Celebrating Britain's 101 Most Influential Asians 2024

© Asian Media Group - 2024


Halima Begum


ANTI-RACISM activist, one-time civil servant, and leader in the UK’s social and political scene, Halima Begum is now a prominent figure in the UK charitable sector. She is arguably now one of the most important players in the field of well-known UK high street charities. Later year she will formally take up her new role as chief executive of Oxfam GB, re placing Danny Sriskandarajah. With over two decades of experience in public service, non-profits, and academia, she has steadfastly advocated for marginalised communities, particularly focusing on race, disability, and gender equality. Begum’s expertise and advocacy have earned her widespread recognition, leading her to advise influential organisations, including the British Academy, the Nuffield Foundation, ITV, and various governmental bodies.

Begum’s career includes leadership roles at organisations such as the Department for International Development (DFID), and the British Council, where she advocated for minority and disabled communities globally, notably in countries like Rwanda and Nepal. In December 2023, Oxfam Great Britain, a global movement working to end poverty, named Begum as its new chief executive, highlighting her dedication to combating poverty, inequality, and injustice globally. She was previously at ActionAid, another prominent anti-poverty charity. “As I transition to my new role at Oxfam, I carry with me the invaluable experiences and lessons learned during my tenure at Action Aid UK, from our humanitarian work in Gaza, our ongoing work on anti-racism and decolonisation, and our unwavering commitment to the rights of women and girls around the world,” she said. Raised in a working-class family in East London after being born in rural Bangladesh, Begum’s early life instilled in her a strong commitment to social justice.

Despite facing adversity, including a rare medical condition requiring surgery to re move her left eye, Begum remained commit ted to justice from her youth. She

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