To carry out our research and deliver our services, we engage some of the world’s most talented thinkers, analysts and experts. We put together unrivalled expertise across a range of global issues and disciplines.
Catherine Fieschi is the director of Counterpoint. After ten years as an academic she moved in to the policy world: first as director of the London-based think tank Demos and then at the helm of the think tank of the British Council.
In 2011, the combination of a life spent traveling and living abroad, a doctorate in comparative politics and limitless confidence in the possibility of cross-cultural understanding finally led her to found Counterpoint: a consultancy that helps clients across the public and private sectors manage the impact of cultural and social dynamics on politics and markets.
As a result, Counterpoint's approach is intrinsically comparative and draws on a variety of social science disciplines as well interpretive approaches in order to reveal what is too often left out of mainstream risk and political analyses.
Catherine holds a PhD in Comparative Politics from McGill University. She is the author of In the Shadow of Democracy (MUP) and of numerous pamphlets and articles on extremism, populism, citizen engagement and social innovation. She has advised governments, businesses and foundations on aspects of risk, strategy and policy.
Catherine is also founder of the mentoring scheme 50ft Women, a Fellow of the Department of Government at LSE and a trustee of the policy think tank IARS and of The Creative Society. She is a regular contributor to radio and television debates. Catherine grew up in Senegal, Italy, the United States, France and Canada and is fluent in a number of languages. She has lived in the UK for a long time now and is ready to call it home.
Lila Caballero is head of projects at Counterpoint and the project manager and senior researcher on the Recapturing Europe’s Reluctant Radicals project. As head of projects she monitors the finances and delivery of all Counterpoint's projects, drawing from over five years of experience on research projects in Mexico and the UK, and a brief career in the Mexican financial sector.
Lila holds a PhD in Government and an Msc in Comparative Politics from the London School of Economics. During her postgraduate studies she focused on the underlying power dynamics of institutions, which are deeply rooted in culture and traditions. At Counterpoint she has been able to continue exploring the 'hidden wiring' and cultural complexities of European institutions, mainly through her work on populism. Lila has authored, co-authored and commissioned various pieces on the hidden wiring of populism within the Reluctant Radicals project, and often writes short pieces on current events for the Counterpoint website.
She is bilingual in Spanish and English and fluent in French.
Marley Morris is a researcher and consultant at Counterpoint on the Recapturing Europe’s Reluctant Radicals project. Marley focuses on populist parties and movements, political narratives, and the social and cultural determinants of instability in Europe.
Marley's reports include 'Recapturing the Reluctant Radical: How to win back Europe's populist vote', co-written with Catherine Fieschi and Lila Caballero, and 'Conflicted Politicians: the populist radical right in the European Parliament'. He is also currently managing the 'Rival Political Narratives' project and is leading a series of populism 'self-defence' workshops on how to counter populist rhetoric in Europe.
Prior to his work at Counterpoint, Marley was at the Violence and Extremism programme at Demos, where he contributed to the report 'The New Face of Digital Populism’ and developed a well-being index for a study on ageing across Europe. Marley has a Masters degree in Mathematics and Philosophy from Oxford University.
Victoria Zeeb is a researcher and consultant, currently working on the 50ft Women project at Counterpoint. She has a BA (Hons) in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Durham University and an MSc in Political Sociology from the London School of Economics. At Counterpoint, her work focuses on the impact of cultural and structural factors on women's experiences in society, politics and organisations. As a native German speaker who grew up in several different countries, she is particularly interested in how women's experiences differ across cultures.
Giulio Carini is a researcher and consultant at Counterpoint focusing on cognitive linguistics and political psychology, in particular on the Hidden Frames project exploring framing from a cultural perspective: how do a particular culture’s symbols, myths, narratives and metaphors contribute to the frames in which a policy is understood? As part of this research, Giulio analyses the moral codes that operate underneath the everyday discourse on a range of challenging political questions, from human rights to the future of the European Union.
He holds a Juris Doctor from Cornell University Law School and an MA in International Relations Theory from King's College, London. Prior to joining Counterpoint, Giulio was a researcher and investigator for the NGO Global Witness where he authored numerous reports on resource-related conflict and associated human rights abuses and also worked as an attorney for international law firms in New York, London and Milan including in administrative law and regulatory practice.
Solveig Veerkamp works with Lila Caballero on the reluctant radicals project and supports the organisation’s social media communication strategy. She is interested in the social amplification of risk, particularly through digital media.
She has a BA (Hons) in Communication from the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, and is currently finishing her MSc in Risk Analysis at King´s College London. Before moving to the UK, she worked for the strategic communications consultancy Zimat Consultores. She has experience in institutional, organisational and crisis communication, and has worked with various international organisations from the private and public sectors, as well as NGOs. She speaks fluent English, Spanish and German.
Ulrike Grassinger leads the Bridges Project at Counterpoint. Bridges brings top researchers into dialogue with policy-makers, politicians and activists in order to address the policy dilemmas of today's open and diverse societies.
Throughout her professional life - both as an academic and in her work as a consultant - Ulrike has questioned assumptions about individual and collective behaviour. She shares Counterpoint's interest in exploring the hidden social and cultural wiring of societies and its relation to the way in which these frame policy and political problems. Her interests focus in particular on the application of psychological research to policy. Ulrike holds a BSc in Psychology from the University of Heidelberg and an MSc in Social and Cultural Psychology from the London School of Economics. Her PhD work for the University of Flensburg, focuses on the uses of metaphorical language in the discourse on climate change.
Before joining Counterpoint, Ulrike worked as a management consultant where she advised senior-level management and led change projects. Her social-psychological focus and her experience with advisory processes are at the heart of her involvment with Counterpoint’s Bridges Project.
- Tom Burke
- Phil Male
- Stephan Roman
- Alex Simmons
- Tuija Talvitie
Tom Burke is currently an Environmental Policy Adviser (part time) to Rio Tinto plc and a Visiting Professor at Imperial and University Colleges, London. He is a Senior Business Advisor to the Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative on Climate Change. He is a Founding Director of E3G, Third Generation Environmentalism.
He was appointed by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to chair an Independent Review of Environmental Governance in Northern Ireland from 2006 – 2007. He was a member of the Council of English Nature, the statutory adviser to the British Government on biodiversity from 1999 – 2005. He was Special Adviser to three Secretaries of State for the Environment from 1991-97 after serving as Director of the Green Alliance from 1982-1991.
Previously, he has been an environmental adviser (part time) to BP plc (1997 – 2001) and a member of the OECD’s High Level Panel on the Environment (1996-1998). He has acted as Executive Director of Friends of the Earth, and been a Visiting Fellow at the Cranfield Institute of Management and a Senior Visiting Fellow at Manchester Business School. He also serves on the European Advisory Council of the Carbon Disclosure Project. He is a Patron of the United Kingdom Environmental Law Association and a Vice-President of Environmental Protection UK.
Tom Burke has received many honours during his distinguished career, including his appointment to the United Nations Environment Programme’s `Global 500′ roll of honour in 1993. In 1997, he was appointed CBE for services to the environment, and in 2010 he was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Society for the Environment.
Phil Male is the executive chairman of UK2 Group, a leading international provider of domain name registration and web-site hosting services. Phil previously served as Chief Strategy Officer at Cable & Wireless Worldwide, Chief Operating Officer of Thus Group plc and Technical Director of Demon Internet Limited. He has advanced knowledge of data networking technologies, programming languages and operating systems. Mr. Male has been involved in the development of internet services in the UK since 1990.
Stephan Roman is currently the British Council’s regional director for South Asia. He has worked for the British Council since 1978, having served as regional director for both North America and Western Europe. He has worked in the Middle East, Africa, South-East Asia and the Balkans. He has written extensively on issues of cultural relations.
Alex Simmons has been in the financial communications industry for more than six years and leads a range of Smithfield’s listed and private clients including WS Atkins and Rothschild Investment Bank. He has also had responsibility for a number of M&A and capital raising and restructuring transactions. He joined Smithfield in 2009 from Finsbury where he worked for four years in the financial services team acting for and advising FTSE100 companies on their strategic communications. Prior to joining Finsbury, Alex worked in Corporate Finance at Deutsche Bank and ABN AMRO.
Tuija Talvitie has been CMI’s Executive Director since November 2009. Tuija has over twenty years’ experience in international leadership, cultural relations and social development. Her ambition is to make CMI a leading conflict resolution organisation. She emphasises multi-stakeholder approaches, innovation and ethical leadership. Prior to joining CMI, Tuija was the Director of British Council Finland where she led the office’s programme work on climate change, intercultural dialogue, education and research. She was in charge of a major change programme at British Council Finland and played an active role in the strategic leadership team of North and Central Europe.
She was a CMI board member between 2005-2009 and sits on the boards of various think tanks and NGOs. She holds an MA in English Philology and International Politics from the University of Helsinki.
Crisis Management Initiative (CMI) is a Finnish non-profit organisation that works to prevent and resolve conflicts and build sustainable peace. It was foundered by Martti Ahtisaari, the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.
- Neha Aviral
- Dana Costache
- Joël Gombin
- Jeffrey Howard
- Kriti Kapila
- Reuben Message
- Sabine Selchow
- Esfandyar Batmanghelidj
Neha Aviral is an Associate at BlackRock Asset Management. She graduated with a BA(cum laude, Hons) in Government and International Relations from Cornell University, and spent a year studying History and Politics at St Peter’s College, Oxford. At work, she is on the Steering Committees of professional networks for women and multicultural employees at the firm, and heavily involved with mentoring, training and developing new talent. She is also a peer counsellor for abuse survivors, a TeachFirst Career Coach and on the Steering Committee of Young Professionals in Human Rights. Neha grew up in India, Bahrain and Canada, where she developed a deep interest in meeting a variety of people and learning from multiple cultures.
Joël is a political scientist based at Scince Po in paris and at the Université de Picardie-Jules Verne in Amiens (France). His research interests include electoral sociology and the Front national. He graduated from the Institut d’Études politiques in Aix-en-Provence and also studied at the University of Durham. He collaborates with Counterpoint on the “Rival political narratives” research program.
Jeffrey Howard is a Lecturer in Political Philosophy at Essex University. His work centres on the ethics and politics of preventing injustice - both criminal wrongdoing by individuals, and the enactment of unjust policies by democratic legislatures. At Counterpoint, he worked on the Recapturing Europe’s Reluctant Radicals project. He has a doctorate in political philosophy from Oxford University and a BA from Harvard.
Reuben Message is currently a Doctoral candidate in sociology at the London School of Economics.
Reuben worked at Counterpoint until 2012. He has contributed to a number of Counterpoint initiatives, including the UK-India project, as well as helping to develop the Counterpoint offer and other aspects of organisational development. Previously, he has worked as a researcher for the Intercultural and Diversity Studies centre at the University of Cape Town.
Sabine Selchow is lecturer and researcher in the Civil Society and Human Security Research Unit, Department of International Development at the London School of Economics (LSE). She is member of LSE’s Global Civil Society research programme and is in charge of the ‘Culture/s’-component in the ‘Security in Transition’-programme, funded by the European Research Council (2011-2016). Sabine’s academic background stretches across disciplinary boundaries and brings together the Humanities and the Social Sciences. She studied North American Studies, focusing on literature and culture, and Communication Studies, with a particular focus on public relations and semiotics, at Freie Universitaet Berlin (Germany) and Duke University (USA), and holds a PhD in Government from LSE. She has a particular research interest in the nature and political impact of collectively shared and culturally specific notions, such as notions of ‘the global’, ‘the new’, ‘the unknown’, ‘uncertainty’ and ‘risks’. Before embarking on an academic career, Sabine worked for several years in the ‘new media’-sector. She has comprehensive project management and consultancy experience. She is involved in various initiatives and international working groups, such as the working group ‘Cosmopolitan Communities of Risk’, set up by Ulrich Beck at the Center for Advanced Studies in Munich (Germany).
Esfandyar Batmanghelidj is a Founding Partner of the Europe-Iran Forum, a unique business event designed to foster ties between European and Iranian business leaders. He is a Senior Research Associate at Iran Tobacco Research Group, a research partnership seeking to develop public health strategies for smoking cessation in Iran. ITRG was the first American company to initiate an OFAC approved clinical trial in Iran, in cooperation with Shahid Beheshti Medical University in Tehran and the Iranian Ministry of Health. Esfandyar studied at Columbia University, with a focus on Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies, and a specialising in Iranian political economy and social history. His research has been published in the journal Iranian Studies and in the Encyclopedia Iranica among other peer-review publications. His commentary and analysis of Iranian affairs regularly appears online in such outlets as Al Jazeera, Quartz, and LobeLog. Aside from his work on Iran, Esfandyar is business development manager at Macat, a UK education technology company.