our team

Agora has been made possible by the ideas and energy of countless people. Our thanks go to everyone who has contributed to our project and we hope that our number will continue to grow as we progress on our journey.

Leadership Team

Topaz Brownhall – President

Topaz is currently working as a Social Researcher in Jakarta, Indonesia. Topaz recently graduated from the University of Bristol, with a BA in History.


Leah Rachel Rea - Vice President | Co-Head, Democracy and Governance Research Programme

Leah is a PhD Researcher and Teaching Assistant in the areas of UK constitutional law, devolution, human rights, and legislative studies at the Transitional Justice Institute, Ulster University in Northern Ireland. She holds a Masters in Violence, Terrorism, and Security where her thesis focused on the UK Parliament's scrutiny of fast-tracked UK Government anti-terrorism legislation. She also holds a Masters in Conflict Transformation and Social Justice, in which she examined historic and contemporary human rights campaigns in Northern Ireland and UK Government compliance with international human rights law, and a Law degree, all awarded from Queen's University Belfast. Leah is interested in monitoring and evaluating state compliance with international human rights obligations, the role of diplomacy within the UN Treaty monitoring system, and human rights within foreign policy.

Veronica Legiec – Treasurer

Veronica has a degree in Politics and International Relations from the University of Exeter. She now works in the UK Civil Service within the Ministry of Defence. 


Anna Le Bars - Head, Research Programmes | Head, Defence and Security Research Programme

Anna holds an MSc in International Security from the University of Bristol, where her thesis focused on the privatisation of security and defence, using the case study of Russian private security groups in the context of Sub-Saharan Africa. She also holds a BA in Spanish and International Relations. She now works in the Civil Service within the Ministry of Justice in Bristol.

Katherine Susich – Head, Regional Groups

Management team –  Research Programmes

Anna Le Bars - Head, Defence and Security Research Programme


Email: [email protected]    

Leah Rachel Rea, Adam Stanley – Co-Heads, Democracy and Governance Research Programme

Adam recently graduated from London School of Economics with an MSc in Philosophy and Public Policy, specialising in the role of technocracy in UK policymaking. Previously, he obtained a BA from UCL in Philosophy. Currently, he is beginning in a role at UN Global Compact, driving positive social change through the widespread reform of business practices

Email: [email protected] 


Ella Heikkinen – Head, Migration Research Programme

Ella currently works as an Access to Legal Services Advisor at a Law Centre focused on social welfare law. She holds an LLB Law degree from the University of Bristol.

Email: [email protected]


Management Team –  Regional Groups

Will Shao – Head, Agora South East

Will currently works at the Ditchley Foundation as the Technology and Democracy Networks Lead. His work in this role centres around the impact and future of emerging and disruptive technologies, including semiconductors, generational models, and XR systems.

Will holds a BA in Classics with minors in International Relations and Modern Languages from Stanford University, as well as an MSt in Classics from the University of Oxford. His thesis for the latter focused on the relevance of the Promethean myth to ethical AI.

Will runs Agora South East with the help of Lara Woo, Isabella Mawhinney, Comfort Maseko, Musa Ali, and Sophia Dong. 

 – Head, Agora South West 

Email: [email protected]  

Bradley Tait – Head, Agora London

Bradley received an MSc candidate in the Politics of East Asia from the School of Oriental and African Studies. His research focused on East Asian defence and security, with a particular focus on China. Prior to starting his MSc, Bradley lived and worked in Washington DC, where he attended George Washington University as an undergraduate, pursuing a BA in International Relations. 

Bradley runs Agora London with the help of Griffin Allen, Ritangshu Bhattacharya, and Mohammad Omer Butt. 

Email: [email protected] 


Katherine Susich –  Head, Agora Northern Ireland

Katherine recently earned an MA in Conflict Transformation and Social Justice from Queen's University Belfast. Her dissertation focused on the role of international women's rights frameworks in contemporary conflict transformation processes, with a particular emphasis on the women's sector and feminist activism in post-conflict Northern Ireland. Her research interests include Irish history, gender and conflict, and political protest and prisons in conflict-affected contexts.

Email: [email protected] 

Lauren Atkins – Head of Editorial Board

Lauren has worked in political monitoring, across a range of sectors, specialising in UK education and welfare policy. She studied Politics and International Relations at the University of Bath where she graduated with a First. Her dissertation investigated the international approach to the problem of child soldiers in modern conflict. She has also worked in the civil service. In her spare time she enjoys reading, playing netball, and BBC crime dramas.