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Iraqi exile's generosity helps disadvantaged students


Scholarships to the tune of £65,000 will be awarded to talented University of East Anglia freshers next week, courtesy of an exiled Iraqi benefactor.

Sixty-five UEA students will each receive £1000 to support them in their first year of study.

The recipients competed with the most promising students in the country for the scholarships, which are funded by former Iraqi refugee Naim Dangoor. The students will receive their cheques at a special ceremony on campus at 11am on Friday October 21.

Mr Dangoor, 90, announced the £1 million scholarship scheme last December and 1000 UK students with strong academic promise, despite a background of financial of social disadvantage, have since been selected.

Naim Dangoor is an Iraqi Jewish businessman who left Iraq in the 1960s to escape Anti-Semitic persecution when the Ba'ath Party came to power. He fled to England, where he had studied engineering decades earlier, and built a property empire in exile.

Donating 1000 scholarships of £1000 each to thank the country that gave him refuge, he stipulated that the money should help disadvantaged students realise their potential - particularly in the science subjects. He also stipulated that all scholarships should go to students at the 1994 Group of 16 leading research-intensive universities, which includes UEA.

UEA Vice-chancellor Prof David Eastwood is the new chair of the 1994 Group and will hand over the scholarships on Thursday.

He said: ''This is a hugely generous gesture. The university, the 1994 Group, and a thousand students are deeply indebted to the Dangoor family".

Speaking in December at the launch of the scholarships, Mr Dangoor explained: "I promised myself that if I was ever able to help a British university student I would, to assist the native people of the country that welcomed me. But I never dreamt I would be able to make such a big contribution".

Some 360 students applied for the 65 available UEA scholarships and the Dangoor Foundation made the final selection.

The 1994 Group universities are: University of East Anglia Bath, Birkbeck College, London, Durham, Essex, Exeter, Goldsmiths College, London, Lancaster, London School of Economics, Reading, Royal Holloway, London, St Andrews, Surrey, Sussex, Warwick and York.


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