Member organisations met at our 2019 Council Meeting in Athens and had a chance to decide the MS International Federation’s leadership through voting for the board, officers and nominating committee for the period 2019-2021.
The board of trustees play a key role in providing overall strategic direction and monitoring MSIF’s progress. They also approve the annual budget, monitor and approve financial statements and ensure effective planning and resource management.
All board members are recruited for their skills and experience in order to help us run effectively. Particular attention is paid to experience of MS (people with/affected by MS, volunteers), size of member organisation, geographic representation, and to a Board that reflects a range of backgrounds and perspectives.
MSIF’s Board currently comprises 26 members including the Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer and Board Secretary. Many board members either have MS or have someone close to them who does.
The Board meets twice a year in person. There are also meetings of specialist committees (Finance and Audit, Fundraising, People with MS Advisory, Nominating) on which some board members sit.
To find out more about what the Board does, you can download our governance compilation.
Our board members
CHAIR – Mai Sharawy (Egypt)
Mai is a Professor of Neuro-Ophthalmology at Cairo University. She has founded MS Care, the first patients’ society for any disease in Egypt. She served as board secretary for six years. Mai was elected Chair of MSIF in 2019. She also serves on MSIF’s Nominating Committee.
VICE CHAIR – Marie Vaillant (Canada)
Marie was diagnosed with MS in 1996. Marie serves as the Vice Chair of the board, Chair of the People with MS Advisory Committee and a member of MSIF’s Nominating Committee. She was Vice Chair of the Ontario & Nunavut Division Board of the MS Society of Canada until 2017.
TREASURER – Vicky Annis (UK)
Vicky is Executive Director of Finance, Strategy and Impact at the UK MS Society.
BOARD SECRETARY – Martin Stevens OBE (UK)
Martin has been living with MS since 1993 and has been active in the UK MS Society since 1996. He is Chair for Disability Rights UK and chaired MSIF’s People with MS Advisory Committee from 2012 – 2019.
Desmond Graham (Australia)
Desmond was appointed to the MS Australia Board in 2014, and elected President in 2019. He has also been a board member of MS Limited since June 2016 and was recently appointed to the MS Research Australia Board.
Charles van der Straten Waillet (Belgium)
Charles is Chairman of Ligue Nationale Belge de la Sclérose en Plaques. He is also on the board of the two Belgian regional societies, MS-Liga Vlaanderen vzw and Ligue Belge de la Sclérose en Plaques – Communauté Française asbl. Charles serves on MSIF’s Nominating Committee.
Brenda Banwell (Canada)
Brenda serves as the Chief of Child Neurology and Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She also chairs MSIF’s International Medical and Scientific Board and the International Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Study Group.
Pamela Valentine (Canada)
Pamela is a trained research scientist and has served as the MS Society of Canada’s President and Chief Executive Officer since 2018. She is a founding executive member of the Patient Reported Outcomes Initiative for MS.
Christian Bardenfleth (Denmark)
Christian has served as chairman of Scleroseforeningen (The Danish MS Society) since 2006. He also works as partner and attorney-at-law at one of the top five law firms in Denmark.
Klaus Høm (Denmark)
Klaus has served as the Chief Executive Officer of Scleroseforeningen (The Danish MS Society) since 2015, following a career in national and international human rights and humanitarian organisations. Klaus has chaired MSIF’s CEO Advisory Group since 2016.
Guillaume Courault (France)
Guillaume is administrative and financial manager of an industrial and textile group that focuses on private asset management. He has served as Treasurer of Ligue Française contre la Sclérose En Plaques (French MS Society) since 2007.
Herbert Temmes (Germany)
Herbert was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Deutsche Multiple Sklerose Gesellschaft Bundesverband e.V (DMSG) in 2019. He brings nearly 20 years of experience in the NGO sector, having been the Chief Executive Officer of the DMSG chapter in Saarland (Southwest of Germany).
Dimitra Kalogianni (Greece)
Dimitra, who has MS, is a member of the Board of the Greek MS Society. She also serves on the Board of the European MS Platform (EMSP).
Viresh Oberoi (India)
Viresh is President of the All India Multiple Sclerosis Society of India (MSSI). He has an extensive background in corporate sales and e-commerce. Today he is actively involved in running/mentoring 4 companies.
Mario Battaglia (Italy)
Mario is President of Associazione Italiana Sclerosi Multipla (AISM) and is a founding executive member of the Patient Reported Outcomes Initiative for MS. He is Professor of Hygiene and Public Health at the University of Siena.
Alessandro Perfetti (Italy)
Alessandro has lived with MS since 2008. He is a National Board Member of Associazione Italiana Sclerosi Multipla (AISM) and lectures on International Organisation Laws and European Law at the University of Teramo.
Wissam El Hajj (Lebanon)
Wissam was diagnosed with MS in 1997. She is the Secretary of Amis Libanais des Sclérosés en Plaques (ALSEP), where she leads on awareness raising and government liaison.
Liesbeth Kooij (Netherlands)
Liesbeth was a physiotherapist at Nieuw Unicum, a multidisciplinary care institution in the Netherlands. She is now the co-founder and manager of Nieuw Unicum’s MS-Expertise centre.
Ana Torredemer (Spain)
Ana serves on the board of Esclerosis Múltiple España (EME). She also serves on the board of Fundació Cemcat, focused on research and knowledge of MS.
Pedro Carrascal (Spain)
Pedro is the CEO of three organisations: Esclerosis Múltiple España (EME); the Biscay MS Society; and the MS Basque Foundation. He is also the President of the European Multiple Sclerosis Platform (EMSP).
Nick Moberly (UK)
Nick joined the UK MS Society as Chief Executive at the beginning of 2019. Most recently, he was CEO at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in London.
Andrea Prato (Uruguay)
Andrea was diagnosed with MS in 2011, aged 22. She offers voluntary support as an honorary psychologist Uruguayan University Hospital Multiple Sclerosis Polyclinic and she is part of Esclerosis Múltiple Uruguay’s management team.
Cyndi Zagieboylo (USA)
Cyndi started her career with the US National MS Society in 1985 has served as President and Chief Executive Officer since 2011. She chairs the executive committee of the International Progressive MS Alliance.
Peter Galligan (USA)
Peter is the Chair of the National MS Society. In his professional career, he is an independent banking consultant. Peter also serves on MSIF’s Nominating Committee.
Kim Phillips (USA)
Kim has lived with MS for over thirty years and been an enthusiastic MS advocate throughout this period. Her MS-related leadership roles have included serving on the National Board of the National MS Society (NMSS) in the USA, Chair of the Southern California Chapter, and Chair of the Society’s 2019-2021 Strategic Plan Committee.