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October 2023

During the Noon Foundation AGM 2023, our Trustee, Ameena Saiyid OBE, spoke about her experiences as Managing Director of both OUP Pakistan and her own publishing house, Lightstone Publishers.

Ameena joined Oxford University Press (OUP) Pakistan in 1979 and became Managing Director in 1988 - the first woman in Pakistan to become head of a multinational company. She started Pakistan’s movement of literature festivals, founding festivals in Karachi and Islamabad, as well as the Children’s Literature Festival. In 2005, she was awarded an OBE from Queen Elizabeth II, and in 2018 received the Sitara-e-Imtiaz from the President of Pakistan.

Watch Ameena's talk on YouTube now!

Ameena Saiyid OBE: 'The Freedom to Publish in Pakistan - A Personal Story' - YouTube

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Scholar Alumni Reunion & 30th Anniversary Event to be held in Lahore in February 2024

August 2023

Past and present Noon Scholars are invited to join us for a two-day event celebrating the 30th anniversary of the award of our first Noon Scholarship.

Over the past 30 years, the VNEF has supported more than 225 brilliant young Noon Scholars to study at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge in the UK.

The Trustees are now eager to reach out to all past Noon Scholars, to learn more about their subsequent careers, to find out how they may have helped Pakistani development, and to help build a network of Noon Scholars for their mutual benefit.

We plan to create a new Noon Alumni Society out of this reunion, and will be looking for key volunteers to take up posts for this new society. The event will be a two-day workshop around the themes of university, education, ideas and leadership. We plan to have some significant and exciting keynote speakers and participants. The working title is:

Building Excellence in Pakistan: New Ideas for the 21st Century

Please note this in your diary, date to be confirmed, and if you can help with support, arrangements, or ideas, please get in touch in the usual way. Please email with any questions, and keep in touch via our blog, LinkedIn and website. More information to follow.

Download the event poster


Trustees select new Noon Scholars for 2023-24

June 2023

At the end of June, our Trustees met at SOAS for their Annual General Meeting (AGM), in which they selected new Noon Scholars for the upcoming academic year.

As always, the Trustees were amazed at the outstanding quality of the applications received. 

The AGM was followed by a successful Scholars' Reception, attended by Scholars both past and present, along with Trustees and other supporters of the Foundation.

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Chair and Trustees speak at Pakistan Literature Festival in London

June 2023

VNEF Chair Dr Paul Flather, along with Trustees Ameena Saiyid OBE, Professor Kamal Munir and Professor Faisal Devji, will speak at panels as part of this year's Pakistan Literature Festival in London

Ameena co-founded the first literature festival in Pakistan in 2010, along with Asif Farrukhi, to celebrate writers, artists, debate, dance, and free expression. The Pakistan Literature Festival in London is part of this growing movement of literature and arts festivals. 

At the Pakistan Literature Festival in London, the audience will experience book launches, talks, interviews, discussions, dance, and film clips. Almost 100 Pakistani and international authors, intellectuals, and media personalities will attend. 

'Freedom to Publish in Pakistan - a personal story': Ameena Saiyid to speak at Annual Reception

May 2023

Our esteemed Trustee, Ameena Saiyid OBE, will talk about her experiences as Managing Director of both OUP Pakistan and her own publishing house, Lightstone Publishers, at our annual Noon Scholars' Reception on 23rd June 2023.

Ameena joined Oxford University Press (OUP) Pakistan in 1979 and became Managing Director in 1988. She is the first woman in Pakistan to become head of a multinational company.


Ameena started Pakistan’s movement of literature festivals, founding festivals in Karachi and Islamabad, as well as the Children’s Literature Festival. In 2005 she was awarded an OBE from Queen Elizabeth II, and in 2018 received the Sitara-e-Imtiaz from the President of Pakistan.

Find out more about our Scholars' Reception here.

Noon Scholars' Reception | 23rd June at SOAS in London

April 2023

Our next Noon Scholars' Reception will be held on Friday 23rd June at the School of Oriental and African Studies' Khalili Lecture Theatre in London, WC1H 0XG.


The evening will start at 18.00 with a talk by our Trustee Ameena Saiyid OBE, former Managing Director of OUP Pakistan, on 'Freedom to Publish in Pakistan - a personal story'.


All Noon Scholars are welcome. Please email to let us know if you plan to attend. The event follows the AGM of the Trustees, when next year's scholarships will be determined. 

Chair meets Oxford Noon Scholar Nawal Rai

February 2023

Dr Paul Flather, Chair of the VNEF, met with one of the 2022-23 Oxford Noon Scholars, Nawal Rai (pictured left), at the Ashmolean Museum earlier this year.


Nawal is working towards her MPhil in Development Studies. She completed her undergraduate degree in Political Science and Economics at Lahore University of Management Sciences, finishing in 2021. 

Chair meets Oxford Noon Scholar Muhammad Safian Adeel

February 2023

Dr Paul Flather, chair of the VNEF, was delighted to meet with one of our two current Oxford Noon Scholars, Muhammad Safian Adeel (pictured left), at the Ashmolean Museum earlier this year. Muhammad is studying for his MSc in Taxation at Harris Manchester College.

Muhammad is Deputy Commissioner of Pakistan's Inland Revenue Service, and previously was an Assistant Professor at the University of Engineering & Technology in Lahore.

The Sad Passing of Dr. Humayun Khan

September 2022

We are deeply saddened to announce the passing away of our former chair and trustee, Dr. Humayun Khan, a distinguished diplomat and former Director of the Commonwealth Foundation, on 22nd September, 2022.  He did much to help set the direction of travel for the Foundation, making it easier for the trustees to develop and maintain the work of the trust. He was also a devoted brother, husband, father, grandfather, uncle and a pillar of strength for his family. We extend our deepest sympathies to all his family and friends. You can read Dr. Humayun Khan's Obituary in the Telegraph.

Welcome to our new Board member Professor Kamal Munir

January 2022

We are delighted to welcome a distinguished new member of our Board of Trustees. Professor Kamal Munir comes with a long list of achievements and as the serving Pro Vice-Chancellor for Community and Engagement at Cambridge University. He is Professor of Strategy and a Fellow of Homerton College. We look forward to his participation at our forthcoming annual meeting in May. He will also help us to keep in touch with Cambridge matters. He replaces our distinguished former Cambridge based trustee, Professor Haroon Ahmed, who has opted to stand down.

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Farewell to Professor Haroon Ahmed   

December 2021

Professor Haroon Ahmed, former President of Corpus Christie College at Cambridge and Emeritus Professor of Engineering, who, as noted last year, had opted, finally to stand down from our board of trustees after more than 15 years of service. But we were delighted that he agreed to stay connected with us and to continue to serve as a co-opted member of our VNEF Finances Subcommittee, and now he has agreed to offer advice in our selections of particularly science and technology students. He will be much missed, though we are pleased we have not lost his wise counsel.   

Plaque in Remembrance of Lady Noon

September 2021

We are pleased to be reminded of this wonderful plaque dedicated to our founder, Lady ‘Vicky’ Noon, put up some years ago at the Arts Council of Pakistan, in Karachi, in recognition of her many contributions to the development of arts in the country.

Exorbitant fees deprive capital students of higher education

March 2021

The exorbitant fee structure of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) colleges in comparison to the provinces in Pakistan has made it difficult for the students of low-income groups to afford to acquire higher education, reports APP, 13th March 2021.  Read more APP, 13th March 2021. Read more here

Remembering Vicky Noon | London LLF

February 2019

Remembering Vicky Noon at a recent London Lahore Literary Festival. Celebrating the Austrian-born former first lady of Pakistan, Viqarunnissa Noon, the founder of the Noon Foundation and dedicated supporter of education for women. Watch the video for 

discussion which also featured trustees Paul Flather and Rosemary Raza. Watch the video here.

Board of Trustees Welcomes Newest Member


We are delighted to welcome a new trustee, confirmed at our recent board of trustees meeting hosted at the Ancient Iran and India Trust in Cambridge. He is Professor Faisal Devji, who has written extensively on Pakistan and on intellectual ideas to do with South Asian history and politics. He is director of the Oxford University Asian Studies Institute and a Fellow of St Antony’s College. Please see here for his brief bio. This bring to nine the membership of our board.

Pakistan - the Oxbridge Connections: A talk by Professor Haroon Ahmed


What is it about the universities of Oxford and Cambridge and their constituent colleges that have nurtured so many men and women who have gone on to make such immeasurable contributions to Pakistan? 


Warm Welcome to Our Newest Trustee


We welcome Ameena Sayid OBE as the newest member of our Board of Trustees. She is managing Director of Oxford University Press Pakistan, with additional responsibilities for the Middle East, Central Asia, and North Africa. She is the first woman in Pakistan to be President of the Overseas Investors’ Chamber of Commerce Industry (OICCI) in its 150 year history, and to become head of a multinational company. In 2005, she was awarded the OBE by the Queen, and in 2013, the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres by the Government of France. She is the founder and director of the Karachi and Islamabad Literature Festivals.

Noon Trustees Special Guests at Cambridge University Gathering


Two of our Trustees were welcomed as special guests at the recent welcome gathering for all international scholars at Cambridge University, held at the Twelvetrees Hotel, hosted by the new vice-chancellor, Professor Stephen Toope. Dr Paul Flather, the Chair of the Vicky Noon trust and Professor Haroon Ahmed, were two special guests praised in the opening speeches for the contribution the trust made as one of the many partner bodies that works with the hugely successful Cambridge Commonwealth Trust (CCT). The VNEF is poised to renew its 25-year partnership with Cambridge in the coming months to continue to support able and successful graduates coming from Pakistan to study at the leading university. Pictured are left to right Professor Ahmed, Professor Toope, Dr Flather and Helen Pennant, the director of the CCT.

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November 2015

Sohaib Shamim, who graduated from Mansfield in 2006 with a masters in Physics, unexpectedly passed away on November 6th, 2015, aged 31. Sohaib grew up in Lahore, studied at Lahore Grammar School and was a recipient of the prestigious Noon Foundation scholarship (awarded to outstandingly gifted candidates from Pakistan) to pursue further education at Oxford. Shortly after graduating, despite several options open to him to choose a comfortable life in London, he returned to Pakistan, passionate to expand education in his home country. He joined the physics faculty of what is perhaps Pakistan's leading university, the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS).

Among other interests, Sohaib was particularly enthused by mountaineering and cricket - reflected in the many photographs of him standing amid the tortuous peaks of northern Pakistan , or dressed in all-white cricket gear on one of Oxford's cricket pitches.

Above all, though, what distinguished Sohaib most was his exemplary humility and extraordinary sense of humanity and compassion. Yo would be hard pressed to find a single example of him having harmed or shown animosity to another, or having complained about a bad situation. On the contrary, many who knew him will be quick to point out his contrast willingness, selflessly and unconditionally, to help not only close friends but also distant acquaintances whenever called upon. 


Sohaib's funeral was held in Lahore on November 6th, 2015. He is survived by his parents and younger brother. 

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