Our team

THE TEAM

Mike Butcher

Co-Founder and Chairman of Techfugees Foundation

Mike Butcher is Editor-at-large of TechCrunch. Mike has been named one of the most influential journalists in European technology by Wired UK, The Daily Telegraph and the Evening Standard. He also founded the annual Europas Awards, the co-working network TechHub and has advised the UK government on tech startup policy. He was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list of 2016 for services to the UK technology industry and journalism.

Joséphine Goube

Co-founder & Executive Director of Techfugees For Impact

Alumnus from both Sciences Po Paris and the London School of Economics in urban development, Josephine has been the CEO of Techfugees, coordinating the tech community to create technology for and with displaced people since 2015. She seats on the board of the Norwegian Refugee Council and acts as an informal expert for the European Commission on migration reforms. Nominated as one of the top “30 under 30 Social Entrepreneurs” by Forbes in 2016, 2017 and 2018, in 2017 she was honored as “Digital Women” of the year in France in 2017. From 2012 to 2016, Josephine was Migreat’s partnerships manager, a London startup specialized in applying for visas for Europe.

© Assem Hamsho for Techfugees for Impact 2021

Raj Burman

Chief Executive of the Techfugees Foundation

Raj joined Techfugees as CEO in November 2020. Fellows of the renowned Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, Raj brings with him a wealth of experiences in various business fields and experienced leadership. His career spans three decades of scaling high-growth ventures across international markets, with specific knowledge of digital innovation, entrepreneurship and philanthropy. In his previous role at Sustain Ventures, Raj applied his philanthropy experience across  international impact ventures and corporates supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

Prior to that, Raj worked for GS1 as well as led the SME scaleup business accelerator in the United Kingdom for an independent body of the European Commission.

 

Ambre Cerny

Deputy Director in charge of Partnerships, Communications & PR and Legals

Ambre is a specialist in communication and public relations. She has worked in the public and political sector for almost 10 years, moving from local authorities to the French National Assembly, then to the Presidency of the French Republic with François Hollande, and finally as Chief of Staff and political advisor for the Ministers of Culture and for Victims assistance (after Paris attacks in 2015). Committed in particular to improving the situation of refugees as well as climate change, she’s convinced that social innovation can – and must – play an essential role to better our life together. So she became involved with Techfugees in 2018 and actively participated in structuring the French charity ‘Techfugees for Impact’ and its activities, including the #TF4Women Fellowship programme aimed at accelerating the professional inclusion of women refugees in tech

 

© Assem Hamsho for Techfugees for Impact 2021

Louise Brosset

Global Community Coordinator

Graduated in entrepreneurship from ESCP Europe in Paris and Berlin, and City University in London, Louise worked as a research assistant in cognitive science. She cofounded  Black Sheep, a student association aiming at learning and duplicating best practices from NGOs working with forcibly displaced people to scale innovation (focus Asia). She joined Techfugees in 2018.

 

Cherine Ali

#TF4Women European Scaling Manager

A Syrian civil activist who has worked and managed several humanitarian and peacebuilding projects in Syria since 2012. She was also a co-founder and member in many initiatives in order to raise awareness about human rights, women empowerment and create safe spaces for displaced children. Chérine has been in France as a refugee since October 2015, graduated in sustainable engineering from “ENISE” The National School of Engineers of Saint Etienne – France in 2018 and the Faculty of Civil Engineering-Damascus University. She was a fellow in TF4Women 2019. Chérine is now part of the TechFugees team because she believes that empowering and ensuring equal professional opportunities is an original human right for any refugee.

© Assem Hamsho for Techfugees for Impact 2021

Alexis Lefranc

#TF4Women France Local Project Manager

A graduate of the University of London in English Literature, International Relations, and Sustainable Development, Alexis started his career as a chef before moving into international education in 2005, working as an English teacher in Russia and China. Since 2014, he has been active on several education for development programmes in Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, both with large organisations (British Council, EU funded LASER programme) and small NGOs (Acting for Change International, North Jordan). Passionate about languages and cultural diversity, Alexis is a committed activist for world citizenship and solidarity beyond borders. He is specifically interested in training methodologies for digital literacy, with a focus on displaced populations.

© Assem Hamsho for Techfugees for Impact 2021

Fatami Saleh

#TF4Women France Community Coordinator

Graduated in international business law from the Sorbonne in Paris, France, Fatami has worked in skills sponsorship schemes and for pro bono initiatives for both the private sectors and charities. She campaigns for the rights of refugee women and is one of the volunteer experts of the Diair (Interministerial Delegation for the Reception and Integration of Refugees).

She joined Techfugees in April 2021.

© Assem Hamsho for Techfugees for Impact 2021

Matilde Spoldi

#TF4Women Italy Local Project Manager

Graduated in Anthropology of International Development in London, Matilde has been working for the past 10 years supporting asylum seekers and refugees across Europe. She collaborated with UNHCR and IOM to implement activities in refugee camps, including local organisations and municipalities such as StandbymeLesvos, ICEI, Migrants Organise, AFOL and many others. Having extensive experience of community mediation and promoting diversity in various project management roles, she specialises in programme design and implementation related to the professional inclusion of migrants, also providing NGOs and their staff with the right tools and training. Sharing our vision and core values, she (just) joined Techfugees in 2021 to create best solutions at a higher level of impact!

Chiara

#TF4Women Italy Assistant to the project Manager

Chiara holds a MSc in Gender, Development and Globalization from the London School of Economics and a BA in International Relations from King’s College London. Throughout her studies, and research experiences, she has focused her work on applying a gendered lens to the phenomenon of human mobility, in all its forms, specifically within the context of the broader Mediterranean. In the past she has worked with different non-profit organizations, such as All Survivors Project, a non-profit focused on advocating for survivors of gender-based violence in contexts of conflict and displacement. This experience led to her research on gender-based violence against refugees and migrants in the context of Libyan detention centres. Most recently, she has been working with the Italian Institute for International and Political Studies on their research and events initiatives focused on security, prosperity and migration in the broader Mediterannean. Chiara started volunteering with Techfugees in March 2020 on the Datahub as a correspondent for Libya and the Mediterranean more broadly, and later helped redesign the Datahub’s report format. She officially joined the Techfugees team in 2021 to support the implementation of the #TF4Women Fellowship Program in Milan, Italy, where she will also act as one of the co-leads for the TF Italian Chapter of volunteers.

Haidar Baqir

Data Hub Technical Product Manager

Haidar Baqir holds a Master’s degree in engineering and has been working in emergency telecommunications for the last 18 years. Mr. Baqir had been working with the World Food Programme (WFP). He served in multiple field emergency operations, including Sudan 2004, Lebanon 2006, Somalia 2007, South Sudan 2011, Ebola outbreak response in West Africa in 2014, Nepal following the earthquake, and Yemen in 2015. He also served as part of the Global Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) based in Rome and as Regional IT Emergencies Preparedness and Response Officer for the World Food Programme based in Bangkok, covering the Asia and Pacific region. In his role with Global ETC based in Rome 2015-2017, Mr.Baqir led the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) coordination model project for WFP and the humanitarian response community.  His final deployment with United Nations was with the Telecommunications Development Bureau of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) based in Geneva working as emergency telecommunications and climate change coordinator.

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Board Members and Special Advisors

Petra Johansson

Financial Director & Board Member of Techfugees Foundation

Petra Johansson has 20+ years experience from the events industry ranging from sponsorship, media and delegate sales at organisations including IIR Conferences (now Informa Group), Incisive Media, and Financial News. She has been based in London since 1998 and runs events consulting company TwistedTree since 2007, and is also co-founder of 2Pears.

Min Teo

Board Member of Techfugees Foundation

Founding member of Techfugees and former Chapter Lead of Techfugees UK, Min has an extensive experience in the field of financial inclusion and cryptocurrencies. Based in London, she currently works as managing Investment Partner at ConsenSys Investments.

George Papandreou

Special Advisor

George A. Papandreou is former Prime Minister of Greece (2009-2011) and Councillor at the World Refugee Council. Currently he is the President of the Socialist International (since 2006- ) the largest global organization of progressive political parties and President of the Movement of Democratic Socialists in Greece. He is also the Vice President of the Foundation for Olympic Truce and a member of the Global Leadership Council of Sustainable Development Solutions Network – a Global Initiative for the United Nations. He is a member of the Global Leadership Council of the humanitarian organization Mercy Corps. He is a Commissioner of the Global Commission on Drug Policy.  He is a member of Club de Madrid. #TFSummit18 – George Papandreou: “Migrants and refugees should be seen as the new Europeans”

 

Axelle Lemaire

Special Advisor

A French and Canadian citizen, Axelle Lemaire worked in the French Governement as Minister for Innovation and Digital Affairs between 2014 and  2017. She scaled up the French Tech ecosystem, introduced the Digital Republic Bill to Parliament, and initiated the national Artificial Intelligence Strategy. Before being elected as an MP in 2012, she worked as a lawyer and researcher specialized in international law and human rights. She’s now Partner at Roland Berger Paris.

Ahmad Sufian Bayran

Special Advisor

Ahmad Sufian Bayran is Techstars Middle East and Africa Regional Manager, a worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed in 150 countries with a variety of programs including Startup Weekend. Ahmad SB is social entrepreneurship, startup, and collaborative economy, expert. His website is one of the most prominent blogs in the Arab world that tackles the power of the collaborative economy and Blockchain. In addition, he is also, Jusoor Program Director, Entrepreneurs in Residence at Aliqtsadi. He mentored several startups and non-profit organizations and has published two books on entrepreneurship in conflict zones and the refugees community.

Aline Sara

President of Techfugees' Charity

Aline Sara is the Co-founder and CEO of NaTakallam, an award-winning social enterprise that connects refugees and displaced persons with work opportunities in the language sector through the freelance economy. Lebanese, born and raised in New York, Aline completed her Baccalaureate at the Lycée Français in New York City and graduated in psychology from Tufts University in Boston. She then moved to Beirut and worked in conflict resolution and human rights before transitioning into journalism, focusing on human and women’s rights and wider socio-political affairs before, during and after the Arab Uprisings. In 2015 she came up with the idea for NaTakallam in light of the challenging work situation for the million+ Syrian refugees in Lebanon, and while searching for ways to practice her own Arabic skills.

Jay Corless

Techfugees' Charity Treasurer

Jay Corless is Senior Director for Innovation at the UN Foundation. In this position he seeks to identify, showcase and scale social innovations that deliver impact on international development goals. His professional work spans two decades within the UN System and the private sector. He has broad work experience in communication, online technologies, cultural diplomacy, design innovations, policy development and project management.

Techfugees' Charity Secretary

Marion Lemaire is a passionate digital professional. She has worked for successful online fashion and design brands for 7 years. Since graduating from an MA in Media & Communications in Lille, France, Marion has traveled and lived in several countries, eventually settling down in London, UK. She is currently providing consulting services in e-commerce, whilst also developing personal projects, centered around her passion for vintage and fashion.

Techfugees' Charity Administrator

Sharanya works at Gravity, a French Kenyan start-up which uses digital identity to help refugees and SMEs gain access to services. Sharanya has extensive experience in monitoring and evaluation of humanitarian programmes. She’s co-leading the French chapter of Techfugees.

Techfugees' Charity Administrator

Ex Googler and Rocket Internet managing Director, Alex is currently exploring new projects and interested in things related to technology & positive. He’s co-leading the French chapter of Techfugees.

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