We are delighted to welcome Nicola Cobbold as the new Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Anne Frank Trust UK. 

Nicola has spent the past 16 years in the not-for-profit sector, having previously worked as a media lawyer. She will take up the reins as Chair at the end of November, following the retirement of our current Chair, Daniel Mendoza OBE, who has been a Trustee of the Anne Frank Trust since 2003 and Chair since 2011. 

Learning from Anne Frank and the Holocaust, the Anne Frank Trust UK empowers young people aged 9 to 15 to challenge all forms of prejudice. Our work uniquely combines Holocaust education, youth empowerment and peer education to create lasting positive changes in young people’s behaviours and attitudes towards others.

As our new Chair, Nicola will brings with her a wealth of experience. A Cambridge graduate, she chaired the PaJes School Wellbeing Project from 2018 – 2022, is a founding shareholder of Social Finance Israel and is currently a Trustee of The Portland Trust, The Global Steering Group for Impact Investment and Bridging Insights. Interspersed with her legal career, Nicola worked in reconciliation and coexistence, compiling a report for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, and acting as a Trustee for the Jewish Council for Racial Equality. She also spent eight years as the CEO of The Portland Trust, a British non-profit ‘action tank’, working with a range of partners to help develop the Palestinian private sector and relieve poverty in Israel through entrepreneurship and social impact investment. Nicola is the granddaughter of Dutch refugees. She is married to Humphrey and has three children.

Speaking following her appointment, Nicola said

“In our highly polarised world, educating and empowering young people to recognise prejudice and behave positively towards others, whatever their backgrounds or differences, could not be more important. The overwhelming need and demand for the unique educational programmes that the Anne Frank Trust offers is particularly evident today as we see horrifying surges in antisemitism and Islamophobia. I want to pay tribute to my predecessor Daniel Mendoza for his many years of service. He leaves an extraordinary organisation with proven, focused educational programmes driven by a dedicated and passionate team. I am deeply honoured and excited to lead the Trust to both meet the current challenges and develop ambitious plans as we head towards the centenary of Anne Frank’s birth in 2029.

Dr Eva Schloss MBE, Co-Founder and Honorary President of the Anne Frank Trust UK, stepsister of Anne Frank and survivor of Auschwitz, said

“I am proud to have been one of the co-founders of the Anne Frank Trust more than 30 years ago, and it gives me immense pleasure to see us reaching more and more young people every year, educating them about the Holocaust and all forms of prejudice today. I am truly grateful to Daniel Mendoza for the tremendous contribution he has made to this success story, and I am delighted to welcome Nicola Cobbold as our new chair of trustees. I have no doubt Nicola will take this vital charity to even greater heights.”

Under Daniel Mendoza’s leadership, the number of young people we reach has grown exponentially; in 2022 alone, 92,438 young people were empowered to recognise and challenge prejudice through our programmes. Robust independent research carried out by the University of Kent indicated that 84.4% of these young people became more positive towards different social groups as a result of our work, with the greatest pro-social development taking place in their attitudes towards Jewish people.

Welcoming Nicola, Daniel said

“It has been an absolute honour and privilege to have served at the AFT. We have had incredible impact on an issue that is so core to society and our humanity however, we are still scratching the surface as to our potential and it is within this context that I am excited for the Trust that Nicola will be my successor. She brings a wealth of experience, skill sets and intuitive understanding of the Trusts purpose, and have no doubt of her ability to enable this charity to have even greater impact.”

Anne Frank Trust CEO, Tim Robertson, commented

“Daniel has been a greatly loved chair and he’s a hard act to follow, but if anyone can do that follow I’m sure it’s Nicola. She’s a terrific appointment and all of us in the staff team are already enjoying her energy, wisdom and warmth. The anti-prejudice education we provide has never been needed more urgently than now. I’m so pleased we have Nicola in post as we respond to the current needs and plan our future growth.”

We will honour Daniel’s many years of service, and formally welcome Nicola to the Board of Trustees, at a special reception next week.