Elections of the EPEA Steering Committee Officers – Term 2023-2026

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The EPEA is pleased to announce the results of the elections of the Steering Committee Officers.

The voting link was sent to 468 members (who have paid their membership fee until May 31st, 2023), with an opening date of 16th June and a closing date of 1st July 2023. Two reminder emails were sent asking people to cast their vote.

Videos from each applicant were shared on the EPEA You Tube page.

80 members followed the link. 76 members chose to cast a vote. So, the turnout is 17% of membership.
The following persons are duly elected as officers of the Steering Committee:

  • Chair: Thomas Wüthrich, Switzerland 73 votes
  • Secretary: Sara Loja, Portugal 71 votes
  • Treasurer: Ruth McFarlane, United Kingdom 74 votes

The elected Steering Committee will meet as soon as possible online. A meeting in presence is foreseen when the new Regional Representatives – where actually needed – will have been elected by the responsible bodies.

We keep you informed.

Chair: Thomas Würthrich
Since 2019 I’m the Regional Representative for the Central Region within Steering Committee and together with my colleague Ana Ferrando I’m the co-editor of the newsletter for two years now. In summer 2022 the SC appointed me as interim chair. Recently retired I have time and I’m very motivated to continue as chair because I think that I have the knowledge and expertise to promote the further development of the EPEA. Strategically I want the EPEA to be THE platform of exchange for teachers, practitioners, coordinators and researchers involved in and committed to prison education. From a more practical point of view, I think that the EPEA has to be more active in organising events like the webinars we did during the first months of the pandemic. It could mean also that EPEA is an appreciated partner in Erasmus+ funded projects. And as one of the most important goals I see the professionalisation of EPEA. We need an employed executive secretary who can represent the EPEA at any time and place. The voluntary work of the Steering Committee has come to its limits because the professional life becomes more and more demanding. Therefore, we must find funds to be able to engage a professional secretary

Treasurer: Ruth McFarlane
I have been involved with the EPEA for 5 years, in the roles of Western Regional Rep and Projects Officer and feel privileged to have participated in this organisation. I have worked in prison education in England as a maths teacher and as a manager co-ordinating delivery of university education to students in prison. I now lead a social enterprise which partners with universities to increase opportunities for students in prison to access further and higher education. My business partner did all of his university study during a long prison sentence and we aim to break down the barriers to higher level study and to amplify the voice of people with convictions. I always welcome the opportunity to learn from others and to share good practice, especially across countries where we can learn from different approaches to policy and justice. I have particularly enjoyed meeting colleagues from across the world at the EPEA conference in Dublin, which I helped to organise and I am looking forward to the same in Norway in June. I am applying for the role of Treasurer having been active in restoring access to EPEA bank accounts and working closely on several Erasmus funded projects.

Secretary: Sara Loja
I am Sara Loja, a relentless and accomplished individual eager to seize the opportunity as your esteemed Secretary. With utmost enthusiasm, I present this letter as a testament to my unwavering dedication and undeniable suitability for this pivotal role. Throughout my academic journey, I have immersed myself in the realm of social sciences, specializing in criminology. However, my unquenchable thirst for knowledge led me to pursue a master’s degree in business administration. This unique blend of expertise equips me with a multidimensional perspective and a keen understanding of stakeholder dynamics. From a young age, I have questioned conventional approaches and strived for societal betterment. My education, coupled with an innate curiosity and a relentless pursuit of justice, empowers me to challenge the status quo and seek continuous improvement. My ability to question, critique, and forge innovative solutions is a formidable asset that will invigorate your team. Moreover, my decision to apply to your organization is driven not only by professional aspirations but also by a profound desire to make a tangible impact. As Secretary, I will not only provide unparalleled organizational prowess but also leverage my skills to elevate the lives of individuals within our society. In closing, I extend my sincerest gratitude for considering my application. I am Sara Loja, an exceptional candidate poised to excel as your secretary. Together, let us embark on a transformative journey, leaving an indelible mark on your organization and the world.