Sayeeda Warsi – Keynote Speaker

Britain's First Muslim Government Minister

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Specialist Subjects

  • Leadership
  • Government
  • Gender Issues
  • Family Business
  • Islamic Finance

Language

  • English

Biography

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi is a lawyer, author, business woman and member of the House of Lords. She was Britain’s first Muslim Cabinet Minister; Chairman of the Conservative party 2010-12 and a Minister at the Foreign Office 2010-14.

Daughter of an immigrant mill worker, Sayeeda Warsi rose to become an Advisor to the Leader of the Conservative Party, Michael Howard, in 2004, the youngest peer in the House of Lords, aged 36, in 2007 and Britain’s first Muslim Cabinet Minister in 2010.

A campaigner on equalities and religious freedom in 2007 she travelled to Sudan and famously helped to secure the release of the British teacher Gillian Gibbons who was on trial for blasphemy.

The iconic images of her in 2010 on the steps of No 10 Downing Street in a shalwar kameez (a traditional ethnic outfit) were beamed around the world as she was appointed as Chairman of the Conservative Party – the first Asian to chair a major British political party. In 2012, Warsi was made Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Minister for Faith and Communities.

Sayeeda Warsi is the author of The Enemy Within, a provocative and brutally honest account of the relationship between Islam and Britain.

Warsi has been a major driver of three start-up businesses; one in the service sector and two in manufacturing, all of which have developed into vibrant and successful SMEs. In Government she led the campaign to ensure that Britain became the first western country to issue a Sukuk (Islamic bond), which was issued in 2014. She also Chaired the Global Islamic Finance & Investment Group.

Sayeeda Warsi is Chair of the Baroness Warsi Foundation and Trustee of the Savayra Foundation, both of which focus on social mobility and gender equality.

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