Mohammed Salam, affectionately known as Salam, a Bangladeshi-born Bradford resident became the first Bangladeshi to receive an Honorary Doctorate. Salam was presented with the honorary ‘Doctor of the University of Bradford’ for his distinguished services to the city and the people of Bradford, in particular in recognition of his long-standing commitment and dedication in the field of community relations and cohesion.
The prestigious event took place at the University of Bradford on the 2nd December, where he was given his Honorary Degree.
This marks a great achievement for Dr Salam, as it has taken him almost forty-years to achieve the degree. Mohammed Salam came to the UK in 1970 to study at the Bradford University for a PhD in Polymer Chemistry, but because of his voluntary commitments was unable to complete. However, he obtained the MBIM (Member, British Institute of Management) and AMITD (Associate Member, Institute of Training and Development.
During his student life at the University of Bradford he was President of the Pakistan Student Society (and later Bangladesh Student Society), and helped others by being elected as the Student Welfare Officer of the University’s Students’ Union. He helped overseas students to integrate effectively in the life of the university in particular, and with the community of Bradford in general, taking cognizance of their special needs in a foreign environment.
Mohammed Salam left the university in 1972, which was another pinnacle point in his life. 1972 was the year Iddi Amin expelled British Asians from Uganda. At this stage he volunteered to join the Ugandan Asian Resettlement Board (set up by the British Government), to work to support the refugees, which meant him leaving for Lincolnshire where he worked with two camps.
Over a two-year period he was able to resettle over 3000 families across the country. Since then he never looked back at not becoming a Scientist, but remained to work to support real people, and continued his work by working for Humberside County Council, as a Community Social Services Officer, and then later at Manchester City Council as a Housing Manager for homelessness and students accommodation. His passion for Bradford brought him back to his ‘original home’ when he was working for Bradford Council, and then Calderdale Council as the head of Equal Opportunities.
He has been a Justice of the Peace for Bradford Bench since 1991. He is the Chair of Bradford Community Empowerment Network (C-Net), a Trustee & Board Member of Bradford Action for Business Ltd (a social enterprise in Manningham), a Trustee & Vice Chair of KalaSangam (a South Asian arts organisation in the north of England), a Trustee of Community Foundation, a Trustee & Board Member of Yorkshire & Humber Regional Forum and a member of the Equality and Diversity Committee of the University of Bradford.
Salam has served as Chairman of Bradford Racial Equality Council, Board Member of Bradford Vision, Governor for Bradford College, Shipley College and Vice Chair of the United Kingdom Immigrants Advisory Service, UKIAS (a body set up by Parliament with 11 offices in the UK and 2 overseas offices), a position Salam held for 13 years.
Salam established a project called the ‘Home Study Project’ in Bradford. This project was an innovative method of engaging under-achieving school children and their parents with schools by providing home tuition by qualified teachers. This project involved 300 families and 27 schools from across the district and helped over 700 children, many of whom improved their attainment levels by over 40%. This was a remarkable achievement commended by Ofsted and has been an example for other cities to follow.
Salam’s most proud achievement has been the creation of an international Charity with his colleagues, ‘Friends of Bangladesh- Cyclone Disaster Appeal’ which helped many homeless and destitute families who were greatly affected by the Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh. He raised sufficient funds from various activities and has helped build 88 houses with 25 tube wells for drinking water for 90 families who had nowhere to return.
Over the last thirty eight years Salam, while living and working in Yorkshire and the surroundings during this period, has always striven in all his many and diverse endeavours to pursue and advance the cause of justice, truth, knowledge, and harmony wherein have lain his passion and commitment.
His continued dedication to bringing people from across the wide spectrum of citizens which make up the fabric of the Bradford community is the testament of his desire to build a better society for every one.
He is currently the Chief Executive of “Consortia of Ethnic Minority Organisations” in Bradford, which is an umbrella body providing support to front line voluntary organisations. He is also the Chair of Cnet, a Trustee and Vice-Chair of Kala Sangam, and a member of the Equality and Diversity Committee at the University of Bradford.