Public service and civic society

Roger Wilkins AO

Former President of the Financial Action Taskforce (FATF), Australia

Now retired from the public sector after a long and distinguished career as a senior public official, Roger Wilkins was a recipient of a Chevening Scholarship to study Law at the University of Oxford. He was Vice-President, then President of the FATF between 2013 and 2015. Before that, he was Secretary of the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department in Australia, Director-General of the Cabinet Office in New South Wales from 1992-2006 and Director-General of the Ministry of Arts in New South Wales from 2001-2006. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2007 for service to public administration.

Chevening was a game-changer for me

Dr Saundarya Rajesh

Founder - President, AVTAR Group, India

Social entrepreneur Dr Saundarya Rajesh was selected in January 2016 by the Government of India as one of the #100Women Achievers in India for her ground-breaking initiative, AVTAR.

Saundarya was awarded a Chevening Scholarship in 2005 to study a course on Women in Leadership at the University of Bradford. Prior to Chevening, she had co-founded AVTAR Career Creators, a recruitment firm with a focus on helping women return to work after a career break. She was inspired by her time in the UK to do more and in 2008 founded the AVTAR Human Capital Trust. It works with underprivileged women and children in skill-building to ensure economic sustainability.

She has published several journal articles on the topics of Gender Diversity, Women’s Workforce Participation and Flexible Working. In addition to her most recent recognition, she has won numerous awards including the SCOPE Women Exemplar award in 2006, the FCCI FLO Women Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2012 and the Naturals Extraordinary Woman award in 2014. 

Kristina Hadji-Vasileva

Co-owner and Executive Director, Strategic Development Consulting, Republic of Macedonia

Kristina Hadji-Vasileva has fifteen years of experience in the development and civil sector. She studied at the University of Greenwich through a Chevening Scholarship and graduated with an MA in Gender and Ethnic Studies. She has established the Strategic Development Consulting Company which is 100% female-owned and managed. Kristina’s expertise is focused on the areas of gender equality, local government reform and decentralisation, and civil society development. Kristina is also one of the founders of the Macedonian Chevening Alumni Association (MCAA) and was its first president.

Sonia Boddie

Foreign Service Officer, St. Kitts and Nevis

Sonia Boddie was a Chevening Scholar (2011) at the University of Birmingham, where she completed a Master's of Public Administration. In 2013, she was appointed as the CARICOM Youth Ambassador for St.Kitts and Nevis for two years, and founded the Sonia Boddie Promising Youth Leader Scholarship in 2014. She is also a member of the UNESCO Youth for Human Rights Committee in her country, and is the Leader of the St.Kitts-Nevis Chevening Alumni Group.

Deus Msipotwa Kibamba

Executive Director of the Tanzania Citizens’ Information Bureau (TCIB) and Lecturer at the Tanzania- Mozambique Centre for Foreign Relations, Tanzania

Deus Kibamba was a Chevening Scholar (2001) and graduated with an MSc in International Studies from the University of Sheffield. Deus is a trained social policy analyst with over 15 years of experience in civil society activism, advocacy, capacity building and government engagement. He was formerly Head of Governance and Capacity Building at the Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF), as well as Chairman of the Tanzania Constitution Forum. Deus previously served on the board of the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) and currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Tanzania Human Rights Fountain, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, and Action Aid International. Deus also lectures and makes weekly contributions to Mwananchi and The Citizen newspapers.

Alice Thomas-Roberts

Personal and Professional Trainer, Facilitator and Coach, Grenada

Alice Thomas-Roberts completed the University of Oxford’s prestigious Foreign Service Programme in 1992 through a Chevening Scholarship. With this foundation in diplomacy, protocol and etiquette, Alice carved out an illustrious career as a Foreign Service Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Grenada, working both in the Political and Economic Affairs Division, as well as the Protocol and Consular Division.

Her experience and desire to enlighten others on the subject of Protocol and Etiquette led her to host workshops and to publish two books on the subject, with a third near publication. She also actively runs a website, and has Facebook and Twitter accounts dedicated to sharing her knowledge. In her spare time she also contributes to the continued success of Chevening in Grenada and the Eastern Caribbean as the group leader for Grenada Chevening Alumni.

Cristina Marochi

Adviser, Investment Attraction Department, Parana State Development Agency, Brazil

Cristina has worked in both the public sector and in international development, having been a consultant and programme coordinator for UNDP for six years. With the help of a Chevening Scholarship, she studied for her MSc in Governance and Development Management at the University of Birmingham. She is very active in the Brazil Chevening Alumni network and will be the first Chevening Regional Ambassador for the south region.

Subindra Bogati

Founder / Chief Executive, Nepal Peacebuilding Initiative, Nepal

Subindra Bogati is the Founder of the Nepal Peacebuilding Initiative, an organisation devoted to action on peacebuilding and humanitarian issues. He has developed and managed numerous research advocacy and intervention projects relating to peacebuilding, security and social cohesion in Nepal. He was awarded a Chevening Fellowship in 2008/2009 to study a course on Security and Diplomacy at the University of Birmingham.

Currently, Subindra is a lead researcher of the project “Innovations in Peacebuilding: International Norms and Local Dynamics in Conflict-Affected Countries” which is funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. He is also a leader of the study for the Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities (CDAC) Network looking at what added value and outcome certain initiatives have had for people affected by the Nepal earthquake. The outcomes of the study will be hugely important to see how specific initiatives do and can support recovery from the perspectives of affected communities.



Gosia Pearson

Assistant to the Director-General at the European Commission / Research Associate at Oxford University, Poland

Gosia Pearson is Assistant to the Director-General at the European Commission within the Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection. Besides her full-time job, Gosia works as a Research Associate at the Faculty of Law at the University of Oxford. Gosia was awarded a Chevening Scholarship to do one year of PhD research in international relations at St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford. She was selected to the EU Diplomatic Programme and the Talent Pool Programme of the Women in Leadership Network, and was named a Young Professional Leader by the German Marshall Fund. Gosia also worked in the European Union External Action Service where she was involved in human rights policy-making. Most recently, Gosia was responsible for organising the EU’s participation in the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit where she represented the EU.

Colonel Pekka Holopainen

Executive Director at Oak Cluster League for War Veterans' Heritage, Finland

Colonel Pekka Holopainen was awarded a Chevening Scholarship in 1995 to study Defence and Security Analysis at Lancaster University. After his scholarship ended, he joined the Finnish Defence Forces as Battalion Commander. During his spectacular 35-year career in the Finnish Defence Forces, Colonel Holopainen was appointed to various leading roles such as Head of the Force Capability Unit of the European Union Military Staff department at the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union, Chief J9 at the HQ Kosovo Force, and Deputy Chief Military Observer and Deputy Head of Mission at the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan. His awards include the Commander of the Order of the Lion of Finland, Freedom Cross 2nd Class, and the Medal of Military Merit as well as Commander of the Order of the Eagle of Estonia.

Colonel Holopainen  is now the Executive Director at Oak Cluster League for War Veterans' Heritage (OCLWVH), an association fostering camaraderie amongst Finnish war veterans and promoting their legacy, while recognising the value and celebrating the tradition of military service.

Andreja Bogdanovski

Researcher at Analytica and Security Analyst, Macedonia

Andreja Bogdanovski is a King's College London graduate with more than seven years of work experience in the think tank world, providing research and policy solutions to challenges affecting stability and security in Macedonia and the Balkans. Security sector reforms covering police, army, and intelligence has been his focus area over the years, including control and oversight, policy planning and management, and EU/NATO integrations. Apart from the policy and academic segments, Andreja also has experience as a political and security risks consultant for Macedonia and the Balkans.


The education I got through the Chevening scholarship particularly helped me to get selected for internationally competitive assignments

Ilina Mangova

Country Director Macedonia, International Republican Institute, Macedonia

Ilina holds an MSc in Comparative Politics (Democracy) from the London School of Economics and Political Science, which she completed through a Chevening Scholarship. She does research and has published numerous articles, policy papers, and research analysis on issues of governance and politics in the Balkans. In addition to her role as director of IRI’s program in Macedonia, Ilina is a Macedonia research coordinator for the international scientific project Varieties of Democracy, and a researcher on the INFORM, Horizon 2020 project led by University College London.