The Awareness Team
Staff, Trustees and volunteers.
The Foundation has four staff and a team of volunteers.
The Revd Nadim Nassar
The Revd Nadim Nassar is the Director and co-founder of the Awareness Foundation.
He was born and raised in Lattakia, Syria; he is the only Syrian priest in the Anglican Church. Revd Nassar studied at the Near East School of Theology between 1981 and 1988 during the Lebanese Civil War, which had a profound effect on him. After working in Syria and studying in Germany, he then lectured in different universities in London, including the American Intercontinental University where he taught world religions, and London Guildhall University where he developed the 'Faith and Citizenship' seminar.
He is a member of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland's Inter Faith Theological Advisory Group, and the Coptic Orthodox Church UK Asylum Advocacy Group, and he advises the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on International Religious Freedom and the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
St.John Wright joined the Awareness Foundation in 2004. He is responsible for the day to day management of the Foundation, with special responsibility for the development of our new initiatives, Facing Faith and PAX. He gives talks on the Foundation’s work around the world, and is also responsible for communications, including the Foundation’s English-language websites.
Huda Nassar has been Director for the Middle East since 2008. She is responsible for the development and implementation of all Awareness Foundation initiatives in the Middle East, assisted by a highly qualified group of consultants. Born and raised in Syria, Huda received her MA in Pastoral Theology from Birmingham University, England.
When conflict followed swift on the heels of the Arab Spring, Huda developed a ground-breaking initiative to train young Syrian and Iraqi men and women to be Ambassadors for Peace in their communities. Her Little Heroes programme similarly helps displaced children to heal some of emotional damage that they have suffered and to make new friends in their wider community and so discover their peace-making potential for a brighter future through education and spiritual nurturing Since the launch of these projects in 2014 and 2015, over 450 young men and women, and nearly 1,500 children, have already been helped. Huda is working to extend this initiative to the rest of the Middle East.
Huda works to bridge new relationships of respect and understanding between the West and the Middle East. She gives talks and lectures at conferences and events in the UK, North America, Hong Kong and the Middle East, focussing on the importance of preserving and supporting the Christian presence and identity in the Middle East.
The Awareness Board
The Chairs of our Board of Trustees
The Foundation has had three Chairs of Trustees during its existence.
Nigel Macdonald became a Trustee of the Awareness Foundation in December 2012 and was appointed chairman in November 2014. He shares the conviction of all those who have been associated with the Foundation that we need to build understanding between the faiths through enabling and empowering Christians to understand their own faith better, and how all are called to build God-blessed peaceful and loving relationships.
Nigel and his wife Maggie are both Elders in the United Reformed Church, and he is Secretary of that denomination’s Cheam church in South London.
His career was in the accounting profession, (during which he was privileged to serve as President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland) where he also served on Government boards, United Nations bodies, the Cadbury Committee which initiated the present framework for Corporate Governance, and was a member of the Competition Commission. He retains active links to business (including membership of the Board of a FTSE 100 and Chairmanship of a family business founded in 1676), and to other charitable activities including serving a Chairman of the Royal Greenwich Museums Foundation, following ten years as a Trustee of the National Maritime Museum.
Mrs Bendu Cooper
Mrs Bendu Cooper was appointed chair in 2012. She is the founder and director of the Gallery of African Art in Mayfair, London. She stepped in after we lost our Founding Chair, a delicate and sensitive time for us all, and she expertly steered the Foundation onwards into new waters, reaching new heights and changing even more lives around the world.
Bendu left the Board in February 2014.
We are all grateful to her for her wise counsel, unfailing support and her strategic insight.
Charles Longbottom OBE
As Founding Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Awareness Foundation, Charles Longbottom OBE was responsible for guiding the Foundation from its very beginning in 2003 until 2012.
Charles enjoyed a long and distinguished career in business and public service. He was Member of Parliament for York from 1959 to 1966, and he served as Chairman of leading City-based shipping companies.
Charles was Chair of the Acorn Christian Foundation from 1988 to 2001. In addition to his responsibilities at the Awareness Foundation, Charles was for many years Churchwarden at Holy Trinity Church, Sloane Square.
Charles was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2012 New Year Honours for his public and charitable services.
Charles Longbottom, our dear friend and mentor, died on 5th February 2013.