Stopping an Un-Islamic State – an alternative approach to our security revisited 2017

unbent and unbroken Great Britain Our security and emergency response services are amazing with their response times at and followup after the fact, our intelligence services on top of their game on pre-emptive measures. However what are our politicians doing to address the current and ineffective approach to counter the spread of extremism? both at home and abroad?

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Agile for Entrepreneurs – as delivered at Google Campus London

A short talk delivered at Google Campus London on the 3rd of April. It probably does not make much sense without the commentary but since attendees wanted access to it, here it is!

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Giveback goes #Local in #London (Good hair days for the homeless)

Give back has taken many forms for us, from PTP in conflict affected geographies in Pakistan to hot meals to soup kitchens in London.  A few weeks ago whilst nattering with Vangeli (Van)  my 2nd go to barber at Grooms barbers in Orpington another form of giveback came to mind, Vangeli (Van) a young enthusiastic character from north London wanted in on giveback. Then and there it was decided taking Van’s skills to the homeless in London will be his giveback; “if you look good the world looks at you differently right?” It was Van’s rhetorical question but is as true as it can get. I’ve experienced it first hand whilst doing field research for PTP

We spent a weekend planning and Van getting his kit together and on Sunday 1st November we headed off to London looking for willing participants. The deal is I take care of the awareness, ‘the digital front’ as Van puts it and he’ takes care of the grooming. Our aim is to take this beyond London i.e open source it!

We set up some rules, cruel they may sound but no drunks and no junkies, this is about empowering those who want a better future and want off the streets, we have limited resources and as such are keen to invest them in the right individuals. So the process starts off with a chat on who they are and what they want for themselves, any inclination of wanting off the street and that’s our man/woman. We may or may not follow these rules, we may flex and alter them in the future but on day one that’s what we stuck to.

free hair cuts for the homeless Meet George Adam 21 and homeless in London, George is a charmer, hard not to take a liking to this young man! He wants to get himself in a shelter, wants to get an address so that he can apply for a HGV license. George’s ambition is get a HGV license , get a job, go to a party, meet a girl and have a normal life. The least we could do was start him off with a smart haircut and a lunch, in return George educated us on the trials and tribulations of the homeless in London, thank you for adding to our body of knowledge George. Our foray this afternoon also got us introduced to Paul the park warden for Lower Grosvenor Gardens, Paul was apologetic for asking us to leave the park as he was closing down, and pointed us to a few homeless haunts for us to explore next weekend in search of other deserving candidates for Van’s services. Thanks Paul.

free hair cuts for the homeless

George, before and after his free haircut and shave

The ask for barbers reading this post (or for you as a topic of conversation the next time you’re in a barber’s chair) is to step forward and volunteer an hour or two over one weekend a month in their own town/cities, and of course we’re looking for a couple of volunteers in London around Victoria and the Westend, Van is off travelling in a couple of months and we’d like to carry on with this sort of giveback. However whilst travelling Van will be taking this giveback to cities he’s travelling to and my job is to convince other stylists and barbers to do the same in their cities and raise awareness of the state of the homeless across the third rock. We’ll be off next Sunday again, check back then for an update!


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OPEN London – an evolutionary leap…

@OPEN_London 20th of October was OPEN-London‘s chapter launch, a resounding success. 240 individuals came together to bring about an evolutionary leap for the London Chapter of OPEN global; a not-for-profit organization, whose focus is promotion of entrepreneurship and professional growth. A secular and non-political organization with prosperity and growth as its raison d’être. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 57% of all registered delegates attended,  42% of whom were students and 124 professionals representing British economy across the board; the NHS, BBC, Deutsche Bank, KPMG, Citigroup, BP, Oliver Wyman, Telereal Trillium, Vodafone, CPA Global, Deloitte, Marriot, Saudi Aramco, StudentFunder, BPP and the list goes on and on.

51% were women; including the founder of CARE Foundation, partners at law firms, consultancies, doctors, startup entrepreneurs, teachers in London, educational reformists to OFSTED employees. From hijabs, traditional garbs to skirts and suits.

OPEN_London_EmailComs_LE2013 On day zero in June 2011 it was four near strangers at Smith and Nephew’s offices on Adam Street in London,  this past weekend it was 240 representing technology, finance, social transformation and the healthcare sector. From industry leaders, rising stars, established, growing to wobbling entrepreneurs, a former prime minister to a Hollywood star the entire spectrum was covered.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Though LA, Washington DC, New York, Manchester, Bristol, Brighton, Birmingham, Canterbury were represented it was mostly a London affair.

Keynote speakers included Seema Aziz of Care Foundation; educating 150,000 children studying in 225 schools, former Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr Shaukat Aziz and Faran Tahir; of StarTrek, Elysium, Iron Man and most recently Escape Plan fame. There were four separate breakout sessions covering social entrepreneurship, technology, finance and healthcare with an equally impressive line up of panellists. The Alexander Fleming building of the Imperial College London was a fitting venue for the launch, Pioneers of sorts hosted in a building named after an epic pioneer himself.

OPEN London – to learn, share, connect, improve, seize and grow; individually, as a community in London and beyond.

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OPEN London – community 2.0 or something like that

Open_london Usually I shudder at the thought of a networking group built around an ethnicity/creed/religion or any sort of singularity for it represents something as far removed from the concept of a community as is possible.

So when a friend mentioned OPEN mid last year my initial reaction was dismissive,  Athar pressed on and it paid off! I checked out the Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs and Professionals (OPEN) and found a few things that set it apart from the usual suspects! they drummed on about being secular and non-political, they were concerning themselves with the ecosystem they ‘lived in’ as opposed to focusing everything for the benefit of ‘back home’ –  a bunch of integrated folks – that in itself scored well on my scale.

I wasn’t sold yet… but was curious to meet the few folks meeting up to explore bringing OPEN to London. OPEN is from across the pond and it has successfully delivered to its mandate State side… so the Brit in me was curious as to why there was no OPEN London chapter … clearly the centre of the multiverse should not only be represented but be leading the way!

My first meeting ,with what was to later become the group of charter members, was refreshing! against the odds these were people I could relate to, integrated, secular, progressive, inclusive… quite OPEN! (every pun intended) and determined to build a community not a singularity.

A little over a year on, OPEN London is launching in some style at Imperial College London (Sir Alexander Fleming Building) on the 20th of October 2013 and I am proud to be involved in building an enterprise focused, inclusive and open community at home in London.

Thank you for badgering me many moons ago Athar and thank you Naseem for bringing this to the centre of the multiverse and of course everyone else for bearing with me and my awkward ways and awkwardly open world view!

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