MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR
posted May 2020
Lady Viqarunnissa Noon was a unique character.
She founded our Trust with two main objectives: to give some of the brightest Pakistani students the chance to study at Britain’s best universities, and to reinforce links between Britain, the country where she was brought up, and Pakistan, her adopted home.
Now 25 and more years – the Trust was created in 1992 with the first awards in 1994 – we have been able to fund 200 and more deserving Pakistani scholars to study at world-class universities in the UK. Even so, with limited funds, in our times of economic stringency, many bright applicants are, inevitably, disappointed. We therefore strive to build partnerships to ensure that our support stretches as far as possible.
The Trustees of the Noon Foundation – drawn from government, academe, public life and media, distinguished in their various ways and all connected with and fond of Pakistan– aim to deliver her vision, utilising these funds she so generously left for this purpose.
We all take enormous pleasure in the success of these Noon Scholars and realizing the hopes of Vicky Noon (as she was called by her friends). A wife to Firoz Khan Noon, one of Pakistan’s most honourable and prominent politicians, and in her later work after his death, she had long realized that education was the lifeblood of any country. She believed that Pakistan’s future depended on the young, whatever its economic or political situation.
Influenced by the integrity and commitment of many of Pakistan’s founding fathers, she quickly realised the importance of giving opportunities to the brightest men and women of Pakistan, who rightly aspire to attend the very best universities, such as Oxford and Cambridge.
We share her vision that these Noon Scholars might then repay the gift by playing a leading role in the future development of the country. Competition to gain entry to Oxford and Cambridge is, of course, fierce. Pakistanis applying for Noon funding must first apply directly to the universities, and secure admission. If they request Noon funding, their papers are forwarded by the universities to us at the VNEF. We Trustees meet in early summer, each year, to assess candidates according to our criteria, including, significantly, we feel, their commitment to return to Pakistan and contribute to life in their home country.
We aim to keep in touch with the subsequent progress of these Noon Scholars. We ask all scholars and supporter to please keep in touch with the VNEF via our website, and to help to keep the hopes and ambitions of Vicky and the Noon family alive.
Dr. Paul Flather, Chairman