Claudia Borgognoni Holmes
Group Founder and Chair
Born in Rome… still ‘developing’ in London. She worked in the Tourism industry in Italy and in the UK. Claudia studied at the Middlesex University, she graduated in Deaf Studies, Education and Communication (Interpreting strand) and currently works as Communication Support Worker/BSL Interpreter for various colleges across London. In August 2016, she founded UKCEN. Her idea was to provide reliable information to EU born/UK residents seeking to apply for UK citizenship. She says about UKCEN: “I feel blessed to have met such a very special group people: the volunteers of our group… I wish for all the European citizens in the UK to become voters!”
Christiane Link is a journalist and businesswoman. As a journalist, she mainly covers UK current affairs for German media outlets. She has worked for leading media companies in Germany and the UK. After her Master’s degree in Political Science at the University of Hamburg, she started working for Germany’s leading news agency dpa. She covered events around the world, from the US to India, before moving to the UK to work for the BBC.
She writes and talks about German and British politics, current affairs, media, culture, disability, IT and social media. Recent clients include ZEIT Online, epd, epd medien, Übermedien, The Guardian and Deutschlandradio.
Christiane loves flying and is passionate about access to public transport for all. As a wheelchair user herself, she believes everyone should be able to travel the world and live life to the full. In accordance with this belief, she has developed disability equality training as well as accessibility consulting, and her company Ortegalink Ltd has delivered this to enterprises of all sizes from small businesses to Stock Exchange-listed companies.
She is also an activist, campaigning for the rights of disabled people, no matter where they were born. In 2017 she started a disabled people’s organisation called Disire to lobby for disabled EU citizen’s and carer’s rights during the Brexit negotiations.
Adda spent many years as a corporate designer, marketing and presentations specialist, working for major financial institutions, before leaving the sector after the global financial crisis in 2009. She then started working as a webmaster and content creator, producing public information materials for local authorities and NHS CCGs. The financial crisis drove her to become interested in legal and consumer matters. Over the years, she became a significant contributor on the major consumer fora and obtained a paralegal qualification with CILEx. She then took an interest in immigration law and is working towards OISC authorisation while volunteering for UKCEN.
Eline van der Vlist
Eline is a curator and researcher in contemporary art. She has lived in London since 2000, taking her freedom of movement rights for granted. After Brexit she used UKCEN’s advice on several occasions. She started volunteering for the group as an admin to support others who wish to secure their status in the UK.
Karen Fornos Klein
Karen graduated in Public Relations and has a master in Marketing; however her real passion is project management. She is a certified PMP and nowadays works as Business analyst in IT environments. When Brexit was voted she found UKCEN group and after some months there, when Claudia needed help with moderation she offered her help. “Being in a group that has a goal and a positive and helpful view of this situation is a great chance to learn, support and meet other constructive people.”, says Karen.”
Muriel is originally from Belgium where she graduated in French and Spanish Linguistics and Literature at the Liege university (Belgium). After 1 year of teaching French as a foreign language in Belgium, she moved to England and started to work in a big IT company where she still works today. Soon after the Brexit referendum, Muriel decided to apply for her British citizenship. With the help of the UKCEN, she became a British citizen in January 2018. Muriel found the forum so useful and helpful to others that she offered to volunteer. Muriel is a mum of 2 (dual citizenship) children, who loves running and traveling the world to enjoy new cultures.
I was born on the western coast of Sicily. My kindergarten was Saint Mark’s square in Venice. I read my classics in a grammar school in Sicily. I was taught the secrets of my guild in the city of silk. I did climb the white cliffs of Albion as I shared with my sweeter half only the language of Shakespeare. After duly paying my taxes for seven years, I kindly asked to become a British citizen, a pleasure I was then granted. There is some irony on that, but to discovered why, you’ll have to read a thousand words: http://ale.riolo.co.uk/2013/04/a-thousand-words-worthier-than-picture.html
Elina graduated with an MA in English, German and International Politics from the University of Tampere in Finland, and studied English Literature, Linguistics and Politics at the University of Manchester. She started a career in professional services marketing (working in a law firm and an accountancy firm), but gave it up when her children were born. Elina volunteers as an active PTA member at her son’s school, and also as one of the admins at UKCEN helping others to achieve their goal of securing PR and British citizenship. Elina got her own PR just before the Brexit vote, and stumbled across UKCEN soon after. She naturalised in March 2017.
Miriam works as an Executive manager in a multinational financial services company in the City and has experience in transformation, underwriting, client management, project coordination and operations. She has degrees in Economics and Management and is certified in Lean management from Cardiff University. Miriam is passionate about developing women and chairs the UK Women & Allies ERG and is the committee member for Gender Inclusion Network for Insurance. She obtained PR and naturalised in 2017 with the help of UKCEN, where she volunteers as an admin. She is a mum of 4 (and 2 rescue cats!), and in her free time, she loves lifting, boxing and travelling the world.
Jens Kuhn works as a General Manager in a multilingual digital marketing company. With part of his role being the recruitment of staff from all over the world, he has first hand experience of the impact of stricter immigration laws on businesses. Jens considers himself a huge beneficiary of EU free movement, without which his life would have looked vastly different (and most certainly more boring). He sees volunteering at UKCEN as one way to help keep doors open for people to pursue their dreams. When he isn’t at work or on social media, he will most likely be out sailing.
Stefanie Anja Hills
Stefanie is an early career academic with a research focus on Political Communication and Information Warfare. Stefanie holds an MA (hons.) in English & Linguistics from the University of Aberdeen, an MSc in Forensic Speech Science from the University of York, and is about to submit her PhD in Information Science at Loughborough University. Stefanie teaches Research Methods and supervises postgraduate dissertations at the University of Northampton and – outside of her academic life – enjoys long distance open water swimming and making folk and americana music. Stefanie applied for Permanent Residence immediately after the Brexit vote and found the UKCEN group just before starting her naturalisation application in November 2016. She volunteers for UKCEN because she is passionate about helping people secure their status in the UK.
Louise is originally from Germany but – thanks to freedom of movement – also spent several years living, studying and working in Portugal and France.
She moved to the UK 7 years ago to start a job in the Higher Education industry and to complete her Master’s degree. She now works in the Academic Registry of a London-based university where she advises home and international students.
Through work and whilst preparing her own PR and citizenship applications, she developed a keen interest in immigration law and very much enjoys supporting others on their journey to PR/citizenship as a UKCEN admin.
Peter lives with his spouse and two sons in Coventry, the UK City of Culture 2021, where he works as assistant professor in mechanical engineering at the University of Warwick. A proud and vocal supporter of the EU, he arrived in the West Midlands in 2012 from Montréal, Québec, where he lived for three years. Peter graduated from the University of Stuttgart with a diploma and a doctorate in physics. His research focuses on building better atomistic models for modern and classic materials. Besides spending time with his family, Peter likes running, umpiring baseball games and growing fruit and veg on the allotment.
Jesus was born in Spain, but he has spent more years in the UK than there. He studied towards a postgraduate degree on Social History at Royal Holloway, London; besides History, his other interests are Civil Rights, and the Arts in general.
Silja is a qualified nurse with more than 20 years of experience in the the NHS and in Germany in a variety of roles. She is very aware of the impact of Brexit on the NHS and it’s multinational staff, many being unsure about their future status. Having recently aquired PR and British Citizenship herself with the help of the UKCEN forum, she would now like to offer help and support to other EU citizens applying for PR/citizenship through volunteering at UKCEN.