Staff Members

Martin O’Brien
Martin O’BrienDirector
 Prior to joining SCI, Martin worked for 11 years at the Atlantic Philanthropies. For the last three of these he was Senior Vice President with responsibility for global grant making programmes on Health, Ageing, Children and Youth, and Reconciliation and Human Rights. He led the planning process for the conclusion of Atlantic’s programmatic grantmaking. He has particular experience of working in the USA, South Africa, Ireland, Viet Nam and Cuba.  Martin is also a seasoned activist for social change having worked for over 20 years in the peace and human rights movement in Northern Ireland. He led the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ) which campaigned locally and internationally to advance human rights in Northern Ireland. Martin’s work as an effective advocate for human rights and peace has been internationally recognised with a number of awards and honours.  He has extensive experience of high impact philanthropy, fundraising, human rights, advocacy, peace building, and conflict resolution. He has worked as an activist and as a strategic grant maker and this has given him a particular insight into the most effective ways to secure social change and maximize the impact of philanthropic investment.
Padraic Quirk
Padraic QuirkDeputy Director

Padraic has over 20 years’ experience in researching, supporting and advocating for social change in Northern Ireland and internationally. He has worked inside government, in academia, as a public policy consultant and in philanthropy. His work has focused on some of the most contentious issues associated with societies emerging from conflict – tackling inequalities through public policy making, ensuring the participation of communities most effected by conflict in the development of public policy and protecting the human rights of the most disadvantaged.  Prior to joining SCI, Padraic directed Atlantic’s grant making on Northern Ireland. This focused on reconciliation and human rights, children and youth and ageing. His work in philanthropy has influenced government and other funders to support new ways of bringing about social change.  Prior to Atlantic, Padraic spent five years working as a management consultant specialising in strategic planning, equality impact assessments, evaluations and organisational reviews, supporting Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) working on reconciliation and human rights. He has published comparative research on peace building in Northern Ireland, South Africa and Israel/Palestine.

Jacqui Livingstone
Jacqui LivingstoneOperations Manager

Jacqui is the Operations Manager at SCI and is responsible for human resources, financial management, administration, events and facilities management.  She has over 20 years of experience in the field of human resources, executive support and office management.  She is an Associate member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development with extensive knowledge and experience in management and employee reward. Most recently, Jacqui has gained a further post-graduate qualification in Organisational Development and Change Management.

Avila Kilmurray
Avila Kilmurray Migration and Peacebuilding Executive

Avila Kilmurray is working as a consultant with The Social Change Initiative to support work with the Migrant Learning Exchange Programme and learning on peace building. Avila has worked in the community sector and philanthropy in Northern Ireland since 1975. She has particular interest in women’s issues and anti-poverty work and was a founder member of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition. Over the period 1994-2014 Avila was Director of the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland which prioritised support for community action and peace building. The Community Foundation managed EU PEACE Programme measures for the re-integration of politically motivated ex-prisoners as well as the victims/survivors of violence. It also supported locally-based activism around community issues and areas of social need. Avila has written extensively on the contribution that philanthropy can make to social justice, peace building and conflict transformation. Between 2014-2016 Avila worked with the Global Fund for Community Foundations to promote its work in developing the infrastructure of community philanthropy in the global South. Avila has been with The Social Change Initiative since February 2016. Avila is a member of the Working Group on Philanthropy for Social Justice & Peace; the Foundations for Peace Network and is a Board member of Conciliation Resources (UK).

Annmarie Benedict Pagliano
Annmarie Benedict PaglianoMigration Narrative Executive

Annmarie came to SCI from New York where she spent 14 years working in philanthropy at The Atlantic Philanthropies.  Her grantmaking supported the creation and implementation of advocacy strategies to advance migrant rights, civil liberties and criminal justice reform.  Annmarie also directed the monitoring of the foundation’s grants in seven countries, including Northern Ireland, and advised the design of two of the foundation’s capstone investments – one to build and expand the narrative change sector internationally and the other to internationally disseminate skills and learning in migrant rights advocacy. Before entering the philanthropic sector, Annmarie was a performing artist and teacher.

She has served on the steering committee of the International Human Rights Funders Group, lived in Paris and studied at Paris X – Nanterre, and is a member of the US Actors’ Equity Association, having performed in off-Broadway and regional theaters and on tour to over 25 US states.

Ruth Burns
Ruth BurnsAdministration and Communications Assistant

Ruth joined the SCI team in April 2016 as an Administration and Communications Assistant. Her role includes providing administrative support for SCI projects and events, as well as admin support for SCI’s migration work and its fellowship and mentoring programmes.  Ruth is also responsible for updating and maintaining the SCI website and social media channels, which she regularly creates new content for.  She has a strong media background and came to SCI from Ulster Television, where she worked for several years within the Broadcast Department as an Editor before moving into the role of Broadcast Scheduler. Ruth recently graduated with a BA (Hons) in English Language and Literature after studying part-time with the Open University.


Steven McCaffery
Steven McCafferyCommunications Strategy Executive

Steven joined SCI in September 2018 bringing his extensive experience of the media, communications, politics, and the Irish peace process. His career began as a journalist in Northern Ireland in the 1990s and he went on to hold a series of senior editorial posts in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Prior to joining SCI he was Editor of the online investigative news website The Detail, where he broke new ground in using digital media as a tool for fostering better informed political debate. His work saw him named Editor of the Year in the UK’s Online Media Awards. He had previously held two senior posts in the Press Association (PA), the internationally renowned news wire service headquartered in London. Steven was the Press Association’s Political Editor & Deputy Editor for the island of Ireland. Before joining PA, he held the post of News Editor in The Irish News, a highly regarded daily newspaper in Belfast where he had also worked as a reporter. In his senior management posts he led a string of multi-award winning news teams and as a writer and commentator he also received awards for his own journalism which included coverage of the Northern Ireland Troubles, the peace process, and British and Irish politics. Steven built a reputation for campaigning journalism which championed the importance of human rights and equality. He continues to write about these issues, while also leading SCI’s communications efforts and supporting its wider work.

Dr Rachel Williamson
Dr Rachel WilliamsonMigration Researcher & Administrator

Rachel joined SCI in June 2018, bringing her extensive working knowledge and experience of research, consumer behaviour analysis and marketing. Rachel is working as a Migration Researcher and Administrator for SCI, supporting both Annmarie and Avila closely with the delivery of the Migration Programme. Her role involves undertaking research to help with the production and dissemination of reports/learning materials arising from SCI’s Migration Learning Exchanges and Migration Narrative Initiative. Rachel also supports SCI’s social media and website design/management on migration related work alongside the development and management of SCI’s new Migration newsletter. Before joining SCI, Rachel was a Business and Marketing Lecturer at both Ulster University and Loughry College, while she successfully completed her PhD entitled ‘Exploring Consumer’s Quality Perceptions of Local NI Food & Drink Produce’ in 2017.

Board Members

Mike Posner
Mike Posner

Michael Posner is the co-director of the NYU Center for Business and Human Rights and the Jerome Kohlberg Professor of Ethics and Finance at NYU Stern. From September 2009 until March 2013, he served in the Obama Administration as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at the U.S. State Department. From 1978 to 2009, he was the Executive Director and the President of Human Rights First, a U.S.-based human rights advocacy organization. Mike is recognised internationally as a leader and expert in advancing a rights-based approach to national security, challenging the practice of torture, combating discrimination, and refugee protection.

Christine Bell
Christine Bell

Christine Bell is Professor of Constitutional Law at Edinburgh University, and Assistant Principal (Global Justice), and a founder and co-director of the Global Justice Academy, UoE. She is a Fellow of the British Academy. Previously she was Professor of Public International Law, and a founder and Director of the Transitional Justice Institute at the University of Ulster. From 1997-99 she was Director of the Centre for International and Comparative Human Rights Law at Queen’s University of Belfast. She has been active in non-governmental organisations, and was chairperson of the Belfast-based Committee on the Administration of Justice from 1995-7, and a founding member of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission established under the Belfast Agreement. In 1999 she was a member of the European Commission’s Committee of Experts on Fundamental Rights. She has authored two books on peace agreements and has taken part in various peace negotiations discussions, giving constitutional law and human rights law advice, and also providing training for diplomats, mediators and lawyers working on a variety of international conflicts.

Maggie Beirne
Maggie Beirne

Maggie Beirne has spent her working life as a human rights practitioner. For some 17 years, she worked with Amnesty International’s International Secretariat. She served for several years as a member of the organisation’s senior management team as Head of Campaigns and Membership. In that function, she had extensive opportunities to travel and work alongside AI’s campaigning membership in different parts of the globe. Maggie also worked for 10 years with the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ), the leading human rights group in Northern Ireland. She was involved in countering human rights abuses and in securing strong human rights protections in Belfast Peace Agreement (1998). She has done occasional projects alongside this work – for example with a UN Mission in Haiti (1993) and serving on a policing commission of inquiry in Guyana (2003), as well as chairing or serving in a voluntary capacity on the Board of different local Human Rights initiatives. She is based in London.