Speaking to Queen Mary University of London’s Future Global Leaders Forum, Rushanara Ali, Member of Parliament for Bethnal Green and Bow, shared with students her experiences of leadership and social responsibility.
5 March 2019
Rushanara Ali grew up in Tower Hamlets after her family moved to the UK from Bangladesh. She was elected as MP for Bethnal Green and Bow in 2010 having previously worked in the Foreign Office.
Rushanara was the first member of her family to go to university, graduating from Oxford with a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics.
Reflecting on her education, Rushanara believes that she was fortunate to have teachers who imparted a sense of community spirit in her. “My experiences instilled a sense of responsibility to give back. I believe it is important to support others who also come behind you, in whatever way you can,” she said.
Rushanara also highlighted that the decision to leave home and study in Oxford was a big one for her. “I learned that it was really important not to let others hold you back. I believe it is vital that there should not be any ‘no-go institutions’ for people. The desire to change institutions has defined my career,” she added.
Providing advice to students, Rushanara Ali emphasised the importance of human stories: “Don’t ignore people’s anecdotes and stories, because that’s how you get the insights to develop solutions.
“Good relationships and networks are important, support each other, your skill sets are enough to make change happen.”
In a candid discussion, Rushanara Ali also reflected upon her younger self. “My advice to my younger self would be don’t waste energy thinking you’re not good enough.”
Queen Mary’s Future Global Leaders Forum is a new initiative enabling students to work and learn together and build the skills, mindset and cultural agility needed in a global leader. The focus is on taking leadership and driving positive change across our campuses and local community.
Speaking about the MP’s visit, Dr Rosemary Clyne, Academic Lead for International Student Experience and Convenor of the Future Global Leaders Forum said: “Rushanara Ali is a role model for our future global leaders. The students found her presentation insightful and inspiring.”
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