Advisory Board

The objective of our Advisory Board is to establishing a network of notables with expertise in one of the following 3 areas: innovation, emerging markets, events & communications.

The remit of the Advisory Board is to help with the strategic and editorial direction of the conference. The board contributes to innovaBRICS by: (i) validating the key messages, positioning statements, angles and topics to cover in the conference; (ii) establishing a network of like-minded thought leaders in emerging markets, and (iii) advising on an ad-hoc basis on the general direction of the business.


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Abhik Sen, Head of Policy and Research, The Commonwealth


Abhik oversees policy and research at the Commonwealth Secretariat, an inter-governmental organisation, to foster sustainable development in the 53 member countries of the Commonwealth spread across Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Pacific region.

He previously has been a managing editor at The Economist Group in London, an editor at Bloomberg and a newspaper editor in India. Abhik is a World Fellow at Yale University and a trustee at Apples & Snakes, the leading arts organisation for poetry and spoken word artists in the UK.

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Michael Binyon, Lead Writer, The Times


Michael Binyon is a Leader Writer for The Times, where he previously served as Diplomatic Editor. After graduating from Cambridge University, he worked for the BBC Arabic Service, before joining The Times in 1972 as a foreign correspondent. He reported from Moscow in the '70s, and went on to cover the fall of the Berlin Wall and numerous conflicts from around the world. He is a frequent broadcaster on the BBC and and has won two British press awards. He has also published a book entitled Life in Russia (1984). Michael Binyon was awarded the OBE in 2000, for services to international journalism.

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Elena Dobson, Associate Director, Pelham Bell Pottinger


Elena has considerable experience in relationship building, marketing, promotion and business networking, gained from a career spanning both business and academia. Educated to PhD level, Elena has taught sociology, politics and media studies at universities in Russia and the UK. She holds a CAM (Communications, Advertising and Marketing) Higher Certificate.

Elena works with key clients including KazMunaiGas EP, Zhaikmunai and Perenco, among others. Previous experience includes working for such companies as Principal Global Investors, Highland Gold Mining, Great Eastern Energy and Diligence LLP. Elena is fluent in both English and Russian.
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John Battersby, UK Country Manager, Brand South Africa


John Battersby is the Country Manager of Brand South Africa in the UK. As such he is entrusted with creating, maintaining and enhancing the brand that is South Africa abroad. He is a former Editor-in-Chief of the Sunday Independent in Johannesburg (1996 to 2001). Battersby was the New York Times southern Africa correspondent from 1987-89 and the Christian Science Monitor’s southern Africa correspondent from 1989-1994.

From 1994-96 he served as the Monitor’s Middle East correspondent based in Jerusalem. He is a trustee of the Canon Collins Educational and Legal Assistance Trust. He is co-author of: Nelson Mandela: A Life in Photographs published by Sterling in the United States in December 2010. And he is author of the Afterword in the revised edition of Mandela: The Authorised Biography by Anthony Sampson (Harper Collins, 2011).