Nick Maurice, Founder of Building Understanding through International Links for Development (BUILD).
Naz was an exemplary and vital trustee of a charity devoted to bringing together people at community level across the globe through “twinning” partnerships for peace, prosperity and justice. As a Muslim of Pakistani origin working as we were in the field of human relations, and at a time when following the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre, we desperately needed people of integrity, courage and wisdom to steer us, Naz provided all and more than we could have asked for.
Under Naz’s steerage and with his contacts and his support, the membership of UKOWLA rose from 120 community partnerships to 350 in the space of five years.
During his time as a trustee we set up an all-party parliamentary group in Westminster under the chairmanship of Kevin Barron MP and Naz brought a vital authority to the meetings that we held with senior Ministers. These meetings resulted in Government commitment of £10m towards school partnerships between schools in UK and in Africa, Asia and Caribbean, £7m towards international health links between hospitals and medical schools and £3.5m towards community links.
Naz played a particularly important role with his background in education when we were asked in 2004 by the then Secretary of State for Education, Charles Clarke to assist the DFES in their international strategy “Putting the World into World Class Education”. In that policy document it is clearly stated that every school in UK should have an international partner by 2010 – an ambitious target that will not be met! But thanks to the voluntary work of Naz representing UKOWLA and working with consortium partners British Council, VSO and Cambridge Education Foundation, we estimate that some 3,500 primary and secondary schools in UK now have partnerships for mutual learning with counterparts in the developing world.
His wisdom, experience, sensitivity and tenacity were essential to an organization that was encouraging and working with people of different faiths and cultures from UK forming partnerships with communities in Africa, Asia and Caribbean.
Naz took his responsibilities as a trustee extremely seriously and worked tirelessly in preparation for meetings but also gave enormous amounts of his time and advice regularly between meetings.
His skills in diplomacy were vital to the organization which was frequently working with people of contrasting and often entrenched views and of different intellects. His modest and warm style won the hearts of all with whom he came into contact.
His contribution to bringing people together not only internationally but also here in UK was huge. For example he was central to supporting an initiative that brought Christians in the market town of Marlborough and Muslims in Swindon together based on the longstanding 30 year partnership that Marlborough has with the Muslim community of Gunjur in The Gambia. This initiative ultimately enabled the Muslim population of Swindon to gain access to senior people within Education, the Police and Social Services in Wiltshire.