Mir Ibrahim Rahman

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Mir Ibrahim Rahman
Born Mir Ibrahim Rahman
1981
Citizenship Pakistan
Education
  • BSc (Hon) Economics, Finance and Entrepreneurship
  • Master in Public Administration/ International Development
Alma mater
Occupation Co-founder and CEO of Geo TV (2002–current)
Board member of
Mir Khalil ur Rahman Foundation
Religion Muslim
Spouse(s) Sheena Hadi
Children Asha Rahman
Parents Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman
Relatives
Awards Robert F. Kennedy Award for Excellence in Public Service

Mir Ibrahim Rahman (born in 1981) is the co-founder and CEO of Geo TV. He is the eldest son of media mogul Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and the grandson of newspaper magnate Mir Khalil ur Rehman. He formerly served as an investment banker with Goldman Sachs.[2] In 2010, he became the first Muslim and the second South Asian to receive the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Excellence in Public Service at the Harvard Kennedy School in recognition of his "contribution in the historical lawyers' movement that brought independent judiciary to Pakistan".[3]

Personal life[edit]

Mir Ibrahim Rahman belongs to a prominent media family. He is the eldest son of the media mogul and philanthropist Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman and the grandson of newspaper magnate Mir Khalil ur Rehman. His father owns Jang Group, the largest group of newspapers in Pakistan.

Rahman met and married Sheena Hadi while both of them were studying at Harvard. Rahman and Hadi have a daughter named Asha.[4] Hadi is the director of Aahung, an NGO for women and children’s rights.[5]

Education and early career[edit]

Mir Ibrahim Rahman (3rd from left) and Geo TV president Imran Aslam (far left) entertain Center for Global Development president Nancy Birdsall and senior analyst Molly Kinder on their visit to the Geo TV offices.

In 2000, Rahman graduated summa cum laude from Babson College with honours in economics, finance and entrepreneurship. After his graduation, he worked as an investment banker with Goldman Sachs specialising in media and telecom. After a brief stint with the investment banking and securities firm, he returned to Pakistan in 2002.[6]

Until 2002, the electronic media in Pakistan was largely dominated by state-owned institutions like Pakistan Television Corporation and the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation. This monopoly was thwarted when the Musharraf regime regulated electronic media allowing for private television channels to be operated independently. It was during this liberalisation of the media in Pakistan that Rahman saw an opportunity to expand his family business.

In 2002, he co-founded the privately owned television network, Geo TV. What started as a 5-member operation out of a hotel room turned into one of largest television broadcast networks in Pakistan. Geo TV was later recognised as a pertinent driver of change in the media landscape of the country.[7] Rahman has since served as the CEO of the television network that now employs more than 2,500 workers panning the globe.

In 2009, he joined the Harvard University John F Kennedy School of Government while pursuing his master's degree in public administration.[6] He later had to take a sabbatical alongside his wife Sheena following her pregnancy.[4] Sheena was also a fellow Harvard alumni pursuing her master's degree in education.[5]

Rahman also serves as a member of the Young Presidents' Organization in Pakistan, a charter member of the Indus Entrepreneur and the director of Mir Khalil ur Rahman Foundation.[8]

Awards and recognition[edit]

In 2010, Rahman and his television network were recognised for their "contribution in the historical lawyers' movement that brought independent judiciary in Pakistan".[3] He became the first Muslim and the second South Asian to receive the prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Award for Excellence in Public Service from the Harvard Kennedy School recognising signs of future potential leadership and a deep commitment to public service.

Rahman has been lauded for his network's efforts in promoting peace between India and Pakistan and other ground breaking work that helps the overcoming of differences in religion, culture and ethnicity.

Mir Ibrahim Rahman was chosen by his colleagues to represent them as their student speaker at Harvard's graduation ceremony 2010. The speech titled “Degree of Confusion” was somewhat controversial yet got a standing ovation. The speech asked the Alqueda to be confused about the US’s value of education, entrepreneurship and free speech and also asked the US to be confused about whether extremists are doing what they are doing because they want to take away American’s freedom or is it because of some other reason. The speech can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcVBcY6rDvU&feature=email

Mir was also given the Lucius N. Littauer Award, given to members of the graduating class that excelled in the classroom and made a significant positive contribution to the Kennedy School community. Mir was acknowledged for representing his class in the Kennedy Student Government, as well as organizing several key seminars and being on the Advisory Board for Harvard’s South Asia Initiative. Mir was the rare student to also serve in Harvard’s prestigious Admissions Committee, which is staffed usually by only senior most Professors. The Co-founder and CEO of GEO TV Network, and has been on a sabbatical for a year at Harvard to complete his Masters in Public Administration, where he has also researched and written a thesis on Pakistan’s potential, titled: Reason to Believe- Finding A New Public Narrative for Pakistan.

Profile of some initiatives[edit]

“Zara Sochieye” [9] (Just Think!) led a wave of debate on the controversial Hudood Ordinance,[10] a set of laws passed without debated by a dictator 28 of years ago equating rape with adultery. GEO’s campaign, clarified the difference between man-made laws and divine law that the Hudood Ordinance was deliberately associated with. The campaign included testimony and unprecedented debate between the main liberal and conservative religious forces in the country and was credited to be the tipping point that led the Government to finally amend the ordinance. Perhaps real success, however, was to proof of performance that sensitive religious issues can not only be debated but debate can help religion itself.[11]

Under Mir’s supervision, GeoFilms launched its first films project titled “Khuda Kay Liye” (In the Name of God)[12] against whom a fatwa was issued by the terrorist leader of the Red Mosque, Islamabad. The project not only became Pakistani film industry’s biggest blockbuster but also prompted much needed dialogue and discussion facing Islam and Pakistan today.

GEO Network has been known to take on daring projects, including supporting the cause for justice, which created a tussle with the previous military and current civilian government. All of GEO’s channels were shut down for almost 90 days, creating a net revenue loss of over $25 million. Most political analysts have been quoted to confirm GEO’s role was unique in the country’s historic independent judiciary movement and the eventual restoration of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry.[13]

GEO took the daring lead in showcasing Taliban version of Islam by releasing footage of public violence against women and men who have not gone through due process, exposing it's hypocrisy as GEO supports drones that too murder individuals without due process. Footage includes the now infamous video of the flogging of a screaming woman pinned down by two men as well as Taliban recruitment footage of beheadings, including some by children, which turned out to be a fake video for which Geo TV was criticized a lot. Many analysts credit the Pakistani media, led by GEO, for changing the tide of public opinion that made Swat operation possible.[14]

GEO and Jang Group [15] have also recently announced their partnership with Times of India Group to launch a civilian peace initiative with India.[16] The two largest and most influential media groups of Pakistan and India have committed to providing a platform where their audiences, readers and civil society can nudge their respective government to move towards lasting and fair peace so that valuable resources of both countries can be directed towards development and progress.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Asim, Ambreen (25 January 2013). "Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman: A man of great stature". Mag the Weekly. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  2. ^ "Mir Ibrahim Rahman - Young Global Leaders". World Economic Forum. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Alumni Entrepreneur Hall of Fame - 2011 Honorees". Babson College. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Coco, Donna. "Planting Hope, Transforming Lives". Babson College. 
  5. ^ a b Mirza-Ashraf, Tanya (2013). "Beautiful Minds". Paper Magazine. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "Harvard University award for Mir Ibrahim Rahman of Jang/Geo Group". The News International. 18 July 2010. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  7. ^ "Pakistan TV: A New Look At the News". New York Times. 25 January 2004. Retrieved 16 November 2010. 
  8. ^ "Mir Khalil ur Rahman Foundation". MKRF. Retrieved 2010-11-16. 
  9. ^ "Zara Sochieye". Geo.tv. Retrieved 2010-11-16. 
  10. ^ "Zara Sochieye". Geo.tv. Retrieved 2010-11-16. 
  11. ^ Both Sides of the Story
  12. ^ "*In the Name of God*". Inthenameofgod.com. Retrieved 2010-11-16. 
  13. ^ "Zara Sochieye". Geo.tv. Retrieved 2010-11-16. 
  14. ^ "Pakistan media shows 'mirror image' of society". gulfnews. 2009-04-03. Retrieved 2010-11-16. 
  15. ^ "1 - Number One Newspaper of Pakistan - Daily Jang- Jang Group". Jang.com.pk. Retrieved 2010-11-16. 
  16. ^ "A Peace initiative by Jang Group, Pakistan & Times of India". Aman ki Asha. Retrieved 2010-11-16.