Durdana Ansari OBE, a British Pakistani entrepreneur, public speaker and activist for female empowerment was born on 1st March 1960 in Bahawalpur and grew up in Islamabad. Durdana, then moved to London where she received her degree in media and journalism from Birkbeck University. Durdana is a former charity director, journalist, presenter and producer at the BBC World Service.
She has interviewed politicians, Kashmir earthquake victims, Afghan refugees, Bollywood and Pakistani actors, artists, film directors and poets, and received an Order of the British Empire in 2012 for creating economic development programme for Muslim women. She serves as a Brand Ambassador to Mirpur University of Science & Technology (MUST), the Swat Relief Initiative (SRI), and as a trustee for 'Quest for Education' (QFE).
Durdana Ansari was appointed Hon Lt Cdr in 2018 and promoted in 2019 to Hon Cdr Royal Navy. She currently works as an adviser to the Royal Navy, holds community events nationwide for young individuals between the ages of 18 to 35 to meet naval officers and recruitment officials to learn about careers in the Royal Navy.
She also works with community leaders, local councillors, borough mayors, academics, teachers, and parents of young individuals who have shown an interest in naval careers. Durdana was also appointed as an Instructor based on her experience with British society and BAME communities.
Durdana Ansari established The Pearl Foundation to teach functional spoken English, reading, writing and computer skills to British-Muslim women, as well as integrate these women into wider society by building self-confidence and enhancing quality of life. Her work with 'The Pearl Education Foundation' and the 'Ethnic Minorities Foundation' led to the recruitment of approximately 9,000 students and 700 volunteers.
She led a small programme to teach Muslim women the importance of learning English and IT skills. Her work at the Ethnic Minorities Foundation was recognised by the Queen with the award of an Order of the British Empire. Ansari spent 22 years producing, directing, and interviewing prominent personalities for the BBC World Service, the largest international broadcaster in the world, owned and operated by the BBC.
BBC programmes included the following: The World Today (radio programme), Asian Network (Urdu), Outlook, Meridian, English Teaching Programme and BBC Urdu Service. She also produced, directed and presented a bilingual Sunday Brunch Show for the global PTV channel. Content included current affairs, arts, drama, TV, film and personalities of current interest.
Durdana Ansari was awarded 'Order of the British Empire' (OBE) in 2012 and was honoured with 'Honorary Commander Royal Navy'. She has also participated in the Imran Khan Cancer Hospital, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Islamic Relief, and Helping Hands.
Durdana Ansari has four children, 2 boys and 2 girls. Her first child, Amina Art Ansari, is an artist with paintings of the British royal family hanging in Windsor Castle.