The 2015 list of the 100 most influence and inspirational British Bangladeshis was unveiled on Wednesday, 27th January at an invite-only, exclusive event in Canary Wharf. The 2015 list and the BBPI Person of the Year were announced by the Chief Guest, the Rt. Hon. William Hague MP, the former British Foreign Secretary. Other guests at the exclusive event included the Rt. Hon. Dame Tessa Jowell, Ann Main MP, Alan Johnson MP and senior representatives of other political parties and invitees from the 2015 list. The first ever BBPI ‘Person of the Year’ was awarded to Her Honour Judge Khatun Sapnara for her outstanding achievement as the first person of British Bangladeshi origin in a senior judicial position.
Looking for “talent, success and leadership”, the British Bangladeshi Power & Inspiration list (“BB Power & Inspiration”) celebrates the success of the Bangladeshi community in the UK today. It showcases the contributions and achievements of 100 top, high profile British Bangladeshis to twenty areas of British life. The list of the 100 most influential and inspirational British Bangladeshis acknowledges and celebrates the hard work and efforts of the pioneers, leaders and role models who are changing society’s perceptions of the community and helping to shape Britain for the better with their ideas, example, talent and success.
The 2015 list is the fourth publication of the BB Power & Inspiration, and this year’s list focuses on innovation and enterprise within the community. As in previous years, categories on the list include business and enterprise, innovation, public intellectuals, media, arts and culture, celebrities, civil and public service and sport. Two new categories have been added for this year: the Critics’ Choice and Westminster Hopefuls – the latter highlighting British Bangladeshi individuals who have been selected as Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPCs) for the next General Election.
BB Power & Inspiration was founded by Abdal Ullah and Ayesha Qureshi MBE, who also edit the publication. Iqbal Wahhab OBE, a serial entrepreneur, philanthropist and the proprietor of Roast at Borough Market, chairs the judging panel of BBPI. Other members of the panel include: Syed Nahas Pasha, a highly respected journalist and chief editor of Janomot newspaper and Curry Life Magazine; Ms Nahida Rahman, CEO of Channel 9 TV and the first female TV executive in British Bangladeshi television; and John Newbigin, a leading entrepreneur in the cultural and creative industry.
Many of the names on list have connections with Tower Hamlets. Among those with the strongest connections are Rupa Huq, who failed in her attempt to be selected as the Labour Party candidate for Bethnal Green and Bow, as well as Rushanara Begum MP, who was successful in her attempt to be selected for the same post. Despite telling a friend that “Bangladeshi roots… won’t cut so much ice in Punjabi dominated Southall Labour Party circles”, Rupa showed the determination that has allowed so many on the list to rise to the top and went on to be selected as Labour candidate for Ealing Central and Acton. Rushanara features in the “Critic’s Choice” section, as does Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman, described as “one of the highest profile British Bangladeshi elected” politicians.
Full details on the background to the BB Power & Inspiration can be found at www.bbpower-inspiration.com
In their own words
The Rt Hon. William Hague MP, Chief Guest
“I am delighted to be here recognising and celebrating the contribution of the British Bangladeshi community to every walk of British life including business, technology and public life. British Bangladeshis are very much part of the tapestry that makes up the British success story”.
The Rt. Hon. Dame Tessa Jowell MP
“I am incredibly proud to be a friend and staunch supporter of BBPI and all that it has achieved. All credit to Abdal and Ayesha for taking on this important project which highlights role models and inspirations in the British Bangladeshi community at a time when we need to do more to celebrate and recognise that our diversity in London and the UK is what makes us strong as a nation.”
Ayesha Qureshi and Abdal Ullah, founders of The British Bangladeshi Power & Inspiration
“We are delighted that BBPI has gone from strength to strength. We are especially proud that this year the new title of BBPI Person of the Year was awarded to Judge Khatun Sapnara. She is not only an inspiration to young British Bangladeshis, but it was because we wanted to celebrate people like Judge Sapnara that we started BBPI. Congratulations to her and all 100 BBPI names on the 2015 list.”
Iqbal Wahhab OBE, Chair of the BBPI Judging Panel
“BBPI is an incredible project of which I am very proud to be a part. I am particularly delighted to see a female winner of the new Person of the Year, but also that so many incredible British Bangladeshi women are recognised and celebrated on this year’s list. We need to see more women from our communities build careers, succeed and act as role models for more to follow suit.”
Syed Nahas Pasha, of the 2015 BBPI Judging Panel:
“BBPI has become the highlight event of the British Bangladeshi community and does us proud in providing incredible role models for the next generation of leaders and influencers from our community. The judging gets harder every year with so much boundless talent in the community. We are delighted to be finding so much undiscovered talent.”