Chevening Fellows dine at the heart of British democracy

Chevening Fellows from six different fellowship programmes were invited to a special evening of networking at the second annual Chevening Fellowships Dinner which took place at the House of Commons and was hosted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

Fellows from India, China, Brazil, and Sri Lanka were joined at the dinner by staff from their host universities, the FCO, Chevening Partners, and the Chevening Secretariat.

Welcoming the fellows to the historic venue which lies on the north bank of the River Thames, Dr Emma Hennessey, Head of Science and Innovation in the FCO’s Economic Diplomacy Directorate, emphasised that the key objective of the Chevening Fellowships programme was to reach out to leaders across various fields and help them develop their careers whilst building lasting links between their home countries and the UK.

The event, which consisted of a networking reception followed by a three-course dinner, succeeded in providing a unique space and opportunity for fellows to interact with their peers and colleagues from across the Chevening network.

Addressing his peers and those who had brought them together, Nitin Gandhi, a CRISP Fellow at the University of Oxford, made an impromptu impassioned speech in which he thanked Chevening for the chance to build networks in – and bridges with – the UK:

‘I’d just like to take a moment on behalf of everybody to thank Chevening for such a wonderful opportunity,’ he said. ‘I think all of us would agree that every day that we’re here is an opportunity of a lifetime for us that we’re really going to cherish.’

Following dinner, Andrew McHallam, Head of Scholarships at the FCO, concluded the evening by relaying his experience of the night and his hopes for the future:

‘The conversations I’ve had tonight with fellows from different countries and programmes have inspired me. The value, enthusiasm, and the sheer inspiration that you all provide as a result of these fellowships is absolutely inspiring. I’ve been fascinated to hear from your experiences, fascinated to hear what in your careers has brought you to Britain, and what you plan to do when you return.’

The Chevening Fellowships programme brings international leaders and those with strong expertise in their fields to the UK to acquire new skills, build their networks, and collaborate on research. The dinner was planned to coincide with approximately 45 fellows across six different programmes being in the UK at the same time during a short window in April following the recent arrival of 14 CRISP Fellows.

The Chevening Fellowships Dinner was inaugurated in 2015, when 45 fellows from six programmes attended.