Mohammed Ali

Mohammed Ali
Founder & CEO, QED Foundation

Headquarters: Bradford, West Yorkshire, UK
Primary Business: Social Enterprise
Revenues: $1.5 million

Deepening the Talent Pool and Diversity

I founded QED-UK twenty-three years ago. Our influence is felt on the streets from Bradford to Pakistan, the Houses of Parliament, and in the hearts of many who suffered exclusion.

In the last eight years, we’ve helped over 500 new and settled immigrants every year, breaking down barriers towards their social and economic integration.

I first arrived in the UK as a child in 1969, and spoke no English. In 2001, I received the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for my work with communities.

As the son of a migrant worker in the industrial mills of northern England, my father insisted I didn’t follow the hard labor of his life, but study hard. Education is at the heart of our work to improve the social and economic position of disadvantaged ethnic minorities, whether it be delivering language classes or educating the mainstream institutions on ways to work more effectively with communities and meet their needs.

We now deliver services, not just in education, but training, employability skills, and health awareness, working in partnership with the public, private, and the voluntary sectors to achieve our objectives.

I’ve advised several government departments including the Department of Work and Pensions and the Home Office in London and the European Integration Forum in Brussels. We’ve built bridges across all walks of our society in order to work together to eradicate poverty, disadvantage, and ignorance—the main causes of conflict and prejudice.

It isn’t easy: we are faced with a rising tide of Islamophobia and economic austerity. A general ‘immigration anxiety’ clouds the way. Under those shadows, it’s important to celebrate what we have achieved. To mark our twenty-first anniversary in 2011 we hosted a photographic exhibition featuring portraits of role models from the ‘margins to the mainstream.’ It was an inspiring way to illustrate the powerful and positive influence that ethnic minorities have on shaping British life and identity.

We continue to face challenges. Our approach is to be innovative—QED became the first organization of its kind to deliver training in Pakistan to help immigrants before they arrive in Britain. ‘Integrate UK’ is in partnership with Mirpur University of Science and Technology with funding from the European Fund for the Integration of Third Country Nationals. We also run ‘English for Work’ classes to improve the integration of 250 women newly arrived to the UK, mainly from Pakistan and Bangladesh.

From education, influencing policy, to strengthening communities—I’m committed in leading our vision to turn challenges into opportunists and to make a better society a reality.

Education: BS, Huddersfield University; DBA, University of Bradford School of Management
First Job: Quality control
What I’m Reading: Storm Warning by Robin Brooke-Smith
My Philosophy: Get migrant communities into jobs and the inclusion/integration will take care of itself
Best Advice: Believe in unity in diversity
Interests: Walking, reading, and charity work.