Sunday, October 23, 2005

This moved me

Sitting this morning scanning through Saturday’s weekend section of the Torygraph I came across a half page advert, all text and black and white advertising “1000 DANGOOR SCHOLARSHIPS”. I read on,
“Naim Dangoor came to London as a student from Iraq exactly 70 years ago to study engineering. Although he returned to Iraq after his studies, he promised himself that if one day he had the means to help others enjoy the same benefit, he would do so. Since then, Mr Dangoor and his family settled in this country in the 1960s, so he would also like to give something back to the country which has provided him and his family with welcome, refuge and support.
Mr Dangoor, noting the financial hurdles that British students now have to surmount to go to university, sees the scholarships as offering the opportunity for some of the best students to realise their full potential. He feels that support of this kind can help to transform people’s lives and the life of the country. He hopes that this will act as an example to others who can provide similar support in the way that this already happens elsewhere.”
According to one interview, Dangoor is “an Iraqi Jew with a fascinating life story. His grandfather was the chief rabbi in Baghdad, when the city's population was 40% Jewish and owned 95% of the business. He came to Britain in the 1930s to study engineering at Queen Mary College in London and returned to Iraq to join the army and then set up his business empire. He spent the 1950s running the Coca-Cola franchise in Iraq with a beloved Muslim business partner.
His wife, Renee, was voted Miss Iraq in 1947. He likes to joke that 1947 was the only year that Iraq ever held the competition so, technically, she still holds the record.”

He is also responsible for "The Scribe - Journal of Babylonian Jewry" and a facinating read it is.

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