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Azeem Ibrahim speaker

Azeem Ibrahim


Specialist Speaker Dr Azeem Ibrahim is Executive Chairman of The Scotland Institute, a Fellow and Member of the Board of Directors at the Institute of Social Policy and Understanding and an international advisor on policy issues.

“Just reading a list of Azeem Ibrahim’s achievements is exhausting,” declared Scotland’s Sunday Post of this multitalented whiz kid who has already packed a number of careers into one. Now in his forties, this globetrotting entrepreneur, philanthropist and scholar is building a formidable track record as a brilliant polymath and adviser to world leaders.

Born and raised in Scotland, Azeem moved from teaching himself to spot good investments in the newspapers he read in his father’s shop to a fast-paced business career. Possessed with an unstoppable work ethic, he set up a series of innovative finance companies in three continents, all before his 32nd birthday. By 2006 he was the youngest person on both the Sunday Times Scots’ Rich List and Cater Anderson’s UK Power 100 list, which called him “one of the most influential and highest achieving people in Britain.”

His commitment to relentless goal setting and challenges led him to a seven-year commitment as a reservist in the IV Battalion Parachute Regiment — the British army’s elite airborne infantry. An equally intense passion for education earned him three Master’s degrees and a PhD in Geopolitical Strategy from the University of Cambridge.

The academic world has taken notice of his accomplishments. Glasgow Caledonian University honoured him with an honorary doctorate. He received appointments from institutions as prestigious as Harvard University where he served as a research scholar at the International Security Program at the Kennedy School of Government. He was selected as a member of the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy’s Dean’s International Council and as a member of the Board of Directors at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. Yale University chose him as an ‘Emerging World Leader’ as part of their World Fellows Program. The World Economic Forum named him a ‘Young Global Leader’ and the LSDP European Social Think Tank tapped him as a ‘Top 100 Global Thinker’. Azeem’s columns are regularly published around the world, and can be read in Foreign Policy, The Scotsman and the Sunday Herald, The Middle East Times, The Huffington Post, Chicago Tribune and the LA Times.

Azeem devotes much of his time to his own charities. In addition to his community grant-giving foundation, he has founded charities that tackle problems as diverse as family and marriage breakdown in Scotland and providing clean drinking water in disaster areas.

A gifted and respected counsellor, he has offered strategic advice to a number of world leaders, on topics ranging from anti-radicalization to improving social mobility and national competitiveness. Most recently, he has advised Pakistan PM Imran Khan on policy development.

In recent years Azeem Ibrahim has been associated with the plight of the Rohingya people of Myanmar.

He has advised:

  • The British Prime Minister on how to improve access to the white-collar professions for the least advantaged in society. As the youngest member of the Prime Minister’s Special Task Force on Social Mobility, he was appointed the sub-team leader tasked with studying how internships could help to improve access to the professions in Britain.
  • King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on anti-radicalisation initiatives.
  • The Prime Minister of Turkey on how to attract more investment into Turkey from the Gulf Sovereign Wealth funds.
  • The British Parliament on Reducing Terrorism in the Long Term.
  • US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on reforming how US gives aid to Pakistan.
  • The First Minister of Scotland on how to maximise Scotland’s competitive potential.
  • The Chairman of Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Campaign Finance Committee.

Azeem Ibrahim’s keynote and sectoral speaking topics include:



Global Business

Business Trends


Extremism and Terrorism

Global Trends and Challenges

Global Politics


Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown, (as Prime Minister) – July 2009
The work that you have undertaken and published is serious and high quality. The analysis and rigour you bought to this issue (social mobility) will provide a firm platform for actions by the professions and government over the years ahead

Hon Madeleine Albright – US Secretary of State – October 2010
Your perspectives and insights were central to our discussion. Your contributions undoubtedly made this one of our most substantives dialogues to date”(Meeting of Foreign Ministers, Madrid).

Hon Michael Chertoff – US Secretary of State for Homeland Security
– July 2010
Azeem’s expertise and efforts in the field of counter-radicalisation reflect an important element of modern security and counter-terrorism strategy

Asst Chief Constable Colin McCashey – Association of Chief Police Officers Coordinator for Counter Terrorism
– May 2011
As an acknowledged world renowned commentator on the threat from Al Qaida influenced extremism. The strength and conviction of your argument was very persuasive

Ambassador John Shattuck – US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy and Human Rights – February 2009
I was struck by his great intelligence and wide ranging professional expertise and interests. Rarely have I met someone so accomplished at such an early age

Evening Times – January 2009
The Prime Minister has made a very wise choice by appointing Azeem Ibrahim to help disadvantaged people. He is an example to people everywhere and a sound choice to help others become high-flyers. And if Gordon Brown can see his value, surely it’s about time Glasgow honoured this outstanding individual

Dow Jones Wealth Bulletin – Sept 2008
Azeem Ibrahim has the perfect profile for a 21st century entrepreneur

Carter Anderson – Bank of Scotland’s Asian Power 100
– December 2007
One of the most influential and highest achieving people in Britain

Asian Enterprise – September 2008:
A man of many dimensions

Whether it is his academic life, business interests, political involvement or charity work, Ibrahim has excelled in every field to become one of the most respected and wealthiest young people in the UK today

Sunday Times
Part of his attraction to decision makers if the unique perspective he brings to these issues. He is a youthful business success; he has been lauded as a great example to British Asians and served as a reservist paratrooper for seven years

Azeem’s manner is easy too. He does not come across as dogmatic or arrogant and it is clear a sharp intellect lies behind his thoughts

Evening Times
The globe trotting founder and chairman of ECM Bank is relaxed, friendly and not at all the robotic, money making machine I had expected

The Herald
Azeem Ibrahim is a one man power house whose difficult childhood spurred him to become one of the richest men in the UK – aged only 32. He has an address book to rival a Prime Ministers

Islamic Times

Azeem Ibrahim brings focus and intensity to all his endeavors whether they be charity work or banking

Ibrahim has an exceptional track record in bringing strategic thinking to his dealings in international commerce and has a proven ability in understanding the dynamics of the international financial world

Success Magazine
Azeem Ibrahim has the focus and intensity one would expect of a successful businessman

Ibrahim’s down to earth approach is clearly rooted in a Glasgow upbringing

Sunday Times
Despite his reticence Ibrahim exudes confidence in everything he does without sounding too cocky… times his CV sounds too good to be true

The Sun
As well as being filthy rich, he also has brains


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