Ali Tareen wants to help deserving students from South Punjab dream big through an Oxford University scholarship
Ali Khan Tareen has launched a scholarship for graduate students from South Punjab to study at his alma mater, the University of Oxford, giving deserving students the opportunity to study at one of the world’s premier universities.
The young businessman, who is also the son of former PTI leader and business mogul Jahangir Khan Tareen, announced the scholarship last week.
According to Oxford Pakistan Programme, through which the scholarship will be awarded, it is designed to support “deserving Pakistani scholars from South Punjab and increase their representation at the University of Oxford”. The scholarship will be established as a five-year programme, with funds being donated annually and being disbursed on a rolling basis.
The Tareen Oxford Scholarship is available for all graduate courses offered at Kellogg College, Oxford, which is where Ali studied.
While sharing the news on Twitter, he said, “Impoverished areas like South Punjab need bright, young leaders to bring change to the region. And that is the reason we have started the Tareen Oxford Scholarship.”
Images reached out to Ali to talk about this great new opportunity for Pakistani students. “Having worked in the education sector in South Punjab for over a decade, I have seen first hand how bright and talented the kids (even those from the most impoverished areas) are, and the potential they demonstrate when given the right kind of opportunities. Students from under-served areas need this kind of opportunity so they can discover themselves and the world around them,” Ali told us.
And to give them that opportunity, he has partnered with OPP, which he described as a “wonderful organisation with some amazing people who are truly dedicated to increasing representation of Pakistan students at Oxford”. He gave a special thanks to Talha Pirzada for being the driving force of this scholarship.
“I was first introduced to the OPP through my friend and fellow Oxford alumni, Malala Yousafzai. She started a scholarship for female students last year through the OPP. It was then Malala’s husband who has previously worked with NGOs in South Punjab who encouraged me to start a scholarship for students from South Punjab.”
Malala is one of many donors who make the OPP scholarships possible. In total, including Malala and Ali, there are 11 donors who provide funding for Pakistani or British Pakistani students looking to study at Oxford through OPP.
“I hope this scholarship helps put the people and the region of South Punjab on the map,” said Ali. “This area has been neglected for far too long on a political and economic front, despite the fact that the land and the locals are brimming with potential. Like my other initiatives in the region, I want South Punjab to be recognised for all it has to offer.”
He said the scholarship will “not only allow deserving students to dream and achieve big things, the education and experience at Oxford will best prepare them to do better and give back to their region too.”
While applying, each applicant will be asked to mention how they plan on giving back to the region. We were curious to learn about the kinds of responses Ali is hoping to see — political, economic or perhaps environmental.
“I think all three categories are intrinsically related and equally important; one won’t necessarily get more weightage over the other. The important thing is for the response to demonstrate passion and understanding of the regions weaknesses as well as strengths — and to provide tangible ideas, big or small, for doing more and doing better in South Punjab.”
Now, when we think of Ali Tareen, there is one thing that immediately comes to mind — cricket. The entrepreneur has already started a cricket team for South Punjab and now he’s set up a scholarship for students from the region. That’s quite a diverse set of accomplishments. We were interested to learn how important he believe acts like this are and what he plans to do next.
“I’m just trying to create platforms to accommodate and highlight the skill and talent that already exists in South Punjab, whether that’s in the form of education, business or sports,” Ali explained. “I think investing in, and building on, your existing infrastructure and capacities is essential and the only way forward to being a successful and independent nation.”
His future plans aren’t set in stone just yet. “I’m not sure what I’ll do next — the ideas and opportunities usually stem from things I feel passionately about such as education equality and sports development — but as a proud feminist and GirlDad, I hope I am able to support and create more opportunities for women IA.”
There’s a lot of lip service on social media in general when it comes to doing something for our country and seeing someone actually make tangible efforts to help our people is heartening.