We are governed by our Board of Trustees, who are responsible for setting our overall strategy and direction, ensuring that we comply with all necessary rules and legal obligations and that we use our resources effectively. We are also grateful for the long-standing support we receive from our Royal Patron and our President who provide vital awareness that helps us to continue to reach those who need books most.

Our Patron

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, KG KT OM

His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh was our Patron for 55 years. We were honoured by his patronage and his support over the years. He provided the following quote for our 60th anniversary:
"It is easy enough to spot a problem, the challenge lies in finding an appropriate solution. That there would be a serious shortage of books in schools and colleges in the English-speaking world immediately after the Second World War must have been evident to anyone who thought about such things. However, it was the Countess of Ranfurly who thought of a solution, put it into practice and made a huge success of it. The Ranfurly Library Service was founded in 1954 and became Book Aid International in 1994. Today, over 30 million books have been distributed to schools, colleges, community libraries, refugee camps and prisons across the world, and have touched the lives of an estimated 150 million readers of all ages."

Our President

Our President: Nigel Newton

Nigel Newton was born and raised in San Francisco. He read English at Selwyn College, Cambridge and in 1986 started Bloomsbury Publishing. Nigel was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2021 New Year Honours for services to the publishing industry. He was also appointed as the Vice President of the Publishers Association in April 2021 and will become President in April 2022. Nigel has previously served as a member of the Booker Prize Advisory Committee, Chairman of the Charleston Trust, Chair of World Book Day, member of the Publishers Association Council, Trustee of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Chairman of the British Library Trust, and head of the Selwyn Association.
"Book Aid International is a phenomenal organisation with the admirable ambition of bringing books to all. They shape people’s lives through the books they donate and the skills that those books give people."

Our board

Chair: Lord Paul Boateng

The Rt Hon the Lord Boateng, PC DL was born in London but spent much of his childhood in Ghana West Africa. A civil liberties lawyer, he was one of the UKs first Black MPs (1987-2005) and became the first Black Cabinet Minister (2002 -2005) serving as Chief Secretary to the Treasury until he left Parliament to become the UKs High Commissioner to South Africa (2005-2009). Ennobled in 2010 he serves on numerous commercial and philanthropic boards with a focus on Africa, youth, health and economic development. Chancellor of the University of Greenwich, he is a Vice President of the London Library and Chair of Book Aid International.

Honorary Treasurer: Nick Allen

Nick Allen is a geographer and Fellow of Sidney Sussex College at the University of Cambridge. He has extensive experience of the corporate and the charity sectors and has worked in both Africa and Latin America. From 2008 to 2018, he was the Bursar of Sidney Sussex College. While there he was also a Director at the Royal Society Ltd and the Cambridge Business Improvement District. Prior to this, Nick worked for Unilever in roles in finance, risk management and general management. During this time he spent 10 years working with businesses in Africa. In his last two roles at Unilever, he was the UK’s Chief Finance Officer and the Managing Director of Unilever’s Corporate Venturing & Innovation Group. Nick is a member of the Finance, Risk & Audit Committee of Farm Africa.

Pam Dix

Pam is a professional librarian and has been a lifelong champion of school libraries and librarians. For 23 years she managed the London Borough of Islington's Education Library Service, as well as teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses on children's literature at London Metropolitan University. She is currently researching the role of illustration in children's information books. She is Chair of the Akili Trust, a small charity supporting educational development in rural Kenya and also Chair of IBBY UK (International Board on Books for Young People).

Dhivya O’Connor

Dhivya O’Connor is a dynamic charity leader with over 22 years’ experience across the non-profit and commercial sectors. In 2021, Dhivya was appointed Global CEO of United World Schools. Previously she served as Interim CEO of the Chartered Institute of Fundraising and as CEO of the UK’s leading children’s cancer charity, Children with Cancer UK. She also brings deep expertise in fundraising and philanthropy. Prior to joining the third sector, she held various strategy, business development and leadership roles and helped drive transformative growth, working in
organisations including Lloyds Bank, GE Capital and OctopusTravel (now part of Expedia Group). A passionate advocate for the work of charities, she is the founder and executive producer of The Charity CEO Podcast, a leading podcast that engages in insightful conversations with charity leaders. Dhivya has also volunteered with NGOs in India, South Africa and Cambodia.

Jonathan Hargreaves

Jonathan is UK Special Representative for Syria at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). He was until recently responsible for FCDO’s humanitarian and development work in the Middle East, particularly Syria and Lebanon, and was previously Head of DFID’s office in Jerusalem and DFID’s Somalia programme in Nairobi. As well as humanitarian work Jonathan has specialised in governance and development across Africa and eastern Europe, and was Head of DFID’s Governance, Open Societies and Anti-corruption Department. Earlier in his career Jonathan worked for the UN Development Programme and the European Commission. As a management consultant for KPMG he worked on organisational development and value for money projects for local and central government. He has worked as a volunteer for NGOs in India, Thailand and Tajikistan.

Charly Nobbs

Charly has over 40 years’ experience of warehousing, supply chain, systems and inventory management in the publishing industry. He spent 15 years at Cambridge University Press as Distribution Director working predominantly in the UK but also spent considerable time working at their other operations in the US, South Africa, Brazil and Australia. Most recently Charly was with John Wiley & Sons where he was appointed Vice President, Global Supply Chain. In this role he was responsible for over 300 staff involved in the global warehousing, distribution and inventory management of all book and journal products in print. Today, Charly heads up an independent global consultancy focussing on supply chain optimisation where he uses his extensive experience of delivering significant and sustainable improvements across local, regional and global supply chains to help clients understand their particular issues and develop and agree practical, cost-effective and sustainable solutions.

Robert Sulley

As former International Director at Hodder Education, Robert has 30 years’ experience of the publishing industry, over 25 of which have been in international educational publishing with a particular focus on African markets. This has included stints at publishing houses in Botswana and South Africa, where he helped develop a list of titles for South Africa’s first post-apartheid school curriculum. Robert is a Member of the International Board of the UK Publishers’ Association and served a three year term as an elected councillor at Reading Borough Council between 1992 and 1995. Robert joined the Book Aid International Board of Trustees in May 2015.

Zainab Umar

Zainab serves as the communications lead at the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, a think tank focused on African governance and leadership. She is responsible for all the Foundation’s communications: traditional, online and media relations, and social media dissemination. She leads the Foundation’s youth initiative, Now Generation Network and currently sits on the Steering Committee for the African Youth Network Movement, incubated by the Mandela Institute for Development Studies.
Zainab began her career in local government working for public libraries across London, where she engaged in partnership projects with national and regional agencies like the National Literacy Trust, Booktrust and the Reading Agency. Zainab has significant PR and reputation management experience across multiple markets and was a recipient of the 2020 Gold SABRE awards for a public relations campaign.