Rushanara Ali

Rushanara Ali is Britain’s first Bangladeshi MP and was named one of the most powerful Muslim women in the UK. Besides her tasks as a politician, she is very involved in supporting young people’s development.

Early Years & Childhood

Rushanara was born in Bishwanath, Sylhet, Bangladesh in 1975. Her family emigrated to the east end of London when Rushanara was 7 years old. She grew up in Tower Hamlets, where her father was a manual labourer.

Education & Early Work

Rushanara attended Mulberry School and Tower Hamlets College. She was the first in her family to go to university and studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University.

Prior to her election in May 2010, she was Associate Director of the Young Foundation, where she co-founded UpRising, a national leadership development and employability charity which has helped thousands of young people develop their campaigning and leadership skills.


As an MP, she has served as Shadow Minister for International Development, Shadow Minister for Education and Young People.

In April 2016 Rushanara was appointed as the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Bangladesh. This cross-party programme established in 2012 aims to build business and bilateral trade relationships and help drive economic growth in developing countries. Rushanara made her first visit as Trade Envoy to Bangladesh in December 2016.

Rushanara is the first person of Bangladeshi origin to win a seat in Westminster. In 2009, she was named by The Guardian as one of the most powerful Muslim women in Britain. Besides being a politician, she has continued her work with youth organisations, recently co-founding One Million Mentors, a national online platform to recruit, train and deploy one million mentors into organisations working with young people.