Dialogue and Impact

Based in Cambridge, the International Forum for Understanding promotes constructive dialogue and impactful solutions for urgent contemporary challenges such as:

  • nuclear, biological, chemical and other weapons of mass destruction
  • crimes against humanity
  • migration and refugee issues
  • disarmament and non-proliferation
  • mental health and wellbeing
  • rule of law
  • empowerment in the context of age, gender, and nationality

Through facilitating discussion among opinion leaders, decision-makers and an innovative range of actors, the International Forum for Understanding focuses on achieving actionable results informed by diverse, intergenerational perspectives.


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are at the core of our activities. And we firmly believe that implementation is the key to success.

While addressing shared challenges, the interconnected SDGs define: “A blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all by 2030”.

In turn, the International Forum for Understanding engages globally to facilitate cross-sectional solutions.

We realize that gender and race are linked to education and human rights, poverty and disarmament, environmental degradation and climate change…

Understanding the cross-cutting nature of contemporary issues, we gather unique voices to create effective and sustainable results.


Our approach to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation is unique and comprehensive.

We support existing structures while facilitating dialogue on new initiatives; we understand historical context while addressing the impact of disruptive technologies on today’s nuclear stability.

Confidence-building measures to enhance trust and avert hostilities are at our core; we promote education, communication, transparency, verification – and impactful connections to the SDGs.

Executive Director Les Simm has worked on nuclear issues with the UN, international organisations, academic institutions and the Norwegian Nobel Institute.

Mental Health

Since the International Forum for Understanding understands the critical role of mental health and wellbeing in achieving the SDGs, we support MESPERO: an innovative approach to creating tools for mental health and psychosocial self-care for individuals in low-resource and conflict areas.

MESPERO engages local populations to adapt their lessons learned from lived experience into scalable, multimedia self-care solutions.

The aim is to promote resilience and build capacity by increasing mental-health literacy, closing treatment gaps, reducing stigmatisation and mitigating trauma.


Les Simm founded the International Forum for Understanding and serves as its Executive Director.

A former British Army officer (1975 to 2005) currently working in the business sector, Les has global experience consulting governments, INGO’s and other entities in areas ranging from security risk management and business resilience to humanitarian operations and disaster relief. He has significant expertise in countering transnational organised crime and human trafficking.

Les is a passionate supporter of the SDGs with a particular focus on project implementation and making a demonstrable and direct impact on people’s lives.

Heather Wokusch serves as Deputy Director for the International Forum for Understanding and Executive Director of its MESPERO project.

Please send us a message via the web form below.

International Forum for Understanding
Wellington House, East Road
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
England CB1 1BH

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