Dr Halima Begum is the new Director of the Runnymede Trust. Dr Begum joined Runnymede in 1998 as a young researcher on the Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, before taking up positions with Action Aid and the LSE Centre for Civil Society.
She has also held senior leadership positions with a range of influential organisations, including First Secretary with Department for International Development (DFID), Director of the British Council in Asia, and Vice President of the LEGO Foundation.
Dr Begum’s experience spans sectors including education, human rights, public health, the environment, and post-conflict reconstruction. Her portfolio of responsibilities has included coordinating the Sino-British government action plan to reduce food insecurity due to climate change, leading the UK effort in promoting girls’ education in Pakistan, and heading up collaborations between science and technology institutions in Britain and South East Asia.
As a disabled Muslim woman raised in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Dr Begum is a lifelong campaigner for equality and civil rights. In the early-1990s, she co-founded Women Against Racism to combat the rising incidence of racism and Islamophobia in East London, while today she sits on the board of various organisations including the Labour Campaign for Human Rights and Toynbee Hall.