Ambassador, Board of Directors and Secretariat

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The UK National Commission for UNESCO is comprised of a Secretariat team of seven full-time staff and is supported by six Non-Executive Directors appointed by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

Together, we use education, culture, communication and information and science to build mutual dialogue and peace in the United Kingdom.

UK Ambassador and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO

Anna Nsubuga is the UK’s Ambassador and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO. An experienced public and social policy professional, Anna worked at community, national, regional and international levels across a range of policy areas. She has three decades of experience working in the non-profit, public and private sectors. Her areas of expertise include further education and adult learning, girls and women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights, European affairs, and stakeholder engagement. Anna’s posting is her second diplomatic role at the British Embassy in Paris, where she was previously First Secretary, Labour and Social Affairs.

Board of Directors

Explore the Board of Directors


Meet the UK National Commission (UKNC) Secretariat

James Bridge
SINCE 2011
Chief Executive and Secretary-General

James runs the UK’s National Commission for UNESCO (UKNC) and represents it as Secretary-General at UNESCO headquarters and to its 194 member states.

He works with the UK’s UNESCO sites and designations and the global network of 200 National Commissions for UNESCO. He is an Alternate Delegate for the UK at UNESCO’s General Conference and was an Alternate Member of the UNESCO Executive Board for the UK from 2013 – 2019.

James was part of the social inclusion task force when at Age Concern; he wrote the first human rights and nursing policy position paper at the Royal College of Nursing. He worked on EU Trade and Partnership Agreements at the European Parliament; was a stagiaire at the Secretariat-General of the European Commission; worked at the UK Financial Services Authority; and ran the Brussels offices of the Law Societies, Save the Children International, MHA Associates and the start up Internet company I-Wave Limited.

Andrea Blick
SINCE 2011
Head of Accreditation and Finance


Andrea joined the UK National Commission for UNESCO in June 2011, having previously worked for 20 years as Finance Manager for a leading set of criminal barristers. Previously she worked in theatre and theatrical management. Andrea is Head of Finance and Accreditation at the UKNC. She oversees applications to UNESCO’s programmes in the UK and those wishing to apply for UNESCO Prizes and Patronage.

Charlie Kennedy
SINCE 2019
Communications and Information Officer

Charlie supports the UKNC in their communications output and administration. He assists in the management of the UKNC’s online presence and helps to coordinate the organisation’s business processes. He has formerly worked for the NHS and in the Pharma and Medical Communications industries, as well as completing an internship at the 1954 Hague Convention Secretariat at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.

Liam Smyth
SINCE 2023
Project Implementation Manager


Liam leads the delivery of ‘Local to Global – Building a resilient UNESCO network in the UK’, funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund. The aim of this project is to help UK UNESCO Designation Site Coordinators to engage with new audiences, develop community celebration of world-class natural and cultural heritage, and share best practice through a mutually supportive and more resilient network. This will lead to more people enjoying the UK UNESCO Global Geoparks, Biosphere Reserves, and World Heritage Sites, as well as encouraging greater diversity of stakeholders, partners, and communities.

Alison Smedley
SINCE 2023
Project Administrator


Alison is the Project Administrator for the National Lottery Heritage Fund “Local to Global” project which aims to build a resilient UNESCO Network in the UK.

Alison joins UNESCO UKNC after 10 years working for the Inland Waterways Association where she coordinated national campaigns and parliamentary activities as Campaigns and Public Affairs Manager. Alison previously worked in administrative roles in a variety of sectors including estates management, publishing and at the Department of Health.

Alison was awarded an MBE in the 2010 New Year Honours list, for voluntary services to the inland waterways. She continues to volunteer for the Inland Waterways Association including as chair of its North Staffordshire and South Cheshire Branch.

Matthew Rabagliati
SINCE 2017
Head of Policy, Research and Communications

Matthew is the Head of Policy, Research and Communications at the UK National Commission for UNESCO. He leads the organisation in developing and delivering its policy advice and research to the UK government, devolved administrations and UNESCO. He leads the support to the network of UNESCO designations in the UK, and the Organisation’s Delivery Framework and Theory of Change to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). He leads the Organisation’s annual review to the FCDO, ensuring the delivery of an A+ rating anually since 2017.  He also works on strengthening relationships with experts and representatives from UNESCO designations across the UK, ensuring UK representation across UNESCO’s programmes and activities. Matthew is also responsible for the UK National Commission’s wider communication portfolio, as well as the NLHF Local to Global Project and Heritage and Climate Change Project on behalf of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

John Carmichael
SINCE 2023
Communications and Marketing Manager