This year’s YAYAs will be presented LIVE at a glittering awards dinner in November 2021 

SUCCESSFUL young people from across Yorkshire will be vying for the first Yorkshire Asian Young Achievers awards on Thursday, November 4, 2021).

More than 30 candidates will have been shortlisted for the 12 awards – dubbed the YAYAs – after a huge number of entries from across the county.

The winners will be announced live during the event when they will be asked to step up to receive their trophies from each award’s sponsors and QED Chief Executive Dr Mohammed Ali OBE.

Dr Ali, who founded QED in 1990, said: “It was a great shame that the pandemic put paid to our plans to stage a lavish awards dinner for our first awards last year but we worked extremely hard to ensure that the online broadcast was a fabulous event and a worthy showcase for the brilliant candidates.

“Now we can’t wait to stage this year’s live event at the Cedar Court Hotel, on the outskirts of Bradford!

“There are many truly humbling stories of young people overcoming difficult circumstances to carve out a future for themselves and I can promise you the gala dinner will be a fabulous opportunity to pay tribute to them and their achievements.

“I am sure guests – and those who view the proceedings on our live webcast – will come away feeling inspired and uplifted by these remarkable young people who offer a beacon of hope for a brighter post-Covid future.”

The event will be hosted by the award-winning BBC TV and Radio presenter and stand-up comedian Noreen Khan.



Noreen Khan, BBC Radio and TV Presenter and Comedian

Noreen Khan is an award-winning radio and TV presenter.  She currently presents her show on BBC Asian Network on weekdays and listening figures show she regularly has one of the most listened-to Asian radio shows in the UK.  Her warm and natural presenting style has made her an instant hit with the audience. Noreen is also a stand-up comedian and is currently touring her hugely successful ‘Ladies of Laughter (LOL) with Noreen Khan Tour.’ Noreen is also considered a social media influencer due to her large following and engaging videos and posts. She is an Ambassador for Prince Charles’s charity the British Asian Trust and recently was also appointed an Ambassador by the ICC for the Cricket World Cup.


Akbar Ahmed, former Pakistani High Commissioner to the UK

Professor Akbar Ahmed PHD is the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington DC and the former Pakistani High Commissioner to the UK and Ireland. Named “the world’s leading authority on contemporary Islam” by the BBC and “perhaps the most influential living authority on contemporary Muslim societies” in the Saudi Gazette, Prof Ahmed is a member of the Washington Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council. He also serves as a trustee for the World Faiths Development Dialogue, chaired by Lord George Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, and is a member of the International Advisory Board for The Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at The Queen’s University of Belfast. Prof Ahmed has served as a Non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, the First Distinguished Chair of Middle East and Islamic Studies at the U.S Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, and the Iqbal Fellow (Chair of Pakistan Studies) and Fellow of Selwyn College at the University of Cambridge. He has taught as well at Harvard and Princeton Universities. Prof Ahmed has produced a number of noteworthy films and authored more than a dozen award-winning books. A poet and noted playwright, his poems were broadcast from the Library of Congress in “The Poet and the Poem” podcast series. Ahmed consistently writes for several popular news publications around the globe, including a weekly column in the Daily Times, a leading English-language Pakistani newspaper.


Dr Mohammed Ali OBE, Founder and Chief Executive, The QED Foundation

Dr Mohammed Ali OBE, is the Founder and Chief Executive of the QED Foundation. Dr Ali has worked in ethnic minority community development for over 35 years in the UK and Europe. He is a social entrepreneur, pioneering and developing new ways of addressing the social and economic challenging facing ethnic minority communities. He worked in newly-created roles with Glaxo Pharmaceuticals, Bradford Community Relations Council, Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council, Sheffield City Council and Fullemploy, a London-based ethnic minority social and economic development agency, before setting up the QED Foundation in 1990. QED is a leading national charity which has directly supported 35,000 people and indirectly many more, by training and advising senior managers in the public, private and the third sectors in recruiting, retaining and developing an ethnically-diverse workforce. In three decades he has served on numerous public, private and voluntary sector boards and committees, including for the NHS, Home Office, DWP, IOD, EU, ACEVO, Bradford University and York St John University. He is chairman of the Poverty Alleviation Scholarships Foundation and the Network of Pakistani Voluntary Organisations (UK). He has won many accolades for his work including an honorary doctorate from the University of Bradford in 1997 and the OBE in 2001.


Professor Karen Bryan OBE, Vice-Chancellor, York St John University

Professor Karen Bryan is joining York St John University as Vice Chancellor in April 2020. She was previously Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) at the University of Greenwich. Prior to that she was Pro Vice Chancellor for Regional Engagement and Dean of the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing at Sheffield Hallam University. Professor Bryan qualified as a speech and language therapist from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and also gained her PhD there. Her research interests are in communication difficulties in young offenders and in forensic populations. Also the impact of communication difficulties on access to healthcare. She is involved in the development of Registered Intermediaries working for the Ministry of Justice, and was previously a member of the Health Professions Council. Professor Bryan is a Visiting Professor in the Department of Neuropsychology at the University of Warsaw, and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. She was awarded an OBE for services to higher education in 2018.