Chevening continues to have impact in Riga
Even though there are no Chevening Scholarships in Latvia anymore, the Chevening Alumni community is active and keen to take part in events organised by the British Embassy Riga. This year the embassy planned a couple of events for Chevening Alumni, many of whom are now working for the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the parliament or in the private sector.
There were two networking events in September and March, each one on a different topic. For the first event which was on the UK’s proposals for EU reform, there were two eminent speakers: a Chevening Alumna, Lolita Čigāne, who is a Member of the Latvian Parliament, and researcher Pawel Swidlicki from the Think Tank Open Europe. The event was held in an informal atmosphere with speakers and the participants sitting together in circle. The topic of the second event held in March was Daesh propaganda and ways that we can protect our society from it. In each event there was a Q&A session after the presentations in which Chevening Alumni actively took part.
This year the embassy also tested a new form of engaging Cheveners by involving them in something good for society instead of just inviting them to attend an event. So they invited Chevening Alumni as opinion leaders to participate in public debating. The first initiative was a debate with Chevening Alumni on the problems of the Schengen zone which was very well received and around 60 people came to listen to this very topical issue.
It shows that even if Chevening Awards are no longer offered in a country, there can still be a thriving alumni community of thought leaders, happy to meet, and be involved in all manner of ways.