British Pakistani diplomat Fouzia Younis makes history again


British Pakistani diplomat Fouzia Younis. — Twitter/@YounisFouzia

LONDON: British Pakistani diplomat Fouzia Younis has made history once again as she has been appointed as His Majesty’s British Consul General to Toronto.

Fouzia Younis, who is currently in Islamabad working as a senior British diplomat, will be leaving for Canada soon to take up her new role.

She said on Twitter: “Privileged to be appointed as His Majesty’s British Consul General to Toronto. Special moment as we think it’s the 1st time (but don’t have data) that a British Muslim woman has been appointed as Head of a Diplomatic Post. I won’t be the last. 

“To the girls who look like me, who are battling prejudice, racism and sexism from within communities & outside, who are told they can’t do it, or that they don’t sound or look the part. Don’t let anyone dim your power. You can change the world. Shout out to my colleagues & old/new bosses for your every word of advice and challenge to help me find my voice. We serve and represent the UK of today, we represent all of us, we shape all our futures I can’t wait to get cracking in Toronto to do just that!”

Younis made history first when she was appointed director of communications at the British High Commission in Islamabad over three years ago — becoming the first Pakistani-origin diplomat to have been appointed in this role.

Younis, who was born in Birmingham to Pakistani parents, is a fluent Urdu and Punjabi speaker. She passed graduation and masters from the Universities of Birmingham and Cambridge before joining the UK Foreign Service. 

She paid tribute to her father, who used to drop her at the coach station at 4am for her work interviews and her late mother, who supported her decision to go to university and would walk her home through the dark streets of Birmingham.

Younis has said that her mother, Zohra Begum, who recently passed away after suffering from COVID-19, was a strong advocate of girls’ education who raised four successful children.

She was the communication director for the Pakistan Network; and previously the co-chair of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) Race Network leading a global network of over 300 staff. 

Her previous diplomatic assignments have included: leading UK strategic efforts across the Gulf Cooperation Council region; supporting UK’s security and humanitarian efforts in Bangladesh; and serving in Sri Lanka during the conflict period. 

In Islamabad, Younis worked on the Royal Visit, two English cricket and several other initiatives.

Younis was also seconded to 10 Downing Street and has led major corporate reform programmes for the FCDO. Her work has been nominated for several awards including for innovation and expertise, and she is a passionate advocate for inclusion.



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