FOUNDER AND director AT international cultural relations ltd

Stuart MacDonald, FRSA

A former Senior Policy Adviser to Governments, and founder and Executive Director of the Centre for Cultural Relations, University of Edinburgh, Stuart specialises in transnational influence, bridging public policy, academia, practice, and business. Stuart is a Senior Fellow at the European Center for Global Education at the Global Governance Institute at the Free University,Brussels (VuB); a Research Associate at the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at SOAS, University of London; a Board Member of the Academy of Sport at the University of Edinburgh, and Chair of the Board of Arts Cabinet, an arts organisation dedicated to artistic research. Prior to founding and driving the Centre for Cultural Relations at the University of Edinburgh from 2012-16, he worked for a US State Department funded NGO in Tunisia in the aftermath of the revolution, and before that as a Senior Civil Servant in the UK Civil Service, advising Ministers and Departments on a wide range of policy areas, including international relations, cultural and educational policy, research and evaluation, senior staff training, and the digitisation of Government services.


founder and director at international cultural relations ltd

Sharon Memis, FRSA

Sharon has held a variety of senior country, regional and corporate leadership roles in the British Council, contributing to the internationalisation of education and culture for the UK. Sharon specialises in developing and implementing evidence-based strategic transformation in international cultural relations, research and evaluation frameworks, designing innovative cultural projects and narratives. She also is highly experienced in high-level account and stakeholder strategic engagement with a successful track record of government, corporate and Trust and Foundation partnerships and grants. A qualified teacher, Sharon has taught at schools and universities and has extensive experience of designing and facilitating workshops for project teams and managers. She is a frequent public speaker and writer on a diverse range of subjects which relate to international cultural relations. She speaks fluent English and French, operational Italian and Spanish and basic German and Turkish.



Andrew Murray

Andrew is an experienced practitioner of international cultural relations as well as an academic teaching and researching in EU cultural diplomacy and cultural relations. As Global Director of EUNIC (European Union National Institutes for Culture) he professionalised the management of the network, developed its first strategic framework, acquired EU funding for its operations around the world, and was responsible for initiating a strategic partnership with the European Commission and the European External Action Service. This strategic partnership between member states’ national cultural institutes and EU Delegations will be the platform the implementation of the new EU Strategy for International Cultural Relations. Prior to his work with EUNIC, Andrew held senior management posts for the British Council in the UK, Europe and Africa. He has a doctorate in Nationalism from the University of Manchester and is currently teaching cultural diplomacy at Vesalius College in Brussels.

Photo I[1].jpg

RESEARCH associate

Erik Vlaeminck

Erik is a researcher specialising in Russia, Eurasia, and Eastern Europe. His expertise includes: strategic communication, international cultural relations and public diplomacy with a specific focus on Russia and China. Erik is currently developing a research project on nation branding and reputation management at the University of Tyumen (Siberia, Russia). He is a regular speaker and writer on these topics in Europe, Russia and China. He is fluent in English, Dutch, French, German, Russian, Polish, and has notions of Mandarin Chinese.


RESEARCH associate

Dimitra Kizlari

Dimitra is a researcher specialising in Cultural Policy, especially issues of global governance, cultural diplomacy, and citizenship. Dimitra has a solid background in heritage studies and has expertise in museums and heritage sites management. She has worked with UNESCO on education in human rights and with major museum organisations in the UK and Greece. Her current research focuses on the work of the National Institutes for Culture (British Council, Institut Français, Instituto Cervantes etc.). Dimitra is fluent in Greek, English and French.