Dr. Veronica Crosbie -- Chairperson
Dr. Veronica Crosbie was appointed the Chair of POSI early in 2022. As a former Assistant Professor in Migration and Intercultural Studies in DCU and outgoing Chair of the MA Refugee Integration, she brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the role. Veronica was a key player in establishing DCU as the first University of Sanctuary in Ireland in 2016 and was the founding Chair of the University of Sanctuary Ireland (UoSI) network. She has conducted Participatory Research projects on refugee integration and has supervised and examined PhD theses in related areas.
Veronica contributes to refugee integration at a local level, through her leadership initiatives including establishing the Phibsboro Community Sponsorship and Phibsboro For All programmes, both inclusive community led initiatives to welcome people with migrant and refugee backgrounds into the neighbourhood. Veronica is an able and vocal advocate for refugee rights in Ireland and beyond.
Andy Pollak -- Board Member
Andy is Secretary of Schools of Sanctuary Ireland and a founding leader of the Sanctuary in Politics programme. He is the son of a Jewish political refugee who fled the Czech Republic during the upheaval of World War 2. Andy was the founding director (1999-2013) of the Centre for Cross Border Studies and brings vast cross-border experience to Places of Sanctuary Ireland. A renowned journalist, he was religious affairs correspondent, education correspondent, assistant news editor and Belfast reporter with the Irish Times. In the early 1990s he was co-ordinator of the Opsahl Commission, the independent ‘citizen’s inquiry’ into ways forward for Northern Ireland. He is the co-author of a biography of Rev Ian Paisley and a biography of Seamus Mallon. Andy is also a board member of Glencree Peace and Reconciliation Centre.
Aileen Kennedy- Board member
Aileen Kennedy hails from the townland of Shielbaggan in South West Wexford. She is currently the principal of Bunscoil Loreto, Gorey, the first school to receive School of Sanctuary Champion status in the Republic of Ireland. Aileen is passionate about fostering an ethos of inclusion and welcome in the school.
Aileen has almost 30 years experience in education with much of it in the areas of leadership and management. Aileen is an avid musician and believes in the importance of music in education.
Gerry Hassett -- Board Member
Gerry Hassett is a former CEO of Irish Life Financial Services and has over 30 years’ experience in leadership roles in Ireland and Canada. He is Co-Founder of Instech.ie which aims to develop an Irish Insurtech Hub. He currently mentors and invests in a range of Fintech Startups. Gerry contributes to the PoSI Board mainly in the areas of strategy, governance, and fund-raising.
Mavis Ramizani -- Board Member
Mavis Ramizani is a lover of uniting communities by sharing food and is the founder of Cooking for Freedom. She is a multi-award winner in the fields of Community, Justice, and Integration, including SHEROES and the Dublin Mayor Award. She was nominated by Diverse-IN in 2022 as one of the 130 women breaking the bias globally. She is a community builder, a social justice advocate for women and girls from a socially marginalized background, and a supporter of gender equality and of ending food poverty. Mavis works as a mentor and a Project Officer for the Irish Refugee Council, supporting refugee women secure sustainable employment and pathways to entrepreneurship. She has extensive experience in skills development, talent management, community work, people development, and management, from working in the corporate sector, local government, and the NGO sector. She is also an active member of the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland and Refugees and Migrant Solidarity Ireland.
Brother Kevin Mascarenhas -- Board Member
Br. Kevin, a Presentation Brother, is one of the founders of Waterford Place of Sanctuary, the first City of Sanctuary group in Ireland. He brings vast experience in the refugee sector and has been the Director of the Information and Support Unit (ISU) at Edmund Rice Centre in Waterford since 2006. He has also been involved in other parts of the community and voluntary sector and has experience with homeless people and refugees in inner city Dublin as well as Waterford. Kevin has lived in five different cultures since leaving his birthplace in Pakistan, which helps him empathise with new citizens and asylum seekers.
Tonye Benson Olatunde -- Board Member
Tonye believes that the global-scale disruptions caused by greed, wars, and environmental misuse have resulted in massive dislocation and relocation of people across the world and therefore, there is a great need to focus on achieving harmony in diversity in societies. She posits that the need to respect diversity and inclusion and promote equality, social justice, and human rights, has never been more exigent and that achieving this needs an ‘all hands on deck’ approach. She believes that the work Places of Sanctuary do in supporting displaced people is very important for displaced people and asylum seekers whom she identifies with and is committed to supporting.
Tonye is a Senior University Tutor, lecturing and coordinating programmes in the Department of Applied Social Studies, at Maynooth University where she has worked since 2013.
Tonye is committed to social justice, human rights, and equality, and she is passionate about social change and harmony in society. Tonye brings more than 20 years of experience working with marginalised groups in Irish society as well as lived experience relevant to the work Places of Sanctuary does.
Dr. Tetyana Lokot-- Board Member
Dr. Tetyana Lokot is an Associate Professor in Digital Media and Society at the School of Communications, Dublin City University. A native of Ukraine, she researches threats to digital rights, networked authoritarianism, online disinformation, digital resistance, internet freedom and internet governance. She is the author of Beyond the Protest Square: Digital Media and Augmented Dissent, an in-depth study of protest and digital media in Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity. She is also the Vice-Chair of the ECREA Ukraine Task Force.
As a researcher, Tetyana has a long-standing involvement with civil society and advocacy groups in the area of media freedom and digital rights, including Freedom House and Global Voices Advox. Prior to embarking on a research career, she worked as a journalist, non-profit consultant, and media trainer in Ukraine, Belarus, and Georgia, and speaks fluent English, Ukrainian, and Russian.