“In Pakistan, there is a lack of collaboration between industries and universities, which I believe is essential. I would like to improve collaboration in that area.”
So said Dr Taimoor Ali, former Noon Scholar (2016, Engineering Science, Wolfson) at our 25 th Anniversary memorial event celebrated in Oxford in 2019 with trustees, supporters, friends and past Noon Scholars. This is one of the underlying drivers for the work of the Noon Foundation – and a very personal aim of Vicky Noon, our founder. It has been heartening, therefore, to learn that two-thirds of those responding to our Survey (please take it here or share it with other Noon scholars if you have returned it already) returned to Pakistan upon completion of their Oxbridge studies.
Another of our scholars at that event, Awais Bajwa (2006, Electrical Engineering, Lady Margaret Hall) took up this theme:
“Taking the ethos of the foundation, I tried to play my part in the development and certainly the economic development of people like myself in Pakistan …through my founding of one of the first venture capital firms in Pakistan, among other projects…”
The VNEF is about connecting Pakistani and the UK – providing unique opportunities to brilliant young Pakistani scholars but also wanting them to go back. It was interesting that another of the speakers, Omar Kidwai (2018, Natural Sciences, Christ’s) added:
“One thing that I found amazing from my first year was that there was a greater link with and exposure to things happening in Pakistan than I expected.”
We know many of those who returned did not stay in Pakistan. We very much hope more alumni will return to Pakistan, but for those of you who have, please share with us what you have achieved on your return.
With All Good Wishes,
Dr Paul Flather Chair, VNEF Fellow, Mansfield College, Oxford