Welcome to Free Word. Interested in exploring the political and cultural power of words? Join us at an upcoming event or read about the themes we explore.

Our Trustees

Free Word is supported by a Board of Trustees whose knowledge and experience span publishing, law, finance and the arts.

Tim Duffy (Chair)

Tim Duffy is Chairman of M&C Saatchi (UK) Ltd.

He has worked in advertising for over 25 years, joining Saatchi and Saatchi in 1986.  In 1995 he was one of the founders of M&C Saatchi which now operates in 19 countries, and has specialist expertise in public relations, direct marketing, digital and mobile marketing.

He has a particular interest in communications strategy and has advised a range of blue chip companies, including British Airways, Procter and Gamble, GlaxoSmithKline, the National Lottery, Royal Bank of Scotland, Transport for London, and London 2012. He has worked extensively with government, most recently advising the Department of Health on its anti-obesity and cancer strategies.

His personal interests include political history and literature, and he is a judge for the 2014 Josephine Hart Poetry Awards.  Tim is Chair of the General Media Panel, part of the Advertising Standards Authority.

Paul Aggett

Paul Aggett has worked in the financial services industry in the UK for over 20 years. Paul has been a finance director of a life and pensions group, a director of a financial services outsourcing supplier, a director of a general insurance broker, a director of a global asset management business and a chief executive of a European-wide property asset management business.

He is currently finance director of World Media Rights, a television media production company and finance director of Peters Fraser and Dunlop a literary agency.

His other interests include the theatre and assisting charities. He is a non-executive director to a financial services charitable trust and was formerly a director of a theatre company.

Ekow Eshun

Ekow Eshun is a writer and broadcaster. The former director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts, he is Chair of the Fourth  Plinth Commissioning Group, overseeing London’s most significant public art project. He appears frequently on TV and radio shows including the Today programme, Saturday Review and Channel 4 and his writing appears in publications including the Financial Times, the Guardian, the Independent, the Observer, the New Statesman, Vogue and Wired. His book, Black Gold of the Sun, was nominated for the Orwell prize for political writing.

Paul Field

Paul Field is CEO Europe of TouchCast, a New York-based start-up working with major broadcasters, publishers and brands to produce interactive video. TouchCast has put all the key features of a broadcast TV studio inside an app – and enables the web to be experienced inside HD video.

Paul is also a Director of Higgaboom, a boutique content strategy and digital publishing consultancy, which also invests in and works with early stage start-ups focused on technologies disrupting traditional media.

Until December 2013 Paul was Publisher and Editor of Mail Plus, a premium, paid-for digital brand for the Daily Mail, where he was also Associate Editor. He was previously Editor-in-Chief of the Irish Daily Mail and Irish Mail on Sunday, and Executive Editor of the Mail on Sunday.

Paul divides his time between London and his family home on the Suffolk coast.

Sasha Havlicek

Sasha Havlicek

Sasha Havlicek is Co-founder and CEO of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD).

As founding CEO of this global ‘think and action tank,’ Sasha has led ISD’s pioneering programmes and campaigns, advising governments at the highest levels and working with the private and civil society sectors to deliver real-world solutions to inter-communal conflict, extremism and terrorism.

She has spearheaded the largest global network of former extremists, Against Violent Extremism (AVE), in partnership with Google’s Jigsaw; the Strong Cities Network, the first global counter-extremism cities network; and the Innovation Hub, a partnership with Facebook, Google and Twitter to counter extremists’ online efforts. Most recently, she launched the Online Civil Courage Initiative designed to amplify efforts to counter hate speech online, with Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg.

Sasha chairs the 11-country Policy Planners’ Network on Countering Radicalisation and she co-chaired the EU’s Internet Radicalisation working group from 2012-2015. Sasha previously served as Senior Director at the EastWest Institute (EWI) where she led conflict resolution programming.

She is a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations, has testified before US Congress and is a regular commentator in the media (CNN, BBC, Channel 4 News and other networks).

Isabel Hilton

Isabel Hilton is a writer and broadcaster based in London. She is founding editor of chinadialogue.net, an innovative, fully bilingual Chinese-English website devoted to building a shared approach on climate change and environmental issues with China. She has reported extensively from South and East Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

In addition to her writing career, she has made several radio and television documentaries and has presented for BBC Radio Three and Four.

A founding trustee of Free Word, she is also a trustee of the British American Project. She has served as a member of the Editorial Board of International Affairs, the Advisory Boards of the Latin America Bureau and the European Movement. She is a member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs, the British Association of China Scholars, the Society of Authors and the advisory board of the Asia Society’s Arthur Ross Centre. She is a fellow of the Asia Society in New York, the Royal Society of Arts, and the British American Project.

Razia Iqbal

Razia Iqbal

Razia Iqbal is a presenter for BBC News; she is one of the main presenters of Newshour, the flagship news and current affairs programme on BBC World Service radio, and she also regularly presents The World Tonight on Radio 4.

She was the BBC’s arts correspondent for a decade. Razia has worked as a political reporter and as a foreign correspondent in Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

She was born in Uganda, Kampala and came to London as a child.

Ursula Owen

Ursula Owen has been an influential figure in the worlds of literature and free expression since the 1970s. She was a founder director of Virago Press, for two years cultural policy advisor to the Labour Party, and, as editor and chief executive, revitalised Index on Censorship.

From 2003 to 2009 Ursula was project director for the Free Word Centre, taking it through from an idea to a concrete reality with premises in London. She is now founder trustee of Free Word. She is on the board of the Southbank Centre and a trustee of English Touring Opera and World Film Collective.

She was awarded an OBE in 2003 and lives in London.

Elif Shafak

Elif Shafak is an award-winning novelist and the most widely read woman writer in Turkey. She is also a political commentator and an inspirational public speaker.

She writes in both Turkish and English, and has published 15 books, 10 of which are novels, including The Bastard of Istanbul and The Forty Rules of Love. Her books have been published in 47 languages.

Shafak is a TED Global speaker, a member of Weforum Global Agenda Council on Creative Economy and a founding member of ECFR (European Council on Foreign Relations). She was awarded the title of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres in 2010.

She has been featured in major newspapers and periodicals around the world, including the Financial Times, the Guardian, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and La Repubblica.

She has taught at various universities in Turkey, UK and USA. She holds a degree in International Relations, a masters degree in Gender and Women’s Studies and a PhD in Political Science.

Follow her on Twitter @Elif_Safak

Philip Tranter

Philip Tranter is a solicitor and Legal Director of the Square Health group, a healthcare services and health technology provider.

Prior to taking up his present role he was Group Company Secretary with Guardian Media Group plc (publisher of the Guardian) and its parent, The Scott Trust Limited and, prior to that, a solicitor in private practice where he had over 25 years’ experience as a partner in law firms in London and the Thames Valley. He has particular experience working with businesses from the media, technology and marketing services sectors and in addition to his role as a trustee of Free Word has been a trustee of a smaller, grant-making charity since its inception in 1997.

Outside professional life, his interests include political biography and literature, music and the arts generally. Noisy therapy comes in the form of motorbiking and occasional gigs wielding a bass guitar.

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