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Shada Islam

Non-Resident Fellow


Shada Islam is a renowned and respected Brussels-based commentator on European Union affairs who now works independently as an advisor/analyst on Europe, Africa, Asia, geopolitics, trade, and inclusion.

Islam worked for nine years as Director of Europe and Geopolitics at Friends of Europe, an influential independent think tank based in Brussels.

She has spent most of her professional life researching, writing and speaking about the European Union’s relations with Africa, Asia and EU Development Policy, building up a global reputation  as a leading commentator, analyst and writer as well as a fresh and original thought-leader on EU relations with emerging nations.

At Friends of Europe, Islam started and expanded the Asia Programme and was a key driver of the organisation’s Development Policy Forum which brings together leading European and international development agencies.

She played a crucial role in discussions on Africa, including within the High Level Group of European and African Personalities co-organised by FoE with the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and the One Campaign.

Last year, she was selected as one of the 20 most influential women in Brussels by the magazine Politico. She is also a Solvay Fellow at the Vrije University Brussel (VUB).

As a correspondent for over 20 years for several Asian and African leading media outlets including “The Far Eastern Economic Review”, West Africa Magazine and the BBC African Service, Islam has acquired an in-depth knowledge and unique insights into the policies and priorities of governments, business and civil society actors in Europe, Africa and Asia.

As such, her opinions and advice are much sought-after by African, Asian and European governments, including the European Union institutions and the European External Action Service as well as business, civil society and academia.

She is a regular speaker at international conferences and is a frequent lecturer at academic symposia in Africa, Asia and Europe and is often interviewed by international media.

Islam joined Friends of Europe’s in February 2011, working there until June 9, 2020. While at FoE, she organised several high-level conferences and seminars on development policy, Africa and Asia.

Earlier, after working as a senior journalist and commentator, Islam joined the European Policy Centre think tank in Brussels in 2007. She has a Masters Degree in Journalism and Social Communication from the Universite Libre de Bruxelles.

Islam writes regularly on Europe, Africa and Asia in her Frankly Speaking columns for Friends of Europe. She is much in demand as a speaker and a moderator for international conferences, including those organised by the European Commission, the European Parliament, the United Nations, the OECD and the World Trade Organisation.

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