Pam Walsh OBE, President
Pam founded Friends of India in 2001 after becoming active in assisting Indian women by raising funds for the late Sir Peter Ustinov’s Global Harmony Foundation in 1999. Pam is from Durham, UK and founded the ASC-International House language school in Geneva in 1974. She directed the school until her retirement in 2004, overseeing its growth to become one of the largest language schools in Switzerland. Deeply involved in professional, charitable and cultural activities, Pam was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth in 2000, in recognition of her services to British-Swiss relations. She was granted Swiss citizenship in 2002.
Diana Smith, Vice President
Diana Smith was born and raised in the North of England and is a specialist in primary school education. Trained as a teacher, she arrived in Geneva in 1970 and proudly worked as a primary school teacher at the International School for almost 30 years. In 1997, she became a Primary School Principal and worked both in Monaco and Geneva. Since her retirement in 2010, Diana has been working mainly in Hyderabad, India, helping to open a new school for local children of all backgrounds. During her career she has been involved with several charities and brings a passion for the schooling of young children to Friends of India’s educational efforts for underprivileged children.
Ted Talbot, Treasurer
Ted is treasurer for Friends of India. Born and educated in the UK, he is a qualified chartered accountant and Member of the British Computer Society with a specialization in computerized accounting systems analysis and design. Ted founded his own consulting firm operating out of several European countries. Now semi-retired, he devotes much of his energy to the Anglophone theatre and church communities.
Ian Blowfield, Member
Ian was born and educated in England and studied gemmology. As the senior jewellery valuer for Sotheby’s in London, he auctioned many jewels from the noble families of Jaipur and Hyderabad, the funds of which were donated to worthy Indian charities. Ian moved to Switzerland in 1980 to become the European President of Phillips, the Fine Art Auctioneers. Since 2007 he has used his auctioneering skills to raise funds for FOI at its annual galas. Ian also has been deeply involved in fundraising for the Geneva English School, having assisted them for 27 years, which included raising funds for their relocation. Ian was granted Swiss citizenship in 2001.
Kris has a background in international development and has worked in India, Pakistan, Russia and Switzerland for development organisations. Her area of interest is in public-private models for development. She provides communications and project management advice and support to Friends of India and holds an MBA and a degree in Russian.
Born and educated in the United Kingdom, Andrea Waterson has a background in marketing and communications, with a degree in Engineering. She recently relocated to Switzerland after having spent several years in South India, working with local charities in the area surrounding Bangalore.
Dorene Bernard, Chair of the Indian Trust
Dorene is a dynamic businesswoman with a background in banking and multi-level marketing. She currently owns and runs a thriving software company with her husband. One of their noteworthy products is a performance and financial management software for non-profit organisations. Dorene brings sound knowledge and experience in new approaches to fundraising and networking. While managing her home with two children, Doreen also oversees the administration of a school for mentally challenged girls.
Advitya Thapa, Operations Officer
Advitya holds a Degree in Philosophy and a Post Graduate Degree in ‘Counselling and Guidance and Advanced Organizational Behaviour’ from the Madras School of Social Work. Previously he worked with people suffering from HIV, socially marginalized individuals, and Sri Lankan Tamil Refugees.
Kiran J. Prabhu Young, Member
Kiran has a background in business and completed a management degree from University of Leeds. He is currently with Reliance Group. Kiran has a passion for working to ensure dignity and livelihoods for the underprivileged and has translated this energy into fundraising for various worthy causes over the past 15 years. He believes strongly in community development and working through local partnerships to bring programs to scale.