Who we are


Before living in Geneva, I taught English in Madagascar, worked for a development bookshop in Paris, researched black sport in South Africa, and did research and advocacy on societies from Burundi to the Philippines via Somalia and South Korea. I have written or edited on human rights, development, democratic reform, health, the environment, and governance, and wrote the screenplay of Taba Taba, Madagascar’s first feature film.

Raised in London, I studied philosophy and literature at Cambridge University, and African Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies. After working for policy and development NGOs for 17 years, between 1997 and 2010 I directed the International Council on Human Rights Policy (ICHRP), an independent think tank in Geneva.

I am attracted by the challenge of making complex ideas as accessible as possible.

Robert is lead editor. He provides facilitation and rapporteuring services, policy problem-solving advice, and writing advice.

FAIROUZ EL TOM - Creative director

Before joining Plain Sense, I was responsible for ICHRP’s outreach and publications, and the development of its branding. This was a great opportunity to collaborate with activists from around the world. My earlier professional experience includes UNICEF in Iraq, the Hague Appeal for Peace and Family Care International in New York.

I was born to a Swiss mother and Sudanese father, and grew up in Nepal, India, Sudan, the United States and Switzerland. I speak French, English, Arabic and some Spanish, and have degrees in international educational development from Columbia University, and in international development from American University, Washington DC.

I have trained in photography and graphic design and love shape and colour.

Fairouz leads Plain Sense on design and layout, translation, and production.

Plain Sense works with independent Associates – designers, writers, editors and translators – who make it possible to provide a rapid, high quality service whatever the demand. Our Associates remain independent but have a personal contract and relationship with Plain Sense.