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Azeem Ibrahim speaker

Azeem Ibrahim


When world leaders need experienced strategic advisers, they increasingly reach to Prof Azeem Ibrahim OBE. This globe-trotting polymath is building a formidable reputation for perceptive analysis of major global trends and thoughtful policy responses. His instinctive understanding of the diversity of challenges today, from terrorism to democratic backsliding has seen him advise over half a dozen world leaders on strategy and policy over the past two decades.

Lauded as a first-class critical thinker, Azeem is a world citizen with a unique perspective, and when he speaks, world leaders and governments listen. Most recently, Dr Ibrahim advised the United Kingdom’s 2021 Integrated Defence and Security Review and the G7 Leader’s Panel on Economic Resilience. Prior to this, Dr Ibrahim served as Team Leader on Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Social Mobility Task Force and was a founding member of the UK’s Commission for Countering Extremism. In the US, Dr Ibrahim served as a Foreign Policy Advisor to the Biden for President Campaign and has delivered briefings to the White House, Congress, Senate, State Department, Pentagon and many other US agencies. Overseas, he served as Strategic Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, where he pioneered policy on tackling corruption and reducing illiteracy.

He is also a highly-sought writer on international affairs, a Columnist at Foreign Policy magazine and has written hundreds of pieces for publications including in the New York Times, Washington Post, (London) Daily Telegraph, The Times (UK), Chicago Tribune, LA Times, Newsweek, The National Interest, Yale Global and many others.

His academic background speaks for itself: After earning three Masters degrees and obtaining a PhD from the University of Cambridge, he completed fellowships at the Universities of Oxford, Harvard and Yale. The World Economic Forum named him a ‘Young Global Leader’ and the European Social Think Tank tapped him as a ‘Top 100 Global Thinker’. In 2019 he was awarded the International Association of Genocide Scholars prize for his ground-breaking work on the Rohingya genocide.

Prof. Ibrahim also served as a reservist in the IV Battalion Parachute Regiment – the British Army’s elite airborne infantry –, and was Commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel by the Governor of Kentucky, Hon Steve Beshear in 2010. In 2022, he was awarded an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, for his services to foreign policy.

Azeem Ibrahim’s keynote and sectoral speaking topics include:



Global Business

Business Trends


Extremism and Terrorism

Global Trends and Challenges

Global Politics



Awards and milestones

Officer of the Order of the British Empire
June 2022

International Association of Genocide Scholars Award
Aug 2019


Awarded Izetbegovic Good Citizenship Award

March 2013


Received Jinnah Award at UK Foreign Office
Feb 2011


Commissioned as Kentucky Colonel by Governor of Kentucky, Steve Beshear
July 2010


Awarded ‘Ideas Scholarship’ for Aspen Ideas Festival 2010
July 2010


Appointed Governor at Glasgow Caledonian University
July 2010


Scottish Muslim Contributor of the Year Award

March 2010


Named as World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leader
Feb 2010


Named as ‘Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2009’ European Social Policy Think Tank

Jan 2010


Honorary Doctorate from Glasgow Caledonian University
Dec 2009


Scotland’s Distinguished Citizens Award St Andrews Society
Nov 2009


Insider Elite International Executive of the Year

Oct 2009


Named as ‘Emerging Global Leader’ by Yale World Fellows Program
April 2009


Scottish Asian Business Entrepreneur of the Year Nov 2008

Appointed Ambassador for HRH Prince Charles’ Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust
Sept 2008


KPMG – Lloyd TSB Business and Commerce Excellence Jewel Award
April 2008


Youngest Member of Carter Anderson’s Bank of Scotland Power 100
Dec 2007




Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown
“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  “ Your perspectives and insights were central to our discussion. Your contributions undoubtedly made this one of our most substantive

dialogues to date” (Meeting of Foreign Ministers, Madrid).


Hon. Michael Chertoff – US Secretary of State for Homeland Security  
“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 
As an acknowledged world-renowned commentator on the threat from Al Qaida-influenced extremism, the strength and conviction of your argument was very persuasive.”


Imran Khan, leader of Pakistan’s PTI party  

“We are delighted to have Ibrahim at the heart of our operation.”


Ambassador John Shattuck – US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy and Human Rights
“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
“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
“Azeem Ibrahim has the perfect profile for a 21st century entrepreneur.”


Carter Anderson – Bank of Scotland’s Asian Power 100

“One of the most influential and highest achieving people in Britain.”


Asian Enterprise :
“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 (UK)
“Part of his attraction to decision makers is 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.”


Entrepreneurial Exchange
“Azeem is a stunning role model on what is possible. He may well be the last of the true polymaths.”


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 (Scotland)
“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 Minister’s.”


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 (UK)
“Despite his reticence, Ibrahim exudes confidence in everything he does without sounding too cocky… at times his CV sounds too good to be true.”




For availability, speaking enquiries and fees or to book Azeem Ibrahim contact a Specialist Speakers agent on 01455 633289 or email Specialist Speakers

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