Who We Are


Jane Herbstritt – Information and administration coordinator

Jane is the Administrator at the Peace & Justice Centre. She also works part time at Global Justice Now and has worked in the voluntary sector since she moved to Edinburgh twenty years ago. Other jobs have included working for Scottish Environment LINK and the Scottish Civic Forum. You can email Jane at: admin[at]peaceandjustice.org.uk

Mark Birkett, Peacebuilding Coordinator. 

Since graduating from The Univerity of Edinburgh in 2019 with a Master’s in Religious Studies, I have been working within a broad field of community development in and around Craigmillar. 

I am interested in developing new forms of community and facilitating peacebuilding initiatives within our rapidly changing world.  

In my spare time, I enjoy reading, writing, and playing niche historical board games. 


David SomervellTrustee, Convenor of the Board

In his role as convener of the P&J David continues his involvement with the peace  and anti-nuclear movement which started in 1977 – campaigning against Torness near Edinburgh.

Career Summary:  David trained as an architect at Edinburgh College of Art and Oxford Polytechnic and specialised in energy and sustainable services provision.  He was Technical Services Manager for Heatwise Glasgow 1984 – 89 when 100,000 Glasgow tenants had energy conservation measures installed in a multi-funded, multi agency programme providing training and employment for long-term unemployed.

His role as a change agent as much as a technical solutions provider evolved during his years with the University of Edinburgh – recognised as having a sector-leading role in implementing best practice in strategic energy & environmental management techniques.  Initially appointed as Energy Manager in 1989, David stepped back from paid role as University Sustainability Adviser in 2016.

In his last five years at Edinburgh he was instrumental in helping establish the University’s Department for Social Responsibility and Sustainability – free-standing as a support department – alongside Estates, Procurement and Health and Safety etc.

Awards:  UoE 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award for Sustainability and NUS Green Impact Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015 for “being a genuine sustainability legend, and inspiring a generation of students”.

Jan Benvie, Secretary

Jan is a retired Primary School teacher who spent 4 years in the Middle East with Christian Peacemaker Teams in both Iraq and Palestine Israel.

Since retiring she has joined the Management Committee of the Centre and has a particular interest in the Peacebuilding in Schools work the Centre is undertaking.

She is a member of the Anglican Third Order of Society of St Francis and is a Trustee of the Anglican Pacifist Fellowship, one of the groups that have supported the Centre’s Peacebuilding in Schools project.

As well as her time as a human rights monitor in the Middle East, Jan has always been involved in a range of peace and justice issues at home and abroad. She is a member of Edinburgh Women in Black, Chair of Edinburgh Action for Palestine and Secretary of the Scottish Palestinian Forum.

When not undertaking work with the various groups she is involved with, Jan enjoys walking and reading.

Seonaid Stewart – Treasurer

A recent recruit to P&J Scotland, as treasurer with the board, Seonaid brings with her years of financial experience gained working  in the charitable sector , community arts and  the theatre. In her new role,  she hopes to bring  her expertise to  assist P&J Scotland to  establish  solid  long-term funding,  as well as further expansion of its community enterprise so that the organisation may thrive in its new base.

Seonaid co founded Artsadmin with Judith Knight in 1979, formed to look after the management of experimental theatre groups and arts practitioners.  It celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2019 in its own building at Townbee Hall, East London. Seonaid was involved as.a board member until 2016. Other theatre experience includes Assistant Manager with Royal Lyceum Edinburgh, and Theatre coordinator with Oval House theatre and community Arts and education centre, South London. 

From 1998 until retirement Seonaid  worked with Oxfam as a shop manager. Apart from being a cause she believes in, the job had scope for entrepreneurship, as well as the enjoyment of working with volunteers, trainees and customers.

Seonaid was awarded BA hons from Salford University in 1997 in Visual Arts and Culture and continues to enjoy photography. drawing and painting.

Agatha Kai-Kai – Board member

My current interest in working for people Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Justice & Peace is far removed from my scientific career. I studied zoology for first degree, a Ph.D. in neurophysiology and lectured in preclinical veterinary science. My research interest was transmission and processing of pain mechanisms. But I developed an interest in working for refugees when I had direct experience with people fleeing from civil war.  I saw the trauma, pain and the long-term destructive effects of war on people. I agonized over the prolonged immigration process and often the lack of understanding of the problems of displaced people so decided to join the campaign for refugees using my lived experience to be an ambassador.

My aspirations are that our contributions will change the narrative about refugees, making them welcome, accepted and integrated into British communities. I believe it is a Justice & Peace matter to respect the Human Rights of refugees. People do not choose to be refugees, they are displaced by wars, conflicts, persecution and climate change and it is Christian charity to have more humane immigration laws.

David McColl – Board member

David is our newest board member (May 2024) and currently works for Embrace the Middle East as their Programmes and Partnerships Manager – Israel and Palestine.

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