Russel Twisk – A Tribute

NCF Board member Russell Twisk has died. It was Russell, some years ago, who encouraged us to establish the International Council for Press and Broadcasting. He was a great supporter of The International Media Awards.

Russell was an outstanding person and it was a privilege to have him as a friend of the NCF. As Board member his advice was always outstanding. He was an active member of NCF for well over 20 years. He was also a Council Member of the International Council for Press and Broadcasting. Russell is a great loss to all of us and will be sorely missed.

Russell believed in the importance of a comprehensive peace process to the Arab-Israel problem and the centrality of this issue to broader peace in the Middle East and the world as a whole. He was a believer in the concept of a brotherhood and sisterhood of all mankind, and he worked tirelessly for a better world without the scurge of disinformation and missunderstanding.

Russell Twisk was the Editor of The Listener, a weekly magazine set up by the BBC, between 1981 – 1987.  He then became the Editor in Chief and Director of Reader’s Digest, where he remained for 15 years. He has interviewed a large number of prominant figures including Baroness Thatcher, Tony Blair and President George W Bush.  Russell Twisk has also served as a member of the Press Complaints Comission. He was formerly President of The Media Society and a board member of the International Communications Forum


Dalia Salaam Rishani

Dalia Salaam Rishani is a trustee of the Next Century Foundation, having been appointed in the summer of 2009. She is a longstanding patron of the Foundation, and became President of the International Council of Press and Broadcasting in 2012. She oversees the annual International Media Awards, both as host and patron. She is also a governor of the Centre for Lebanese Studies at Oxford University and is an executive director of the British-Lebanese Association, sitting on the board of a scholarship fund.

Dalia began her career as a research analyst at SG Warburg Securities, simultaneously editing the Global Banking Review. In 1996, she established Hood Hood Books, an independent publishing house. Specialising in children’s books on Islamic and Eastern civilisations, its aim is to make the religion and culture of Islam accessible to people of all faiths.

Dalia’s family has been involved in politics and media for many generations. Members of the family have held high office in a number of Lebanese governments and played vital behind-the-scenes roles assisting Palestinian/Lebanese and Lebanese/Syrian relations. The family also had a substantial ownership of the political Middle East weekly, Al Hawadeth, and leading Lebanese daily, L’Orient le Jour.

Dalia was born in Beirut, Lebanon. She gained a BA (Hons.) in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University and a MSc (with distinction) from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, USA.


William Morris

William Morris is Secretary General of the Next Century Foundation, and the son of its founder, the late Claud Morris. Formerly a journalist and publisher, William Morris has been involved in the Middle East for more than 30 years. He was Advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister of Oman from 1991 to 1996, and became Secretary General of NCF on his return to the UK.

In October 2000 he helped set up a war avoidance team to carry messages back and forth between the then Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mr Peter Hain and Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz. As Chairman of the International Media Council he has led press delegations to Iraq, Palestine, Israel, Egypt and Syria and convenes the International Media Awards, held annually in London.

He has led three electoral monitoring delegations to Iraq; the NCF is the only accredited international election monitoring organisation travelling extensively in the interior of the country.  In recent years he has established the Iran unit of the NCF which produces regular confidential reports on the developments in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The Council

June Jacobs CBE 

June Jacobs CBE is a veteran of more than 30 years as a peace activist, and former President of the International Council of Jewish Women. June rose to prominence as a founder and first Chair of the National Council for Soviet Jews, regularly leading missions to visit refuseniks in the 1970s Soviet Bloc.

June has become best known since that time as a strong advocate of Jewish women’s issues. As President of the International Council of Jewish Women, June represented the organisation at the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York. She remains involved today through her membership of the European Women’s Lobby and Women’s International Commission. June is also a member of the board of directors of the New Israel Fund. She is currently also a member of the Black Jewish Asian Forum, Life President of Jewish Childs Day, a trustee of the Kessler Foundation, and Vice President of the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture.

She is Chairperson of the Nahum Goldmann Fellowship Program at the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture. as well as “Chairperson, Mishpacha” of this New York based foundation committed to the renewal and enhancement of Jewish culture worldwide. She is also Chairperson of the EJC Commission on European Institutions (Great Britain) and a senior Trustee of the Next Century Foundation.

Jacobs was appointed Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2009 Birthday Honours.

Michael Binyon OBE

Michael Binyon is a Leader Writer for The Times, where he previously served as Diplomatic Editor. After graduating from the University of Cambridge, he spent a year teaching inMinskfor the British Council, before joining The Times Educational Supplement in 1968. He then moved to the BBC Arabic Service before, in 1972, he joined The Times as a foreign correspondent.

He covered the Middle East War in 1973, has worked for The Times in Moscow, Bonn, Washington and Brussels, and became Diplomatic Editor in 1991. He is a frequent broadcaster on the BBC and overseas television stations and has won two British press awards. He has also published a book entitled Life inRussia(1984). Binyon was awarded the OBE in 2000.

Deborah Pout

Deborah Pout is a freelance journalist, consultant and analyst, specialising in Middle Eastern and world affairs. She started her career in channel 5 on Espresso, a consumer affairs programme before going on to work for David Chater at Sky News. She later became the Jerusalem Bureau Chief for Sky News. She works a freelance Middle East reporter and producer for Sky News Australia and Channel News Asia.

In addition to her media work, she holds a Reuters fellowship at Oxford University.

Gamon Mclellen

Gamon McLellan started journalism in Ankara and joined the BBC in 1979 as Head of the Turkish Service, which provided uncensored news to Turkey following the 1980 military coup. From 1988 he was involved in broadcasting to Central Europe before becoming Head of the BBC Arabic Service in 1992.  He retired from the BBC in 2004, after overseeing the Arabic Service 24-hour coverage on radio and online during the 2003 war in Iraq. He now divides his time between Istanbul and London, where he lectures on Turkish politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies.

Ambassador Mark Hambley

Ambassador Mark Hambley has served in eleven postings in nine Middle Eastern countries during a 30 year diplomatic career, including as U.S. Ambassador in Qatar and Lebanon and as Consul General in Alexandria and in Jeddah. He has also acted as Special Representative to the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, U.S. Representative to the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests, and Special Negotiator on Climate Change during the Clinton and early months of the Bush administrations.

In March 2003, Ambassador Hambley was appointed director of the US Media Outreach Center in London, established by Congress to improve dialogue with the Arab media. He left full time service with the U.S. Government in 2005 but still undertakes special commissions on an ad hoc basis.

In 2005 Ambassador Hambley became a senior Trustee of the Next Century Foundation. In this capacity he has undertaken two missions to date, one to Red Zone Baghdad to facilitate negotiations with His Eminence Abdul Aziz al Hakim, and the other to Jerusalem during the 2006 Lebanon War to work on the Syrian peace track.

Homepage for the annual International Media Awards Ceremony

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