrastructure and human rights, and become a leading voice on the protection of civic space from a rights-based perspective.  She is also a board member of The Equal Rights Trust – an international organization combating discrimination.  

Prior to joining ARTICLE 19, Quinn was a senior strategist with a London-based consultancy specialising in sustainability, working with major corporations to develop the means to integrate sustainability into their operations.  This was part of a life-long passion for the natural world which saw her progress from research fellow with the World Wildlife Fund to lead the American Rivers Wild River Campaign as Senior Director of the organization, during which she had access to the highest levels of state and federal government.  Quinn also helped to launch the Georgetown Women’s Leadership Initiative while working towards her MBA.

María Rachid

María Rachid is the Director of the Institute Against Discrimination of the Ombudsperson Office of the city of Buenos Aires, member of the Executive Board of the Argentine LGBT Federation (FALGBT+), and Professor at the Faculty of Journalism and Social Communication of the National University of La Plata.

Rachid was a legislator of the City Council of Buenos Aires from December of 2011 through December of 2015, where she was also the president of the Commission of Human Rights, Guarantees and Anti-discrimination. As a legislator, she presented more than 600 initiatives.

From 2010 through 2011, Rachid was the Vice President of the National Institute Against Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Racism (INADI). She has been an activist for the human rights of LGBT+ individuals since the 1990’s. In 1998 she was one of the founders of one of the most representative organizations of the LGBT+ activism in Argentina, La Fulana. When the Argentine LGBT Federation was founded in 2005, she was elected as their first president.

In 2010, Rachid was declared “Public Figure of the Year” by “El País” one of the main Journals in Spain, for her role in the campaign for Equal Marriage in Argentina in 2010 and voted unanimously an “Outstanding Figure in the Fight for Human Rights” by the Legislature of the City of Buenos Aires.

Rachid wrote the Antidiscrimination Law of the City of Buenos Aires and was one of the authors of both the Equal Marriage Law and the Gender Identity Law, and has contributed to many bills that are currently being debated by the National Congress in Argentina, such as the project for a new National Antidiscrimination Law and an Integral Trans Law.