Shada Islam is an influential Brussels-based specialist on European Union affairs. After having worked as a journalist and think tanker, she now works independently as a commentator, advisor, analyst and strategist on questions which she is passionate about including Europe, Asia, Africa, Geopolitics, Trade, Migration, Inclusion, Diversity and Women’s Empowerment. Shada runs her own Brussels-based global strategy and advisory media company, New Horizons Project (NHP).
In 2017, Politico Europe identified her as one of the 20 most influential women in Brussels.
She is Senior Advisor at the European Policy Centre and Visiting Professor at the College of Europe (Natolin Campus). Additionally, Shada is a regular contributor to The Guardian and EU Observer.
She has spent most of her professional life researching, writing, analysing and speaking about the European Union and its relations with Asia and Africa as well as EU Development Policy, Trade Policy and Migration. She is a recognized analyst and advocate for a more inclusive and equitable EU. Her expertise and deep-found knowledge on geopolitical issues and social and economic questions on equality, gender, DEI (diversity, equity & inclusion) and leadership, provide the foundation on which she bases all her keynote speeches.
Shada believes in speaking truth to power and has made a name for herself by thinking outside the box, joining the dots and bringing new ideas to the table of policymakers and business leaders.
“As one of Brussels’ most respected thought leaders, we look forward to Shada’s counsel on the geo-political trends shaping today’s policy environment. Her insights and experience will be invaluable to help navigate increasing complex global political dynamics. Shada’s passion for diversity and inclusion will also help guide BCW, how we build our teams, as well as counsel our clients.” Andrew Cecil, CEO BCW Brussels
Shada’s keynotes combine a broad range of insights on both geopolitical issues and societal topics including Equality, DEI, Gender, Leadership & Kindness. While all of these topics are sufficient to stand alone, Shada gracefully combines insights from these interconnected themes to highlight the complexity of the world we live in. She carefully tailors her keynote based on the field, audience and event in question.
Shada’s most sought-after keynote topics include:
Shada brings a unique non-Eurocentric vision to her analysis of the current very volatile geopolitical (dis)order, a skill which is much-needed in a polarized world. Shada’s ideas are much sought after by European and non-European policymakers and diplomats as well as businesses.
Shada believes that it is time to elevate the global conversation on female empowerment and the familiar theme of representation by also talking about the quality of female leadership and the need for a more feminist view of society, economics and politics.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Shada is passionate about building a anti-racist European Union which is truly inclusive and works to ensure equity for all, including Europeans of colour. She is the go-to analyst for discussions and policy advice on fighting racism and discrimination
Shada believes ardently that it is time to tackle global challenges, including climate change and poverty, through a leadership style which puts the focus on cooperation and collaboration, not confrontation or policies built on “us and them” discourses.
Shada envisages a world where toxic and self-defeating policies based on rivalry and competition are replaced by leaders and policymakers who practice kindness, empathy and compassion.
“One of Brussels’ smartest thinkers on Asia, and author of a column called Frankly Speaking, Shada Islam is the ultimate insider outsider. A former correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review, Islam’s trademark is finding elegant ways to point out inconvenient truths to Brussels powerbrokers and judging their actions using a global perspective. She’s never short of wise counsel, whether it’s on the strategic importance of Asia and Africa, how to ensure the EU practices what it preaches abroad, and the need for dialogue even in desperate political moments.” Politico: The Women Who Shape Brussels 2017
Over the years, Shada has interviewed and talked to presidents, prime ministers, ministers, senior policymakers and business leaders as well as authors and academics. She is especially attracted to interaction with young people, including students, and is a great believer in the transformational quality of younger people and women. She has been and remains a strong advocate for stronger representation of ethnic minorities in EU institutions and is a leading voice for a fairer and more inclusive Europe.