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Shamim Chowdhury

Shamim Chowdhury is an international journalist and writer. She has co-authored two books on journalism and is a judge at the Asian Media Awards. Born to working-class immigrant parents and growing up in inner city London, never for a minute did she imagine she would one day become the world’s first British-Bangladeshi foreign correspondent at an international news station.

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About Shamim Chowdhury

Shamim Chowdhury has faced an array of challenges throughout her life and career, both from her community and society at large. These have had a profound impact on her outlook and opinions. and it is for this reason that issues surrounding race, religion, gender and class are very close to her heart.

Biography

People are often surprised to discover that Shamim Chowdhury’s ’s first job was as an immigration officer. However as she stamped passports and carried out asylum interviews, she secretly dreamt of becoming a journalist. Then, one day, she jacked it all in to pursue her passion.

She landed a trainee position at The Daily Express newspaper. There she covered everything from politics and personal finance to travel and celebrity gossip. She went on to work her way through a number of national newspapers. These include The Daily Mail, The Evening Standard, The Daily Telegraph and The Independent – where she wrote Op-Eds. Since then, she has also written opinion pieces for The Huffington Post UK.

Furthermore her path to international journalism started in 2003 on the Sky News foreign desk. Three and a half years later she moved to Al Jazeera English. Although based in London, Shamin occasionally worked from the channel’s mother ship in Doha, Qatar. Her overseas deployments included the 2013-2014 political crisis in Ukraine,  Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza textile factory collapse in 2013 and the country’s 2014 elections.

Subsequently Shamim joined the Turkish news channel, TRT World in July 2015. This was a bold and unusual decision given her cultural background, as she chose to live in Istanbul. Her leap of faith paid off. Soon after arriving, she was being deployed all over the world as a foreign correspondent, covering some of the biggest stories of our times. Reporting from inside Syria, as well as from the front line, she spent prolonged periods during the country’s 10-year war. As part of her war reporting, Shamim gained exclusive access to Sufean Mustafa Kamal, a foreign fighter. In addition she also interviewed the son of the notorious convicted terrorist, Abu Hamza Al Masri.

Shamim was also TRT World’s main correspondent for the 2017 Rohingya refugee crisis. During this time she spent a great deal of time deep inside the camps in southern Bangladesh. She went on to cover the historic trial of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. This was after Suu Kyi was accused of being complicit to genocide committed by Myanmar’s military.

As a result Shamin was the only female international television correspondent of South Asian origin to be based on the cusp of the Middle East.  During this pivotal time in history, Shamim gained a unique insight into the challenges facing Turkey. These included the 2016 coup attempt and repeated terror attacks, to the country’s divisive internal politics and its complex relationship with the Europe and the U.S. She also gained expert knowledge of the tumultuous political landscape of the Middle East.

One of her proudest achievements was producing and reporting an exclusive 5-part series on Bangladesh’s burgeoning economy for TRT World. This was something no other channel has done. The entire project was Shamim’s brainchild. She planned and executed all aspects of it, including securing exclusive interviews with industry leaders.

In addition to her reporting, Shamim has worked on several documentaries and has co-authored two books. In the first, The Refugee’s Messenger: Lost Stories Retold, she recounts her experiences of reporting the Rohingya refugee crisis. In the second, Reporting War and Conflict in the 21st Century, she gives an insight into the challenges facing war correspondents today.

Shamim, who is the recipient of a British-Bangladeshi outstanding achievement award, has been judging two of the most important categories of the Asian Media Awards since its inception in 2013: ‘Journalist of the Year’ and ‘Best Investigation’. She has given awards to the likes of Ross Kemp, Faisal Islam, the late Tazeen Ahmad and Kim Sengupta.

In recent years she has become involved in mentoring projects aimed at addressing these issues and her aim now is to focus on creating greater awareness about diversity and inclusion and to inspire the younger generation.

Speech Topics
  • International Mother Language Day: What it means to me.
  • Diversity and Inclusion in Journalism
  • A Career in International Journalism
  • Muslims in Industry: Journalism 101
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