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Refugee pays for student scholarships

Posted on 10/01/2010

Students at Royal Holloway

A generous multi-million pound gift from an Iraqi refugee who sought asylum in Britain will provide a welcome financial boost for aspiring students at Royal Holloway, University of London, to help them realise their ambitions.

Benefactor Naim Dangoor launched the Eliahou Dangoor Scholarships on Tuesday (December 8) with a £3 million donation over three years. The £1,000 scholarships will be available to first year students from 38 universities – which are members of the 1994 Group and Russell Group Universities, including Royal Holloway – who, together, represent the leading research intensive universities.

With matched funding from the Government, the scheme is expected to be worth £4 million and will help thousands of students, mostly from under-privileged backgrounds, who want to study science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects at university. It is the largest single sum ever given to aid poorer students applying for university in the UK’s history.

Dr Dangoor, now aged 95, came to London as a student from Iraq 75 years ago to study engineering. Three decades later he returned to the UK to escape anti-Semitic persecution. Once he returned to his country he vowed to help other students in the future, if he had the money to do so, as a way of thanking the UK.

Thanks to his highly successful career in the property sector, he was able to donate £1 million five years ago, to offer scholarships worth £1,000 each for 1,000 of the UK’s most talented first-year students. Now he has donated a further £3 million, again for first year students, but this time aimed at encouraging young people to study STEM subjects at one of the country’s leading universities.

At Royal Holloway, 33 first-year undergraduates studying science, mathematics and technology will each receive £1,000 in 2009-10. A further 33 awards will be made in 2010-11, and again in 2011-12.

The Eliahou Dangoor Scholarships, named after Dr Dangoor’s father, were launched at a special reception at the Royal Society, London, attended by the Dangoor family, Vice-Chancellors and Principals, and David Lammy MP, Minister of State for Higher Education and Intellectual Property.

Mario Creatura, who graduated from the Department of Classics this summer, benefited from the previous scheme and spoke at the event about the difference it had made to his life. He said, “Naim Dangoor is an amazing man and thanks to his generosity I was able to be more financially comfortable at university and spend less time working to earn money and more time focusing on my studies. I’ve got such fond memories of my time at Royal Holloway. It was my life for four years and it has made me the man I am today.”

Also attending the launch event, Acting Principal Professor Rob Kemp said, "This is a truly generous gift from Naim Dangoor and many talented students will benefit as a result of it."

For more information visit http://www.1994group.ac.uk/dangoor

For information on other bursaries available at Royal Holloway visit http://www.rhul.ac.uk/Prospective-Students/finance/index.html


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