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Ruzwana Bashir (born 1983) was the first British-born Asian woman to become President of the Oxford Union and is a Fulbright Scholar.

Contents

Early life

Bashir was educated at Skipton Girls' High School, in North Yorkshire.[1][2] She then went up to New College, Oxford, to read Philosophy, Politics and Economics.[3][4]

Oxford career

Bashir was twice elected as President of the university's Oxford Union debating society. Her first election came in November 2003, when she beat Georgina Costa, daughter of Ken Costa (Chairman of Lazard), by 790 votes to 601. However she was subsequently disqualified for a minor infringement of the electoral process, following a complaint made by Ambrose Faulks, a former President.[1][5][6] She was elected a second time in March 2004, this time beating James Forsyth. She faced a tribunal, accused of irregular canvassing, in the shape of courting votes in her college on polling day.[7][6][3] Friends of Bashir commented that the opposition to her was really "because of the colour of her skin and because she is a Muslim".[8] The tribunal took nearly twenty hours to make a finding and heard counter-accusations of dirty tricks and racism. Forsyth was found guilty of electoral malpractice.[3][6] The Mail on Sunday called the battle "one of the dirtiest political scraps the hallowed quadrangles of Oxford University have ever witnessed" and asked "Will this Asian girl be the next Maggie?"[2] The Guardian commented that "Frivolous complaints have become the raison d'être of the Oxford Union",[7] and subsequently the electoral rules of the Union were changed, so that others would not fall foul of the same problem.

During her tenure as President, Bashir's guest speakers included Senator John McCain, Michael Heseltine, Norman Lamont, Kenneth Clarke, John Redwood, David Trimble, Tom Ford, Hans Blix and José María Aznar.[9]

In 2004, Bashir was nominated for the Woman of the Year Award by publishing house Minerva.[8]

Later career

In June 2008, Bashir attended the London Student Housing Conference as an analyst representing the Blackstone Group.[10] In February 2009, she was reported to be working for a private equity company.[11]

Bashir is currently at the Harvard Business School, as an MBA Fulbright Scholar.[12]

Personal life

The Mail on Sunday reported in August 2004 that Bashir has formed a relationship the magazine's editor, Boris Johnson[13]

In October 2004, at the beginning of the Michaelmas term, Johnson visited Oxford and see Bashir chair her first Oxford Union debate.[14]

Bashir was reported in 2009 to be the girlfriend of BAFTA-nominated actor Toby Kebbell. Bashir and Kebbell met at a Christmas party given by the journalist Andrew Neil.[15]

References

  1. ^ a b Obscure law costs Ruzwana top post, from the Telegraph & Argus, first published 27 January 2004, at thisisbradford.co.uk
  2. ^ a b James Tapper, Keith Beabey, Will this Asian girl be the next Maggie? in The Mail on Sunday dated March 14, 2004
  3. ^ a b c Stewart Payne, Asian woman picked to lead Oxford Union, dated 12 March 2004 at telegraph.co.uk/
  4. ^ Ihsan Islam, HISTORY MAN: Abandoning Cambridge for Oxford' in Daily Times of Pakistan, October 15, 2004, online
  5. ^ Richard Kay, Coup what a scorcher!, article dated 14 January 2004 at dailymail.co.uk
  6. ^ a b c Toby Moore, Racism? No, just brutal politics, article dated March 12 2004 at timesonline.co.uk
  7. ^ a b 'What the toffs did next' in The Guardian, 11 March 2004, online
  8. ^ a b 'LA DONNA DELL'ANNO' at minervaonline.it (in Italian)
  9. ^ Suzy Menkes, Tom Ford works his charm on students at Oxford Union in The New York Times dated November 16, 2004, online
  10. ^ London Student Housing Conference at london.ac.uk
  11. ^ Gianluca Longo, 'The newboy', in Evening Standard (London), February 6, 2009, p. 28
  12. ^ More Fulbright Awards for 2009/10 at fulbright.co.uk
  13. ^ Katie Nicholl, 'Boris's Union with His Pal From Oxford' in Mail on Sunday dated August 29, 2004
  14. ^ Did Oxford girl turn Boris's head? dated 17 October 2004 in Daily Mail online
  15. ^ Marianne Macdonald, Toby Kebbell: the new boy dated 09.02.09 at thisislondon.co.uk

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