Amar Latif is dynamic, blind, world traveller, entrepreneur, TV personality and director. With a unique personal magnetism, a broad, international perspective and proudly held Glaswegian roots, Amar has a truly inspirational story to tell.
His multi-faceted career, entrepreneurial achievements and international television profile have all been built against a background dominated by teenage onset of blindness due to the incurable eye condition Retinitis Pigmentosa. By the age of 20, this had left him with 95% sight loss.
He was recently made Young Business Entrepreneur of the World, by the Chamber of Commerce, International (JCI), at their World Congress in Vienna. Previous fellow awardees of this honour have included US Presidents John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton and actors Orson Welles and Christopher Reeve.
As well as directing documentary films, most recently for Channel 4 TV, Amar has also appeared in TV productions. He became known to millions through his appearance in the BBC2 four-part series, Beyond Boundaries (Series 1), a groundbreaking endurance expedition across the Central American jungle. Shown worldwide, this was a gruelling 220 mile trek on foot across the rugged interior of Nicaragua, from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast. He and the group of fellow travellers made history by taking a route that had never previously been undertaken, and had to sleep in tents and hammocks in the open jungle. Amar had to ford swollen rivers, cut through dense undergrowth, cross waterfalls, climb an active volcano and navigate the second largest lake in Latin America, terrain populated by crocodiles, anacondas and the worlds only species of freshwater shark. The aim was to challenge common preconceptions about disability, aspirations and achievement. Amar sought to prove that disabled people need not merely follow in the wake of the able-bodied, but can in fact be trail-blazers!
Amar has appeared in theatrical productions in the UK, including musical revue and serious drama, and has played music professionally, including work in clubs and festivals in the USA and Canada, playing guitar and singing in a Blues duo.
Amar is the founder and director of Traveleyes, the worlds first international air tour operator specifically dedicated to serving blind as well as sighted travellers In founding this ground-breaking enterprise, he set out to challenge the commonly held assumption that visually impaired travellers need to accept restrictions on their travel aspirations and achievements. www.traveleyes.co.uk.
Aside from media and business interests, Amar is known for his work in charity fundraising. He has staged fundraising events involving such activities as his abseiling from a great height, down the side of major public buildings.dressed as Batman!
Recent responses to his work have included:
I was delighted to learn that you recently won the Business and Entrepreneurial category of the Outstanding Young Person of the World 2005 Award at the Junior Chamber International World Congress in Vienna. As Scotlands First Minister, I was particularly pleased to see that someone who was brought up and educated in Scotland has been the recipient of such a prestigious award..
(Jack McConnell, First Minister of Scotland).
This has been the most inspiring and touching presentation I have ever experienced in my twenty five years of working in this company.
(Director of BT)
Ive been totally inspired by everything Amar has said tonight. Now I know its not impossible for me to become a pilot.
(16-year old boy from inner-city school)
Amar speaks on a range of themes; entrepreneurial, inspirational, his own life, world travel, equality and diversity. His affiliations span widely across every ethnicity and every creed in a true spirit of all that is positive in a vibrant, forward-looking, multi-cultural world. For Amar, his blindness is a challenge to which he responds on a daily basis.
Amar Latif says Whilst every year my eyesight becomes more restrictedevery year, the sky becomes higher and the horizon becomes wider, and more tantalizing and more magnificent in the hidden mysteries.all waiting to be revealed.