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Our Board Members

Hikmat Adal (Treasurer) joined Glasgow ESOL Forum's Board in November 2013.  He has an extensive background in Economics and Finance, with two Masters in Investment Banking and Finance.  Hikmat currently works at Barclays Bank.  He has been an active member of several charities which provide help to Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan, and regulaly volunteers at the Barclays Multicultural Centre.

A member of Glasgow ESOL Forum's board since 2017, Oumar Akram's background and extensive knowledge in employability programmes, employer engagemen and equalities means that he is determined to level the playing field for under-represented groups. Having recently founded the website My Saturday Job, which aims to get young people into work, he will soon be launching another portal to support employers with recruiting a diverse workforce.

Nolwenn Alexandre (Secretary) joined the Board in June 2017. With a Masters Degree in International Law and Human Rights, she has worked with asylum seekers and refugees for more than twelve years, including with UNHCR in France and Africa. In Scotland, she has worked for YMCA’s Asylum Seekers accommodation centre at the Red Road flats and as a French interpreter for Scottish Refugee Council. Since 2018, she supports children with learning difficulties in a primary school in Glasgow.

Dr Margaret Allan (Chair) joined the Board  in November 2018. She is a founder member of the Glasgow ESOL Forum, and remains firmly located in the world of ESOL.  She has over twenty-five years' experience of working in the field of ESOL, both in the college and university sectors as well as in qualifications development to support progression for ESOL learners at SQA. Her doctoral thesis analysed the discourses concerning migrant ESOL learners. She has retired from her post as Programme Leader for the MEd TESOL at the University of the West of Scotland and now works part-time as an Associate Lecturer in the School of Education and Social Sciences.


Uzma Aslam joined Glasgow ESOL Forum's Board in June 2017. She has 15 years' experience working in the NHS with a strong background in Public Health, Health Inequalities, Patient Experienced Based Co-design, Website Usability Testing and External Quality Assurance. She is employed by Healthcare Improvement Scotland to provide Health Technology Assessment (HTA) support for innovative technologies. She has an MSc in Public Health and Health Services Management from the London School of Hygeine and Tropical Medicine.

Pauline Blake-Johnston joined the board in April 2020 and is an ESOL Lecturer and Manager. She has over 15 years of experience in both the College and Community ESOL sectors. With extensive experience in teaching ESOL and ESOL Literacies, working with migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, she is passionate about working with Volunteers in ESOL. She revived the Branch in 2016 and is the current Chair of NATECLA Scotland, sits on the Equality & Diversity Working Group and Volunteers in ESOL Working Group for NATECLA as well as the Editorial Board for the Language Issues Journal.

Katy Martin joined the Board in April 2020. She has twelve years’ experience working in the not-for-profit sector with the Red Cross here in Scotland and internationally, and is now employed as Head of Income Development with Quarriers. Previously, Katy worked as an accountant for Shell Oil, Land Rover and Vascutek. She also enjoyed some years teaching English in South Korea and South Africa. Katy holds a MSC in Logistics and Supply Chain Management with a focus on international aid.

Sameeha Rehman joined the Board in April 2020. She has a strong background in public affairs, with a degree in Law, Politics, and International Relations, and is currently employed as a Chief of Staff in the UK Parliament. She has extensive experience working with asylum seekers and refugees through ongoing roles with the Scottish Refugee Council, Glasgow Afghan United, a Project Coordinator to Outdoors For You and utilising her TEFL qualifications to provide support to ESOL learners. She is an active member of the community, as a community council secretary, chairing a number of local organisations and as a volunteer tutor to children in kinship care.

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