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Honorary Members

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Baroness Manzilla Uddin
Konnie Huq

Monica Ali
Shahin Badar
Tommy Miah
Dr Wali Tasar Uddin


Baroness Pola Manzila Uddin
Labour Peer

Baroness Uddin was raised to the Peerage as Baroness Uddin of Bethnal Green in 1998. She is the only Muslim, female member of the House of Lords. Baroness Uddin’s career background includes being a Youth and Community worker at YWCA, Liaison Officer for Tower Hamlets Social Services, and Manager of Tower Hamlets Womens’ Health Project. Baroness Uddin has special interests in education, health, children, local government, equal opportunities among others.

Baroness Manzila Pola Uddin was born in Bangladesh and brought up in London, where she attended Plashet Grammar School. A youth and community worker in Tower Hamlets she became the first Bengali woman to sit on a local authority in Britain when she was elected as a councillor in Tower Hamlets in 1990, and served as Deputy Leader there for two years. As a community activist she helped to initiate many projects, such as a women's health and advocacy project, counselling services for families, an IT project and notably the Jagonari Centre, the first purpose built women's education and training centre in the country. In 1988 she obtained a social work qualification from the University of North London and began a long career with Newham Social Services. During this time she headed the development of initiatives on domestic violence and worked as a child protection officer and team manager. She continues her social services career as an independent consultant. When she received her peerage in 1998, she was the youngest woman on the government benches. She was also the first Muslim to enter the Lords, and the only Muslim woman in Parliament. Raised to the peerage as one of Tony Blair's "working peers", she became the first Bengali and the first Muslim woman to sit in the House of Lords. She swore by "Almighty Allah" as she took her seat.

Since entering the House of Lords, Baroness Uddin has continued her work on human rights and local government and has advised various government departments. She is married with four sons and one daughter.

Baroness Uddin is proud to support BritBangla. " I am pleased to be associated with BritBangla and give my support;and with worthwhile charity initiatives."

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Konnie HUQ
TV Presenter

Born to Bangladeshi parents and graduated from Cambridge University.
Konnie Huq is the well-known and popular presenter of “Blue Peter”. Konnie is best known for presenting this long running British Children's magazine show "Blue Peter", however she was presenting the satellite show “TVFM” in 1991 (at the age of 16) and from there went on to appear in a number of Children Television programmes. She joined Blue Peter in December 1997 and kept herself the coveted role of Blue Peter presenter for seven years (so far), and also was a presenter on the CBBC Top 40 show and Top of the Pops. Konnie was presenting Channel Five's MILKSHAKE morning shift before moving to the BBC. She also interviewed Neil Kinnock for NEWSROUND when she was about 14. She was nominated for a presenter award at the British Academy Children's Film and Television Awards, in association with the Lego Company, on 24th November 2002.

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Monica Ali
Author

Born in Bangladesh and moved to England during the war in Bangladesh (formerly East pakistan). Monica Ali was raised in Bolton. She studied at Oxford University. Monica Ali has been identified as one of Britain’s best young novelist by influential literary magazine Granta. The successful writer of Brick Lane, Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists and was shortlisted for the Bookers Prize. Brick Lane is one of the year's literary sensations and is described as an intimate epic set in the contemporary Asian community in the East End's once infamous, now celebrated 'Banglatown'.
She has been shortlisted for the National Critics Circle awards in America.

Monica supports BritBangla with its charitable causes and helped with the fundraising for Plan International at her book launch.

"BritBangla is a great idea. Bengalis need to come out of the shadows into the light. BritBangla provides the space for us to do that."

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Shahin Badar
Singer/Songwriter

Born in Colchester to parents of Indo-Pakistan descent. Shahin's father is Bengali. Shahin spent her formative years growing up in Kuwait in the United Arab Emirates. From a tender age she showed a naturally talented musical vocals inspired by her mother Zohra Ahmed. Shahin decided to turn her talents towards music. She sang in Arabic all the time and was encouraged by teachers in Kuwait to sing in Arabic during school assemblies. She won several talent competitions. She returned to England to continue her schooling at Gilbert Grammer School. Upon leaving she took up a respectable position in Customs and Excise. She soon began performing at various shows in London and started making demos before releasing Jind Mariye which she contributed to and was produced by Taz from Stereo Nation. The single hit the No.4 spot in the Bhangra charts. The popularity of Jind mariye got Shahin noticed and approached by British music producer Kuljit Bhamra who helped her make her debut solo album Destiny. Destiny had a mellow flavour with distinct Arabic influences; a sound that has now become Shahin's trademark.

She has been shortlisted, nominated or won awards for her achievements as the Best Female Vocalist Winner for Asian Pop Awards 2000, twice short-listed for Asian Women of Achievement Awards and received a finalist nomination for the equally noted Ethnic Multi Cultural Media Awards. She is one of the UK based female South Asian front runners of innovative musical collaborations with her blend of powerful Arabic/Indian vocal resonance in music in its various genres. To add to this she has worked with respected mainstream and Asian musician’s producers such as Prodigy, A.R Rahman, Jah Wobble, Doug Laurent, Miss Shiva, Justin Scharnova etc as well as up and coming stars. Her vocal work profile credits are included in the soundtrack to several successful major feature films. Hollywood/Bollywood movies include: The Incredible Hulk (Universal Pictures / Hollywood), The remake of the 70s classic Charlie’s Angel (Columbia Pictures/Hollywood), Zubeidaa (Background score;India), Scary Movie 2 and Dhai Akshar Prem Ke (Bollywood) Starring Ashwayarai. Latest single with Tim Deluxe -Mundaya (the Boy) Featuring Shahin Badar.

Despite her growing success, shahin finds time to endorse and support various charitable and good causes. Shahin gave a speech at the BritBangla launch party to give her support to BritBangla "that realises the potential of Bengalis in UK."

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Tommy Miah
Entrepreneur/Celebrity Chef

Tommy Miah, 44, left Bangladesh for Britain as a child of 10 without a word of English. He is now one of the most successful Bengali businessmen and a celebrity chef in UK.

After moving to Edinburgh from Birmingham he started a successful Indian restaurant business and runs an Indian-theme hotel in the city called The Original Raj Hotel. His Raj Restaurant in Edinburgh, colonial-style decor introduced by chef-proprietor Tommy Miah when he opened the restaurant in 1981, is set in a listed building and is designed to feel like you are stepping back in time to late 19th century India. The Raj Restaurant in Edinburgh is the first Indian restaurateur to be honoured by Britain's Seafish Authority with its "Pride in Seafood" award. Iain MacSween, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen's Organisation, presented the prestigious award at a ceremony in Tommy's restaurant. The award recognises Tommy's pioneering work in promoting Haddock as a prime item on Indian restaurant menus.
Tommy Miah is a canny businessman whose International Chef of the Year competition attracts the world's top Asian chefs. Edinburgh businessman Tommy Miah started the annual "International Indian Chef of the Year" competition in 1991 to promote innovation and quality in Indian cooking. The first competition was launched by Edwina Currie and finalists were chosen from 400 entrants for a three-hour cook-out at Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh, in February 1992. Entries have risen steadily each year, reaching around 5,000 in 2001-2. Entry is free and the worldwide competition is the only one open equally to all amateur or professional cooks. The winner is announced at a Curry Ball in Edinburgh.

He recently opened a restaurant in Dhaka showcasing his innovative "Bangla fusion" cuisine that has become a big hit with diners. The Bangladeshi-born celebrity chef Tommy Miah cooked hundreds of kilograms of lentils and meat in Dhaka in a bid to win entry into the Guinness Book of Records for preparing the largest-ever meal.

He has been appointed as Chairman of Palma Apparel (UK). Palma Group has its headquarters in Bangladesh, Tommy will be representing the UK office. Palma Group is an apparel/clothing export/import company.

Tommy Miah has supported and worked with many charities in UK and Bangladesh. He is currently working on collating a recipe book for Water Aid.

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Dr Wali Tasar Uddin, MBE
Business Entrepreneur

Edinburgh businessman and restaurateur, Dr Wali Uddin MBE, has been honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at Britian's biggest celebration of Asian success and achievement the Asian Jewel Awards on 11th February 2006. The objectives of the Lifetime Achievement Jewel Award are to increase awareness and applaud the longevity and outstanding achievements which have been made by the leading British Asian business & corporate powerbrokers throughout the UK. Their brilliant and relentless day-to-day pursuit of excellence epitomises the high standard of endeavour and success that has been attained and which has had a positive impact on the quality of life for everyone in Britain.

Dr Uddin is Chairman of the Bangladesh British Chamber of Commerce, a key player in establishing the BanglaScot Foundation and a founding director of the acclaimed Edinburgh Mela. He is also (amongst many other things) the owner of a highly successful group of award-winning restaurants (including Edinburgh’s Britannia Spice Restaurant) and a dynamic fundraiser for good causes. He was the first Bangladeshi Justice of the Peace in 1984 and was appointed as the first Honorary Consul of Bangladesh in Scotland in 1993. In 1995 he received an MBE for his services to race relations and in 2005 was named as one of the Asian Power 100.

hie is the Chairman and C.E.O of the Universal Koba Corporations Ltd, Chairman of Frontline International Air Services (London) and the Chairman of the Commonwealth Society of Edinburgh. He is the award winner of the following: Britannia Spice winner of the 2001 Pat Chapman’s Good Curry Guide ‘Best Curry Restaurant in Scotland’, Les Routiers ‘Newcomer of the Year 2001 Award’ and the Sunday Times ‘Best Ethnic Restaurant Award’.

Dr Uddin is active in the Edinburgh Mela, Rotary International, and numerous charity initiatives that have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for good causes. In addition his own commercial interests he is a respected consultant to several major award-winning restaurants in Scotland and in UK.

Dr Uddin puts his success down to a combination of values: People respect you when you have determination, dedication, honesty and integrity. Teamwork is very important too, and you have to give something back to society.

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