Colleen Harris – Crafting Issue-Based Communications Messages in the UK



Colleen Harris is a trailblazer in the dynamic world of public relations and communications in the UK. Here is a really brief breakdown of Colleen Harris’ background and accomplishments:

Colleen is a portfolio executive with substantial communications expertise.

Colleen held a senior communications position at 10 Downing Street, the 1st Black woman to work at Downing Street (in Mrs Thatcher’s press office), before being appointed Press Secretary to HRH the Prince of Wales, Prince William and Prince Harry.

More recently Colleen was Strategy and Communications Director at the Commission for Racial Equality and interim Group-Director of Communications at the new Equality & Human Rights Commission.

Colleen is a Member of Council at the Royal Albert Hall, sits on the Press Complaints Commission and the new Channel 4Radio strategy board. She is a Director at Colleen Harris Associates and a Director at Dignity Management Consultancy.

Colleen was awarded her MVO in 2003 for work with the Royal Family. She is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Visit the websites of Colleen Harris Associates and Dignity Management Consultants.

Zina Saro-Wiwa: A triple threat in the UK

Zina Saro-Wiwa is a triple threat: filmaker, writer and musician.

Zina is the founder of AfricaLab. AfricaLab is a production company dedicated to changing the way the world sees Africa through visual media, principally film and art. We produce films and run contemporary art projects that are explicitly designed to populate the world with fresh and fascinating images and stories from Africa’s 53 nations and her diaspora. AfricaLab’s first major project is called This Is My Africa.

View an excerpt:

You can read one of her works of fiction on Sable Lit.

Listen to her music via her MySpace page.

Alexandra Burke, X Factor winner with #1 Christmas song in UK


Alexandra started singing around the house when she was just 5. At 9 years old she sang on stage in Bahrain with her mother, one of the singers from ‘Soul to Soul’, and the audience loved her. From that moment onwards she was hooked on performing.

At the age of 12 years Alexandra entered ‘Star for a Night’ where she was the youngest person in the competition but was beaten to the no.1 spot by Joss Stone. When she first started school she was bullied because she won all the singing competitions and was in all of the school choirs. As time went on the bullying resided and she now has fond memories of school. She left school after her GCSEs to pursue a career in music.

Read her full biography on Alexandra’s site.


Patricia Sellers, Legal Advisor for Gender Related Crimes and Deputy Head of the Legal Advisory Section, Office of the Prosecutor, UN International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, International Criminal Prosecutor, Special Legal Advisor to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Independent Legal Expert


Legal Advisor for Gender Related Crimes and Deputy Head of the Legal Advisory Section, Office of the Prosecutor, UN International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, International Criminal Prosecutor, Special Legal Advisor to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Independent Legal Expert


Ms. Sellers has been a Visiting Fellow of Kellogg College since 2006. From 1994 until 2007 she was the Legal Advisor for Gender and a prosecutor at the Yugoslav (ICTY) and the Rwanda (ICTR) Tribunals. In 2007 she was a Special Legal Advisor to the Gender and Woman’s Rights Division of the United Nation’s High Commissioner for Human Rights and also advised the United Nation’s Secretary General’s Special Representative to Children in Armed Conflict in the drafting of an amicus curie brief submitted to the International Criminal Court in the Prosecutor v. Lubanga. Ms. Sellers is currently an independent legal expert in international criminal and humanitarian law.


As the ICTY Legal Advisor for Gender related crimes, Ms. Sellers participated in the development of the international legal standards for the sexual violence under crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide, including acts of rape, torture, enslavement, persecution. Ms. Sellers prosecuted the Prosecutor v. Furundzija, the first case wherein rape was recognised as a war crime under the Geneva Conventions. At the ICTR, she was co-counsel and legal strategist in the Prosecutor v. Akayesu, the first international criminal case to convict the perpetrators of the Rwanda genocide and the first international conviction to hold sexual violence as an act of genocide and rape as a crime against humanity. Ms. Sellers was the legal advisor on the Prosecutor v. Kunarac, the international conviction of enslavement under crimes against humanity, based upon acts of sexual violence.


In 2002, in Tokyo, Japan, Ms. Sellers was a Co-chief Prosecutor in a symbolic trial that highlighted the absence of legal redress for thousands of  “Comfort Women” who were enslaved by the Japanese army during World War II. Ms. Sellers has lectured internationally and authored over twenty articles on the law of armed conflict and international criminal law.


In 1999,? the American Society of International Law awarded Ms. Sellers the prestigious Prominent Women in International Law and the Black Student Association of the University of Rutgers Law School awared her the Martin Luther King Award? In 2001, the City University of New York awarded Ms. Sellers an Honorary Doctorate in Law and in 2006, she became an Honorary Fellow for Lifetime Achievement of the Law School of the University of Pennsylvania. In 2007 she was awarded the U.S. National Bar Association’s Ron Brown International Lawyer prize.


From 2002 until 2005 Ms Sellers taught a course entitled “The International Criminal Process” in Kellogg College’s Masters of Human Rights degree program. She is on the faculty of the Oxford University-Washington College of Law Summer Human Rights Program.


Sellers servied at the Directorate General for External Relations at the European Commission, the Ford Foundation in Rio de Janeiro, and the Philadelphia Defender Association. She is a former co-chair of the Philadelphia Chapter of the National Conference of Black Lawyers and is a professor in the Oxford University Joint Program in International Law.

Boma Ozobia

Boma Ozobia is the senior partner in the three-partner law firm, Sterling Partnership, in London Bridge, London.

In 2005 Boma made legal history when she became the first person of minority ethnic origin to become the national Chair of the Association of Women Solicitors (AWS) since it was established 83 years earlier. As Chair she was the official representative of the group with a responsibility for representing thousands of solicitors (currently around 20,000) who include lawyers in private practice, the Government, the general public and various organisations.

Sterling Partnership which has associated offices in Paris, Accra and Lagos, specialises in international commercial law and arbitration, property law and private client work. Boma is a dual qualified lawyer as she is also an Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. She is also an accredited mediator with the Alternative Dispute Resolutions (ADR) Group.

Read her interview with the Black Lawyers Directory.

Yvonne Brown

Yvonne Brown is the consultant and practice manager of Legal Management Consulting in London and the former Chair and founding member of the Black Solicitors??? Network (BSN).

Yvonne was born in Hackney, London, in 1961 and attended Woodberry Down School. She graduated in Law with honours from the University of Leicester. She qualified as a solicitor in 1985 and became an Assistant Solicitor with Dowse and Co.

In 1989 she joined the West End firm Claude Hornby and Cox, where she became a partner. She remained at Claude Hornby and Cox until 1994 when she established her own firm, Yvonne Brown & Co in Hackney, London, offering Legal Aid advice on children, family and education matters. Her firm was the first in Hackney to gain a Legal Aid franchise in the area of Education Law. Yvonne was committed to the education work undertaken by the firm and has said that she believes that unless black children are afforded a proper opportunity of securing a good education, then the whole black community will suffer in the longer term.

In 1996, BSN was established to represent black and ethnic minority solicitors and under Yvonne???s leadership membership grew considerably from the initial few hundred. She remains an honorary board member of the BSN and in recognition of her work, the organisation awarded her the Outstanding Solicitor of the Year award in 2006. The same year she was short-listed for the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year (LALY) award in the family category.

Yvonne has been a Higher Court Advocate since 1998 and she is also on the Family Law and Children Panel.

In 2008, Yvonne wound down her practise and established Legal Management Consulting which she set up to advise law firms to excel in practice management. She also joined the leading family law firm Goodman Ray, as a consultant.

Read the Black Lawyers Directory interview with Yvonne.