Rozan Ahmed, in Gulf Air's April 2011 edition of Gulf Life magazine.
When we meet, Rozan Ahmed has just returned from a month long stint championing a peace campaign in Nairobi. "I represented a fantastic initiative called ‘We Want Peace’, spearheaded by former Sudanese child soldier turned author and singer Emmanuel Jal," she says. "Call it one of my, soul nourishing projects, if you will. What I live for, in fact."
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For those who only know Ahmed as the woman behind bougi, the creative think tank responsible for the bougi blog, the best in PR strategy, special campaign work and amazing events across the Bahrain, Middle East and beyond, it seems a bit of a departure. But dig deeper into her career history and everything falls into place. “I’ve always been interested in music and politics” says the Sudanese/British entrepreneur. “My father has a real connection with music, which influenced my tastes. My interest in politics, social change, and development really came about in the aftermath of 9/11. As a Muslim growing up in London, the power of perception during that period, its influence and manipulation, totally fascinated me.”
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After graduating with a media & communications degree, Ahmed joined the staff at London-based urban-music magazine, RWD, where she interviewed, and worked with A-list artists such as Diddy, Beyoncé, Estelle, Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z. She also played a fundamental role in propelling the now popular British urban music scene. But politics, and a real humanitarian responsibility in social activism, always remained an underlying passion, so when offered the role of public information officer for Sudan’s new UN mission, she jumped at the chance.
Based in Khartoum (with stints in Juba, Darfur, Kenya and Uganda) for four years, Ahmed’s projects included setting up sister missions, establishing a national radio station, and coordinating a celebratory concert, which first brought her into contact with Emmanuel Jal. “Music is the most emotive and powerful form of communication, and it can really make a difference, if utilised conscientiously” she says.
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Ahmed moved to Bahrain in 2009, having fallen in love with the island while visiting on holiday. She set up bougi's consulting entities as a primary day job, meanwhile establishing lifestyle arms to the brand to provide her adopted region with a special and sophisticated entertainment flair, as well as lending her advocacy talents to humanitarian projects across Africa and the Middle East. “bougi’s blog, exercising my writing, and our events, that's probably what I love doing the most...entertaining” says Ahmed. “Our parties amalgamate a belief in unabashed excellence, culturally, musically, socially...just getting the right people together, awkward free, lots of sound perks... what is a 'good time' without all things, good, after all?”