Harris Bokhari OBE was on Saturday (5) elected by the National Trust as the first Muslim member of its council. In the election, which was held at the Bath Assembly Rooms, Bokhari received most votes for any new member elected to the council. He also polled more votes than the two other members re-elected to the council.
The 45-year-old Bokhari, who is the co-founder and trustee of the Naz Legacy Foundation, is a social entrepreneur, public engagement advisor, and chartered accountant. He is known for a wide range of roles, including serving on the Board of the Natural History Museum; The Royal Parks; and the Prince’s Trust Mosaic Initiative. He is also an ambassador for the British Asian Trust.
The British-born Harris founded the Patchwork Foundation in 2010 to promote the political and democratic engagement of under-represented communities. He is an independent member of both the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Committee and the Community and Voluntary Service Honours Committee.
He was awarded an OBE in Her Majesty’s 2015 Birthday Honours List for services to young people and interfaith relations; was named as one of London’s most influential figures by the Evening Standard’s Progress 1000 List; and was also awarded the Imperial College’s inaugural Distinguished Alumni.
Reacting to his election to the National Trust, Bokhari said, “I am delighted to be joining the National Trust as a Council member. As Europe’s largest conservation charity, the National Trust is a true national treasure which provides unparalleled opportunities for enjoyment, exploration and understanding our history.
“I am looking forward to doing all I can to bring these opportunities to new and wider audiences. I have so many fond memories of visiting National Trust sites as a child and enjoying these open spaces and visiting historic houses with my family. Sadly for many other children from under-represented backgrounds, this has not been the case.
“One of my priorities will be to ensure that the National Trust continues to reach out to diverse and harder-to-reach communities, to ensure the charity is for everyone for ever.”
The council plays an important role in the governance of the National Trust. The council members meet thrice a year to debate key strategic issues and advise the board of trustees. It is made up of 36 members and they serve an initial term of three years.