Posted Tuesday 12 September 2023
A postgraduate law student has been awarded a Kingston University scholarship set up in memory of Niloufar Ebrahim, one of 176 passengers and crew who lost their lives when a Ukraine International Airlines flight was shot down in Iran three years ago.
This year's scholarship recipient is 23-year-old Minahil Zubair from Pakistan, who is completing a Master's in Law to help fulfil her ambition to make women's voices heard in the eyes of legislators in her home country.
Kingston University student Niloufar and her husband Saeed Tahmasebi Khademasadi were among those who were killed when flight PS752 was shot down by IRGC surface-to-air missiles shortly after taking off from Tehran, Iran on 8 January 2020. To continue Niloufar's legacy and remember all the victims of the flight, the University launched a scholarship in partnership with her family.
Minahil said she had been overjoyed to learn of her scholarship success. "I really wrote from the heart in my application. I was so happy when I was offered this scholarship as I admire everything Niloufar Ebrahim achieved and stood for throughout her life and really want to uphold her values during my career. I want to dedicate this achievement to my family, especially my father and husband."
Minahil's many accomplishments include working with the Pakistan Youth Parliament, SEEK-NPO and Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital, Lahore during her undergraduate studies and organising a fundraising campaign for a friend with a rare genetic disorder so she could access the medicine she needed. She also gained additional legal experience interning in Pakistan for two years in civil, criminal and family law. Human rights law, however, is her true passion and the reason Minahil is continuing to pursue her studies in the UK. Her academic standing is elevated by her role as a legal research assistant to Ph.D. scholar Dr. Rehana Yasim Anjum.
Niloufar's sister, Navaz Ebrahim, who was involved in selecting this year's scholarship winner, was impressed with Minahil's aspirations to become a human rights champion. "Minahil's passion for providing exceptional advocacy and pro bono services to those in need is inspiring, especially since we have first-hand experience as a family of victims," she said. "We deeply understand the importance of advocacy work and know how valuable it is to fight for human rights and justice." Minahil's passion would continue her sister's legacy of caring for others, Navaz added, and the family could not wait to see how the budding lawyer thrived in her Kingston University studies.
Last year's scholarship holder, Maria Sweiss, from Jordan, used the additional support to complete an MSc in Clinical Applications of Psychology at the University. "The scholarship meant I could make the most of my education and I definitely feel more prepared for the next step in my career as a result," she said. "I met many amazing peers and mentors during my studies who have left their mark and supported me greatly. I would not have had the chance to experience all of this without the scholarship in memory of Niloufar and the continuous support from the Ebrahim family. I am eternally grateful for this opportunity and hope to go on to make an impact in my field after graduating."
Niloufar was just 34 when her life was cut short, three weeks after celebrating her wedding with Saeed in Lahijan, Iran. At the time, the couple had been returning to London to start their lives together and Niloufar was preparing to attend her Kingston University graduation ceremony after completing an MSc in Occupational and Business Psychology.