Staff Team

Omar Khan

Omar Khan

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Omar is Runnymede's Director. Prior to this he was Runnymede's Head of Policy and led the financial inclusion programme. Omar sits on the Department for Work and Pensions' Ethnic Minority Employment Stakeholder Group and is a 2012 Clore Social Leadership Fellow.

Omar's other advisory positions include chair of Olmec, chair of the Ethnicity Strand Advisory Group to Understanding Society, chair of the advisory group of the Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity at the University of Manchester, Commissioner on the Financial Inclusion Commission and a member of the 2014 REF assessment, the 2011 Census, and the UK representative (2009-2013) on the European Commission’s Socio-economic network of experts.

Omar is the author of Financial Inclusion and Ethnicity; Caring and Earning Among Low-income Caribbean, Pakistani and Somali People; Who Pays to Access Cash?; Why Do Assets Matter?; A Sense of Place; and The Costs of ‘Returning’ Home.

Omar has also published many articles and reports on political theory and British political history for Runnymede over the past eight years and has spoken on topics including multiculturalism, integration, socio-economic disadvantage, and positive action. These include giving evidence to the United Nations in Geneva, the European Parliament in Strasbourg, on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, academic conferences in Manchester, Oxford, Paris, and Warsaw, the CRE Race Convention, the Lithuanian Centre for Human Rights, a Treasury/DFID conference on remittances, St George’s House (Windsor Castle), Wilton Park, and many other engagements in the UK and Europe.

Omar completed his DPhil in Political Theory from the University of Oxford, a Masters in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Masters in South Asian Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies.


Debbie Weekes-Bernard

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Debbie is Head of Research at Runnymede. Her work has included research on the impact of educational ‘choice’ agendas on BME parents and children.

She has organised large conferences on education and community cohesion and speaking and writing about issues to do with choice, cohesion, achievement and educational inequality.

Debbie’s publications include a re-examination of race equality and school exclusions and an assessment of current policy on widening participation in higher education.

Previously Debbie has conducted research for both Runnymede and Nottingham Trent University on projects exploring the reasons for the gap in achievement between children from different minority ethnic communities, together with projects identifying ways of improving BME pupil achievement and work exploring the disproportionate rates of school exclusion experienced by African-Caribbean boys.

Debbie has worked as an associate lecturer for the Open University, teaching social psychology and criminology and her doctorate work explored young black female identity. Debbie’s additional research interests include work on ‘race’ and girlhood, young parenting and black popular culture.

Debbie holds a BA in Sociology from the University of Essex, a Phd is Social Psychology/Sociology from Nottingham Trent University and a Postgraduate Diploma in Law from City University.



Farah Elahi

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Farah Elahi is a research and policy analyst at Runnymede.

Prior to joining Runnymede, Farah worked in research and project management for the Family and Childcare Trust and MEND.

Farah’s previous research has focussed on education, marginalization and discrimination in the UK. For her MA thesis Farah explored the theoretical frameworks underpinning education provision in multicultural Britain, with a focus on experiences of BME communities in mainstream schools.

Farah completed a Masters in the Philosophy of Education from UCL - Institute of Education, and a BA in Economics and Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies.



Lester Holloway

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Lester is Online Editor at Runnymede.

He has worked in communications and journalism for several years. His journalism includes serving as Editor of the African and Caribbean weekly newspaper New Nation; News Editor of their rival The Voice; News Editor of The Asian and News Reporter at Eastern Eye.He is a regular contributor to The Guardian and has freelanced for BBC London.

Lester’s public relations experience includes working at the National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs (NACUE), where he was Acting Head of Policy, Communications and Research, and the interfaith charity the Coexistence Trust, where he was Communications Manager.Other PR work includes a star-studded red carpet Leicester Square premiere of an anti-gun film.

Lester was New Media Manager for Operation Black Vote and also authored the OBV report 'Power of the Black Vote' in 2013, as well as NACUE's Student Enterprise Manifesto this year.His anti-racist activism includes the Anti Racist Alliance and as online manager at The 1990 Trust think-tank.

Lester has been served as an elected local councillor twice and was a member of two party policy forums on equalities. In his spare time he follows Manchester City FC and is a keen birdwatcher! 

Sian Elliott

Sian is the office administrator at Runnymede.

She is an efficient adminstrator with extensive experience in administration and PA duties, event management and accounts support.

Sian joins the Runnymede Trust after gaining a First Class BA Hons in a combined Education and Sociology of Childhood degree from the University of Roehampton. She was motiviated to return to study as a mature student after working in secondary schools in South East London and has a particular interest in educational inequalities and race.

Sian has just completed a Masters in Social Research Methods, her dissertation looked at the ways in which young women of mixed race resisted racialised regimes of representation through verbal and non-verbal means.

Sian is a trustee for People In Harmony, an organisation for mixed race individuals and their families and has previously volunteered as a youth mentor and helped to organise fundraising events for charities working with young people affected by mental health issues in South East London.