He persuaded one of those big global corporations (Unilever) to hire him into their graduate management development program in London.  Imran’s career began in Finance and transitioned to management consulting about Information Systems.  Fortunately, no one realised that he knew little about computers.  (He is also a certified accountant, but he prefers not to talk about this.)

   

Imran’s business career has taken him all over the world, and he spent five years living in Minneapolis, becoming a senior manager in one of the ‘Big Five’ global consulting firms.  He became a Platinum frequent flyer and Platinum hotel guest – the kind of person whose day was ruined if he didn’t get his favourite type of seat or room (this was before he started reading the books Oprah recommends).  

 

In 2000, a new position with General Electric brought Imran back to London, where he has since worked, operating seamlessly between Europe, the US and India (company-wide communications has been a large part of his roles).  

  

The tragedy of 9/11 turned the world upside down, as Imran suddenly discovered that his heritage and identity were being hijacked by people he had nothing in common with – forces intent on destroying the very Western values he so much appreciated.  

  

The deterioration in relations between America and the Muslim world drove Imran to write (finally!) his book, Unimagined / The Perfect Gentleman, as a way of re-humanizing that troubled relationship.  The book went on to be recognized in the ‘best books of the year’ lists of several major newspapers, as well as receiving much acclaim from across the political spectrum.  It has been placed on English Literature reading lists at academic institutions – making Imran proud to be recognized alongside so many famous (and dead) writers.  He started being invited to literary festivals; at each one Imran would meet an elegant woman who turned out to be the director of another literary festival – and she would invite him to hers.  (This keeps happening.)  

  

 

 

 

 

I
mran Ahmad was born in Pakistan and moved to England in the early 1960s at the age of one, growing up in London. He was lucky enough to attend a boy’s grammar school, but too lazy to get the grades he needed to get into medical school. Instead, he ended up at Stirling University in Scotland, studying Chemistry, learning about Islam, and trying to impress women. Ultimately he was quite successful in Chemistry and became quite knowledgeable about Islam as well, but he failed to impress any women -
despite having an Alfa Romeo and a microwave oven (quite possibly the only privately-owned microwave on campus at that time).

Halfway through a PhD in Chemistry, Imran realized that there was more to life than test tubes in a laboratory.  This happened because he spent too much time staring out of the window, looking at what other people were doing.  Rather like going to a travel agent, he went to the university careers office and started reading recruitment brochures.  Some of these had pictures of people in business suits, travelling around the world having meetings and lunches.  This looked like fun to him; he was interested in the free lunches, but he wasn't sure what the people in suits actually did.
President Obama’s inauguration speech, in which he mentioned a new era of ‘mutual respect’ between America and the Muslim world, inspired Imran to do something to contribute (especially as he’d just been laid off and was lying on the sofa anyway).  He immediately went up to his study, pulled open a map of the United States, plotted a circular route around the entire country, and set about contacting potential hosts in each city.  He thus organized a US speaking tour, and in mid-March he embarked upon it – driving 13,934 miles in a hybrid car, with 41 events in 39 cities. This extraordinary experience and the extremely positive responses from American audiences established Imran as a natural communicator and humorous, insightful speaker.  (But the manager at Hertz had such a pained look on her face when Imran answered her question about the return mileage.)  Imran did this again in 2012, to coincide with the launch of the American version of his book.

Imran’s main theme is ‘re-humanization’ in the way that we deal with other parties. He weaves an intricate and compelling narrative of personal experiences which touch upon many subject areas: English Literature, sociology, religion, international relations, global politics, modern history – told in a compelling, humorous and human way which keeps his audiences spellbound.
At university … he failed to impress any women – despite having an Alfa Romeo and a microwave oven (quite possibly the only privately-owned microwave on campus at that time).
Imran’s (possibly heretical) view is that what religion (or non-religion) you follow is far less important than how it makes you feel inside (peace-compassion-joy or arrogance-superiority-hatred) and how you treat other people.  

He has appeared on BBC television, Sky television, SBS television (Australia), Voice of America television, Press TV, National Public Radio, BBC radio (many times), Radio Australia, and ABC Radio National (Australia).

Imran currently lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Yes, he’s single.  He is only interested in a woman who is intelligent, educated, vivacious and independent – and will challenge him, not bring him tea.)  He is an accredited feminist (Maclean’s magazine – does that count, it’s Canadian?).

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a Muslim boy meets the West
THE PERFECT GENTLEMAN
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