Sharon has an MA from Cambridge University in Theology and Religious Studies. Following her graduation, she taught English at Amideast in Tunisia and then went on to work in Amman, Jordan as a Productions Manager for a publishing company with programmes for young people aiming to promote reading in the Arab World. In Sharon's final year in Jordan, she was employed as PA to the Defence Attaché at the British Embassy, then returned to the UK and began work in Israeli-Palestinian conflict resolution, founding the Solutions Not Sides Education Programme in 2010. Sharon speaks Arabic and French and has studied ancient Hebrew. In January 2016, she was awarded a master’s degree with distinction from King's College London, specialising in nationalism and religion.
Jess Brandler is SNS' Managing Director, overseeing all aspects of SNS’ work, as well as working closely with speakers from Palestine and Israel to train, prepare, and support them for work with SNS. She has spent considerable time in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank. She's been at SNS since 2015 and worked with founder and Director, Sharon, to considerably grow the organisation to what it is today, expanding into dozens of cities and towns across the UK. She graduated from Cambridge University in Politics, Psychology and Sociology, specialising in conflict development, and the role of religion in politics. Following her graduation, she was awarded a fellowship at the Central European University in Budapest, where she completed her MA in International Relations and European Studies. During this time, she wrote papers and ran seminars on Palestine and Israel, and volunteered with The Human Rights Initiative (HRSI). After graduating in Budapest, she moved back to London, where she worked with an education sector in universities and schools as Business, Sales and marketing Manager of the company Yearbook Machine. She previously volunteered with the charity Football Beyond Borders, and she is fast on the road to becoming a speaker of Arabic.
Mohammed Ali Amla is SNS’ Director of Bridge Building, leading on youth empowerment, strategic partnership development and community collaborations. He is an experienced networker who is responsible for developing new partnerships for SNS across civil society, the education sector, academia, local authorities and communities. He has over 20 years’ experience working with communities, the public and private sector. He has worked as a researcher, educator, practitioner, activist and executive coach to empower communities to create social innovation and change. His specialisations are in creating safe spaces for difficult dialogue, leadership development, think spaces, strategic development, knowledge exchange and delivering inclusion and diversity training. He is regularly invited as a guest lecturer on peace leadership, active citizenship, cohesion, interfaith, religion, Islamophobia, the far right, media and community empowerment. Ali is an alumni of the IVLP, Clore Fellow, and the founder of Christian Muslim Encounters, which aims to foster good relations and build bridges across communities, academia, policy and civil society. He is currently writing a book on interfaith.
Laurence Conneely is Solutions Not Sides Media & Communications Manager, overseeing digital marketing, supporting the rest of the team in delivering SNS' goals. He graduated from the School of Oriental and African Studies, MSc Violence, Conflict & Development programme, focusing on South East Asia. Prior to this, he graduated from Kings College London with a BA in Development Geography with a focus on India, land use and control. Before joining the Solutions Not Sides team, he volunteered and subsequently worked for Link Ethiopia, a small not-for-profit specialising in educational development, and pioneering the delivery of profound grassroots educational change across developing communities in Ethiopia and connecting schools to one another.
Poppy is Solutions Not Sides Programmes & Events Manager. She graduated with a BA in Arabic from The School of Oriental and African Studies, where she also studied Hebrew. During her degree she spent a year studying at An-Najah University in Nablus, Palestine. After this, she spent five months living and working in Ramallah in various women's rights organisations. Poppy attended the 2017 SNS Student Leadership Programme before joining SNS full time.
Amal is a pharmacist from East Jerusalem, she is currently a PhD student at the Hebrew University, and an alumni of two international master's at the same institution.
As a Palestinian woman, she became aware of the violent and ugly reality of the conflict at a very young age. Half of her family were displaced and made refugees in 1967, but they never gave up the hope of returning to their village, the place they called "home". Their resolve strengthened her own as she decided to be an agent of change instead of a spectator. Amal is an alumna of the "Japan Israel Palestine Student Conference (JIPSC)", a fellow of "Women in Conflict 1325 Fellowship Programme" with BeyondBorders Scotland, a "Solutions Not Sides" fellow, and has previously worked with peace organisations such as Yala Young Leaders, Kids4Peace and others. Amal strongly believes in the power of bringing people together and is set on a journey to build bridges over gaps between the two people.
Eran is an Israeli peace activist, currently working for an Israeli digital movement called 'Mehazkim', which harnesses social media in order to empower and support progressive political struggles in Israel. Eran served as a combat soldier in the special forces of the Israeli army, and after his release, he decided to promote a peaceful resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Eran's political motivation is generational, as he believes that a conflict we pass on to our children is a conflict we lost. Between 2016-2019, Eran headed the Education & Advocacy department for ‘Peace Now’, Israel's biggest and oldest peace movement, advocating for the Two-State-Solution. During the summer of 2019, Eran interned in a congressional office in Washington D.C. as part of the ‘New Story Leadership’ summer internship program. Eran holds a bachelor’s degree in political science & Philosophy, and a Masters degree in Emergency & Disaster Management from Tel-Aviv University. Eran is also a certified dog trainer and a volunteer EMT and ambulance driver.
Dr Rachel Lewis CPsychol (Chair and in-house psychology expert)
Greg Rack (absolutely great at fundraising)
Rafia Shaheen (in-house school teacher and wonderful at understanding the needs of school students and teachers)
We are pleased to have the following educators and community leaders advising Solutions Not Sides:
Sadia Akram - Forum of Discussion on Israel and Palestine
Ashfaque Chowdhury – Association of Muslim Schools UK
Fiona Cumberland - Director at Kreab
Josh Dubell - Jewish Community Worker currently with UJIA
Peggy Forell – Advocality
Alex Goldberg – Jewish Chaplain, University of Surrey
Ed Kessler – The Woolf Institute, Cambridge
Paula Lent – Art Masters Design Solutions Ltd.
John Lyndon - Executive Director of ALLMEP
David Mason - Muswell Hill Orthodox Synagogue
Jonny Newton - Community Security Trust
Hagai M. Segal - Lecturer and advisory on Middle-Eastern affairs, geopolitics and extremism
Nathan Servi - Head of Education, Maccabi GB; Head of Streetwise and Stand Up!
Sajeela Shah – Teacher at Bingley Grammar School
Bruce Thompson – the Methodist Church, Lincolnshire