Ibrahim’s Review of 2017

Annual review number nine! Can’t say I’m a novice at this anymore. I can already imagine next year’s review. We’ll be throwing a party. Cakes and balloons. Lots and lots of balloons. And cakes. I like cakes. Especially fresh cream. With a jam filling…

But then the balloons burst, and I wake up. The calendar still shows it’s 2017. It’s not quite over yet, but it’s time to look back on some of my personal highlights of the year.

In January, I was at the British Muslim Awards 2017, shortlisted as a finalist under the Services to Creativity and Technology category. The awards ceremony was at the Athena in Leicester. The winner was tech reviewer Safwan Ahmedmia, widely known as SuperSaf. Congratulations to you Safwan! I am also pleased to announce that I have been nominated as one of the finalists in the “One To Watch” category for the British Muslim Awards 2018, which will take place in Bradford. I am humbled to have been shortlisted again and wish all nominees the best of luck.

Ibrahim was a finalist in the Services to Creativity and Technology category at the British Muslim Awards 2017

Between February and April, I was one of the presenters of “@7”, a topical magazine show on Cambridge TV. It was really fun presenting alongside co-hosts Billy Pointon, Victoria Innes and Bridget Bradshaw, as we looked at all kinds of local stories to do with arts and culture, entertainment, current affairs, and much more. It was also a pleasure to collaborate with Rick Pinder, the producer and director of the series. Many thanks to the Cambridge TV School for the opportunity and also to Billy, Victoria, Bridget and Rick for being so awesome to work with!

The “@7” gang: Ibrahim with co-hosts Billy Pointon (top-left), Victoria Innes (top-right) and Bridget Bradshaw (bottom-left), and series producer/director Rick Pinder (bottom-right)

Along came May when I appeared on “Unsung Hero”, a talk show on IQRA Bangla (Sky 825) presented by Ishaque Uddin. I talked about my work as a blogger and presenter, as well as discussing various issues affecting the youth and the British Bangladeshi community. You can watch the full interview right here:

Between May and June, it was certainly a very exciting period for British politics. We had a snap general election that coincided with the month of Ramadan. I invited each parliamentary candidate, standing to be MP for Cambridge, to my home for a live interview/chat on Facebook. I really enjoyed the experience of interviewing the candidates, listening to them all discuss various key issues in the run-up to Election Day. It was a Labour hold for Cambridge, winning with more than 12,000 votes. Many thanks to Daniel Zeichner, Julian Huppert, Stuart Tuckwood and John Hayward for joining me on Facebook Live during the election period.

Ibrahim interviews the 2017 parliamentary candidates for Cambridge on Facebook Live: Stuart Tuckwood (top-left, Green), Dr John Hayward (top-right, Conservatives), Dr Julian Huppert (bottom-left, Liberal Democrat), Daniel Zeichner (bottom-right, Labour)

My biggest highlight of the year was in July when a childhood dream of mine became a reality. I was offered a work experience placement with ITV News to assist the newsteam with their coverage of the 2017 Wimbledon Championships. The two weeks I spent at SW19 were amazing, and I am so grateful I was given the opportunity to be part of one of the world’s greatest sporting events. Huge thanks to the ITV News team for everything, it really was an incredible experience.

Ibrahim at the 2017 Wimbledon Championships

Fast-forward to October. My mother and I co-launched Cambridge Rise, a digital media network providing positive news coverage online for the Cambridge community and beyond through multiple social media platforms. Since the launch, we have produced video reports on the completion of a community mural and the Cambridge Mosque Open Day. There’s still more to come as we keep on producing news reports as well as making mini-documentaries, sharing untold stories from the city’s wider communities. The website currently features various articles and blogs, and we’re hoping to publish more content in 2018 from new contributors. Exciting times ahead!

2016 was a tough year for me, but there have definitely been some great moments this time round. The hard work always continues of course. Business as usual. How many times in our lives have we thought about doing things but felt we could never pull it off? Of course, it’s important to be realistic and not set ourselves a target that is unattainable. Why not break it down? Make it easy. There is another way. Even when you’re faced with restrictions and limits, you can still do it.

I recently came across a motivational quote from Mufti Ismail Menk:

“Many of us are guilty of overthinking. Remember, the battle starts in your mind. Don’t defeat yourself in your own mind before you’ve even started. Focus your mind in the right direction. Be positive about things. You will see the difference.”

To all those who have supported me through the good and bad times, I thank you. Let’s continue to have hope. Keep on spreading the positivity into the new year and beyond. I’m looking forward to seeing what 2018 brings.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Ibrahim’s Review of 2014

It’s that time of year again. The time when I turn around 180 degrees clockwise or anti-clockwise and immerse myself with flashbacks. Whoa, that was bright! Oh, that was just me being dazzled by a car’s headlights. How can I be looking at a car’s headlights when I am supposed to be looking at my computer and focusing on this annual review? We’ll never know. Or maybe you will. It could just be one of life’s mysteries. Anyway, I digress.

Welcome to my sixth annual review. As always, another eventful year has found itself arrive and depart through the revolving doors of time. Is it me or am I starting to become poetic? No, I’m serious. Tweet me about it. Use an appropriate hashtag if you like. Be nice though. Let’s rewind the last twelve months…

Ibrahim visits Anfield for the first time
Ibrahim visits Anfield for the first time

I have travelled to quite a few places this year, and January witnessed my first trip to Anfield. After winning free tickets in a competition, I went to visit the home of my favourite football team – Liverpool FC. The result was a disappointing 2-2 draw with Aston Villa but watching from the stands was a memorable experience! I visited Anfield again three months later to watch the “Celebration of the 96” charity match. Another 2-2 draw!

Ibrahim visits the Emirates Stadium
Ibrahim visits the Emirates Stadium

In February, lightning struck twice. My brother Imran ALSO won free tickets to watch Arsenal play Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored twice as the Gunners sealed a comfortable 2-0 victory over their London rivals. It was a different kind of experience to the one I had at Anfield, but enjoyable nonetheless. The inside of the stadium was visually impressive and we had a nice view from the stands. Overall, it was an enjoyable visit and the match was decent. Let’s hope Imran wins tickets again!

Ibrahim speaks on-stage at the Maa Amar Maa Awards
Ibrahim speaks on-stage at this year’s Maa Amar Maa Awards

In March, I attended the Maa Amar Maa Awards in London – an awards ceremony hosted by Pillar Productions to honour British Bangladeshi mothers in the UK. My mother won the Mother of the Year award! I was also invited on stage to say a few words which was quite nerve-wracking, but good practice for my public speaking skills. I met old and new faces but at the end of the day, it was a wonderful and joyous occasion. Definitely one of the highlights of the year!

Ibrahim in the BBC Asian Network studio with Shahida Rahman and Dilara Khan
Ibrahim in the BBC Asian Network studio with Shahida Rahman and Dilara Khan

Some days after the event, we were both invited for a live interview on BBC Asian Network. In an exciting and lively exchange of words with presenter Nadia Ali, I was asked about why I nominated my mother for an award. We also participated in a fun “Mother v Son” quiz! We were interviewed alongside Dilara Khan, the CEO of Pillar Productions and producer of Maa Amar Maa. Once again, another memorable day!

The Second Yellow
The Second Yellow

Welcome to May. I teamed up with Abu Ali to form The Second Yellow, a joint venture with the aim of delivering and discussing some of the biggest stories in football through writing articles and producing a podcast series. We have produced two episodes so far but are hoping for greater things in the new year. Watch this space!

Ramadan Roundup 4
Ramadan Roundup 4

I spent the next couple of months preparing for Ramadan Roundup 4. Raza Amode and Ubaid Sajid returned for this year’s instalment, after previously appearing in Ramadan Roundup 2. We also welcomed many new faces including Nadia Ali from BBC Asian Network! Cambridge locals Moghees Darr, Amira Haque and Ayat Rasool also made their first on-screen appearances in the series, and Uzma Chaudhry silenced the doubters by providing her voice all the way from Manchester for the opening scene. I should visit Manchester one day, it sounds like a nice place! It was a big cast this year and I am really grateful to everyone for being part of it! THANK YOU!

Ibrahim at Inspire FM
Ibrahim talked about the Ramadan Roundup series at Inspire FM

Throughout July, Ramadan Roundup gained a fair amount of media exposure through Inspire FM, a community radio station in Luton. I talked about the series as a live guest and “co-host” on the Urban Kube Show, presented by Shemiza Rashid. The series also got a mention in Weekly Desh, a bilingual British Bangladeshi weekly newspaper distributed around the UK. A North American-based online magazine called The Aerogram also published their series review. Thank you to all for your coverage!

In August, I reported for BBC Radio Cambridgeshire to cover the Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations in Cambridge. My Ramadan reports from last year were also repeated again on the Sunday Breakfast show.

September came along and I joined local community radio station Cambridge 105 as a reporter. My first report appeared on 105 Drive with Julian Clover, after attending the “Question Cambridge” event and I interviewed Julian Huppert, MP for Cambridge, about his thoughts on the city’s transportation infrastructure and encouraging more people to get into entrepreneurship. Listen to the report here.

Ibrahim and Nadia Ali on BBC Asian Network
Ibrahim and Nadia Ali on BBC Asian Network

I also worked for a month as a trainee assistant producer at BBC Asian Network on Nadia Ali‘s show. I had an amazing time! I recorded, edited and uploaded short video clips onto the BBC Asian Network Facebook page and had some fun posting and reading tweets! I also had the privilege of meeting Nurun Ahmed, a contestant from the tenth series of The Apprentice.

Ibrahim with Nurun Ahmed, contestant on the tenth series of "The Apprentice"
Ibrahim with Nurun Ahmed, contestant on the tenth series of “The Apprentice”

I recorded an awesome Apprentice-style video with Nadia performing as Sir Alan Sugar, who was analysing a comical pitch from Nurun. The video reached out to over 25,000 people within 7 days! I really enjoyed the experience and definitely would love to return again!

And then it was November. I attended the British Bangladeshi Who’s Who 2014 publication launch and awards ceremony at Alexandra Palace, London. I was listed in this year’s publication, recognising my work as a reporter, filmmaker, web designer and developer. I was also told that I am the youngest ever entrant to be listed in the book!

Finally, we reach December. I returned to Cambridge 105 to report from this year’s Mill Road Winter Fair. As the Fair returned for its tenth year, the Cambridge Mosque on Mawson Road also held its annual open day. I went to find out what was happening and then I went off to interview local stallholders. My two reports also featured in their podcast. All in all, another enjoyable day!

2014 has been an amazing year for me. There have been some challenging and difficult moments at times, but the tremendous support I have received from so many of you really helped me to keep going. Here is a quote I found a couple of days ago from Mufti Ismail Menk:

“Don’t forget those who have helped you along the way. Meet them; give them a call. We can never show too much appreciation to those who matter.”

I cannot thank you all enough, I am so grateful for all your support and generosity. May you all be immensely rewarded for your efforts. I had the pleasure of meeting so many wonderful people this year and I hope 2015 will be a great year for everyone. I hope you have enjoyed following my adventures this year – let’s create some new ones together.

I wish you all the best for the year ahead. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

P.S. There’s a new web series on the horizon…