Management Team

The City Circle is an open circle for open minds

Management team

The City Circle's Management Team comprises a board of trustees together with an executive team who run the charity's projects. All members of the team are volunteers and undertake their work for City Circle in their spare time. 


Sameera Hanif
Co-Chair and Trustee
Email: [email protected]

Sameera is a communications consultant with over 10 years’ experience in delivering international media campaigns, managing events and developing marketing strategies for clients in the design, architecture and art industries. Sameera is interested in numerous social, political and ethical issues and a firm believer in the power of instigating positive change through local community projects. As part of the Communications team at City Circle, Sameera supports our weekly #cctalks programme, helps with organising and managing fundraising and social events as well as with the ongoing promotion of the City Circle on social media, primarily Twitter.


Ben Walker
Co-Chair and Trustee 
Email: [email protected]

Ben is part of City Circle's communications team. He helps publicise events through social media, including Twitter and Facebook, and assists with editing the website. He also assists with running City Circle's events, and occasionally helps with the homeless project.

Ben has always been interested in a wide range of social, political, and ethical issues, and enjoys hearing about and discussing these at City Circle's regular talks.

Ben's professional background is in marketing and sales, and over the last decade he has worked in publishing, law and professional services. He now applies his skills in event management and digital communications to City Circle. You can follow him on Twitter @benwuk.


Zeshan Ghory
Trustee - Education
Email: [email protected]

Zeshan has been involved with the City Circle Saturday School since 2006, initially as a volunteer teacher, and then as headmaster of the school from 2013-15. He is a passionate believer in life-long education being a powerful force for change, particularly in raising aspirations and improving social mobility.

Professionally, Zeshan works in the technology sector and is part of the management team of a healthcare technology venture based in London and New York. He holds a degree in mathematics from Imperial College and an MBA from INSEAD.


Arsalan Obaidullah
Trustee - Education
Email: [email protected]

Arsalan's involvement with the City Circle has principally been through the Saturday School project. He has been a volunteer at the West London school since its inception 14 years ago, firstly as a Maths teacher and later as the Head teacher. In 2012 he helped to launch the CC Harrow Saturday School. His current focus is on strengthening and expanding the CC Saturday School model.

Arsalan trained as a Chartered Accountant at Deloitte after which her worked as an equity analyst at Morgan Stanley looking at European Energy and Utility stocks. In 2013 he left the City to set up his own real estate development and investment business


Asim Siddiqui
Founding Trustee - Strategy
Email: [email protected] 

Asim Siddiqui is a founding trustee and former chairman of the City Circle.  He is also a trustee of the Muslim Institute.

Asim has been on the front cover of TIME Magazine as part of a piece on ‘Europe's Muslim Success Story.'   He has featured in a number of books on the development of British Muslim communities including “Young, British Muslim Voices” (Greenwood World), “Young, British & Muslim” (Continuum) and “Race, Islam and Being British” (Guardian/Barrow Cadbury Trust).  

Asim is head of compliance at an international banking group in London.  He is a fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and a member of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment . 


Layla El-Wafi
Email: [email protected]

Layla is a practicing solicitor in the City of London specialising in finance and infrastructure projects. She has previously worked with local and international NGOs with social and human rights interests in the USA, Middle East and England. She is Arab American and has been living in London for seven years. Her focus as a Programme Facilitator for City Circle focus is to strengthen ties with professionals in the City as well as organise events relating to the Arab world.


Dr Rabia Malik
Trustee - Psychosocial Issues and Community Relations
Email: [email protected]

Rabia is an academic social Psychologist and practicing Systemic Psychotherapist.  She is Co-Head of the Marlborough Cultural Therapy Centre, a specialist therapeutic service for ethnic minority clients in London.  She has extensive experience of working with Muslim clients’ psycho-social problems and is especially interested in the interface between Islamic spirituality and psychotherapy. Rabia’s doctoral research was on the cultural construction of depression amongst Pakistanis.  Rabia was previously a senior lecturer in Psychosocial Studies at the University of East London.  She is also a freelance trainer and writer and has written several papers relating to identity and mental health in Muslims and has delivered tailored training and teaching to professionals in this subject, both nationally and internationally.  Rabia has held Board positions with a number of community organisations including the Muslim Youth Helpline. In her spare time, Rabia’s interests include theatre, music and travelling. Her passions include philosophy, poetry, textiles and Islamic art. 

Rabia was the first female Chair of the City Circle and was appointed in April 2009.


Ishmail Chicktay
Executive Committee - Public Relations
Email: [email protected]

Ishmail has been actively involved with City Circle since 2007, initially helping to organise and fundraise for the homeless projects. He has also been part of a team which raised money to support a skills training centre in Kosovo, which provided widows and orphans the necessary IT, English and Textile skills for full time employment. He has also been a volunteer at the CC Saturday School since 2009, teaching Maths to years 7 & 8.

Ishmail has been a prominent fundraiser for City Circle, regularly hosting charity events and promoting the City Circle name through other initiatives such as the Mayor of London’s Eid in the Square festival.

Ishmail studied Computer Science at University and has worked for a variety of roles within Industry and Consultancy.  He is currently working as a freelance IT consultant.  



Samia Khalid
Executive Committee - Homeless Project
Email: [email protected]

Samia is passionate about community engagement and social activism and spends a great deal of her time volunteering with various projects. She is the project manager for the City Circle homeless project which collaborates with the Children of Adam group who weekly serve over 150 homeless people with food, drink and clothing. She has been a volunteer for Children of Adam for over 3 years and in 2014 took responsibility of the City Circle homeless project. Samia also teaches year 10 Maths at the City Circle Saturday School.

Shabana Saleem
Executive Committee - Events
Email: [email protected]

Shabana is a practicing Barrister, working at Charles Russell Speechlys. She is a member of the Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn, where she was the first Muslim elected President of the Association of Gray’s Inn Students. Shabana was previously a lecturer in International Arbitration and International Human Rights at City University.

Shabana practises international family law, with a focus on proceedings involving the Middle East and Islamic Law. She has volunteered in advice clinics for over eight years, and works with local and international NGOs in developing child protection policies.

She volunteers for City Circle, through organising events on legal issues that affect minority communities in the United Kingdom, and within Muslim countries abroad. If you wish to volunteer in an advice clinic or suggest any legal issues for the free lectures, please email her directly.


Dania Hanif
Executive Committee - Campaigns

Dania is the Campaigns Coordinator at City Circle, delivering social change campaigns and organising events on various issues. Working in public policy research and development for many years, Dania has an interest in politics and public affairs and organises national events to engage with key stakeholders and policymakers.

Dania has a background in community engagement having worked for her local authority, and has since developed a passion for delivering change at the local level. Dania is also an Ambassador for a children’s educational international development charity and is dedicated to ensuring the education, development and empowerment of children.

Dania read History at the School of Oriental and African Studies. She has interests in photography, theatre and baking. You can follow her on Twitter @daniahanif.



Umair Saeed
Executive Committee - Fundraising
Email: [email protected]

Umair connected with the City Circle after becoming a volunteer at its Saturday School in Westbourne Park. He currently works as Field Producer and Researcher for the Scott Sisters at the Indy Production House - Ground Truth Productions.

His interest in community related affairs have led him to volunteer much of his time towards causes in which he finds connections. He has used sport as a way to install determination and discipline into the lives of young children growing up in tough environments and provides mentoring for ex-offenders looking to use entrepreneurship as a method of progression following prison time. Umair has connections and has worked alongside multiple Muslim organisations based in the UK in the hope of tackling Extremism and Islamophobia. In 2012 he set up a debate club in order to bring together voices from within the British Muslim community to discuss pressing issues and current affairs.

He has also been active in politics where he has provided strategic communications reports for smaller, independent parties and stood for a seat as councillor himself in the London Borough of Newham.