UCL alumnus receives acclaimed humanitarian award in memory of Princess Diana

Congratulations to UCL Mathematics alumnus, Zubair Junjunia, who has been awarded The Diana Award for going ’above and beyond to tackle inequalities in education’, with his revolutionary revision platform, ZNotes.

The Diana Award is presented by the charity of the same name and has the support of both the Princess’s sons, The Duke of Cambridge and The Duke of Sussex.

It is one of the highest accolades that a young person can achieve for social action or humanitarian efforts - to create and sustain positive change.

Commenting on his award, Zubair Junjunia said: "It feels surreal to have won the award. To belong to this group of young humanitarian and social leaders is a huge honour but also brings with it a deep sense of duty and responsibility.

"We are each in a place to make a change and with this recognition, we are further empowered to continue working towards our respective goals.

"I have no doubt that, like myself, each of the award winners brings an entire army of supporters and believers who have made it possible to achieve what we have. Such a feeling is difficult to capture in words but it is a combination of elation, humility and pride."

Mr Junjunia attended UCL between 2016 and 2020, where he studied for a master’s degree in Mathematics.

The alumnus founded ZNotes in 2014 as a way to share revision notes after recognising that there was a disparity in the access students from around the world had to resources, advice and support when studying for their exams.

ZNote’s mission is to end educational inequality by providing free access to the highest quality education and empowering young people in becoming global changemakers.

Mr Junjunia, said: "At the age of 16, going into my first set of IGCSE exams, it dawned on me: hundreds of thousands of students across the world will take these exact same exams as me and yet, the access and quality of resources available to each vary so drastically. Some have access to the very best teaching and private tutoring, while others are unable to afford even the basic textbooks.

"So I did what I could: set up a blog to share the resources I’d created for my own revision. Through word of mouth these high-quality and concise revision notes were being discovered by students globally and ZNotes was born.

"Moving forward, we envision working at government and NGO levels to advise and help implement this community-led approach to learning in efforts to develop and support educational systems around the world."

The start-up is now currently in residence at BaseKX, UCL’s dedicated entrepreneurship hub,  which is run by UCL Innovation & Enterprise. It plays host to a community of the university’s most promising start-ups by providing free, tailored support and dedicated office space.

The platform is also thriving with hundreds of contributors, more than three million unique visitors and it has become a go-to resource for students and teachers across the globe. 

Professor David Price, UCL Vice-Provost Research, Innovation & Global Engagement, said: ""We are delighted that a UCL alumnus has received such a prestigious accolade in recognition of their entrepreneurial spirit. ZNotes is a fantastic initiative that is helping to tackle educational inequality by opening up access to educational resources on a much wider scale. For Zubair to have received one of the highest accolades for social and humanitarian activity by young people is testament to the huge difference this project is making to students all over the world. Huge congratulations to him and to all the other recipients."

The Diana Award is the longest running award for young people that is given through a retrospective nomination process only.

To be nominated, young people must be put forward by adults who know them in a professional capacity and who have recognised their efforts as a positive contribution to society.

The nominees impact is then judged in five key areas, including Vision, Social Impact, Inspiring Others, Youth Leadership, and Service Journey.


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