Syra is a British citizen of Pakistani extraction who moved to the UK in 2009 to avail herself of an investment opportunity with ICMP and a position as a Director in the company. Having spent time in the UK as a University student in the 1970’s, Syra was familiar with the UK educational and professional environment and culture and was therefore equipped to take up this new challenge. Her investment and participation has helped grow the institution threefold in the 9 years since joining.
Syra trained as a social anthropologist and a journalist, afforded her an approach to problem-solving based on rigorous empiricism and insight gained from wide reading. She specialises in Strategic Planning, with skills developed over many years including creativity and an ability to look beyond the obvious while at the same time keeping risk at acceptable levels. She is able to communicate clearly and succinctly and articulate complicated issues with ease.
Syra has a BA Combined Hons in South Asian History and Social Anthropology from SOAS, London, and developed a sociological understanding of the way children and young people learn/are educated in various cultures, as this was the area of research for her MPhil thesis. After qualifying with this Mphil degree in Social Anthropology from the University of London in 1981, with a specialisation in Education and Socialisation, Syra returned to Pakistan where she worked primarily as a writer, editor and Creative Director in Journalism and Advertising with consultancies at the Sind Department of Culture and the UNFPA (United Nations Fund for Population Activities). She also lectured part time at local colleges on Current Affairs.
Subsequently, Syra worked in journalism (1982-1986) for the Pakistan Herald Group of Publications, with various posts including London Correspondent, Feature Writer, Leader Writer and Assistant Editor based in Karachi; Advertising (1986-1988 and 1995-1998); again journalism (1989 – 1992) as Bureau Chief, Karachi and feature-writer, ”The Friday Times”, an independent weekly newsmagazine published in Lahore; as a Consultant (1992-1995) at the Department of Culture and Tourism, Government of Sind, where she advised on the creation of “Living Museum” at Sind Museum, Hyderabad and developed a strategic plan for the marketing and promotion of tourism in Sind Province; teaching(1995-1998) as a part-time lecturer on Current Affairs at Indus Valley School of Art, Karachi (University level) and also “A” Level at Lyceum School, Karachi.
After 1998 Syra divided her time between Arusha, Tanzania, where her husband was posted with the UN and London and where her daughter was at school, during this time continuing to write freelance for Pakistani magazines and newspapers; and consultancy, with a UNFPA. Report on: “The Socio-Cultural Context of Violence Against Women”, this paper being presented at a conference in New York in 2002. Her role as Director, ICMP (2009-current) includes input on strategic planning and direction of the business, development of part-time courses and research and analysis on overseas markets.
Now semi-retired, in addition to her role with ICMP, Syra manages a property and investment portfolio and enjoys the cultural delights of living in London, especially theatre and music. Past memberships include the Royal Anthropological Association UK and the National Union of Journalists UK. She has a deep interest in Music and Songwriting (in fact it was this interest in playing guitar and songwriting that first brought her into contact with ICMP where she has attended several courses over the years), including recording her own album of songs, singing with a local choir and performing at open-mic events occasionally. She plays bridge to a high standard and represented Pakistan at the World Team Olympiad in Rhodes in 1996, and enjoys sports, especially golf and cricket – Syra is a non-playing member of the MCC and enjoys playing golf at different courses all over the world.