Scholars welcomed to the UK at Chevening's biggest event yet

1,800 Chevening Scholars were officially welcomed to the UK at an inspirational welcome event hosted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) at ExCeL London

The Orientation Day, the largest event in the Chevening calendar, is an opportunity for all scholars to meet each other for the first time and to start building networks that will last throughout their lives. They are introduced to the FCO, the Chevening Secretariat, and partners, and are made aware of the opportunities available to them in the year to come as well as what is expected of them as the newest members of a global network that’s 33 years old and 44,000-strong.

After an engaging welcome address by David Crellin-Jones, Head of the Scholarships Unit at the FCO, the keynote speakers took the stage in the ExCel auditorium.

Lord Chris Holmes of Richmond MBE, a nine times Paralympic gold medallist, inspired his audience with his personal story about persevering against sudden blindness, tough competition, and about self-imposed pressure to win medals and break world records.

 

Hugh Elliot, Director of Communication for the FCO, spoke about notable Chevening Alumni, the exciting journey ahead, and the expectations for greatness, while Sir Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive of British Council, encouraged scholars to make the most of their visit to the UK. Closing the series of speeches, Harriet Minter, editor of The Guardian’s Women in Leadership section, discussed the importance of connecting on the road to becoming a future leader.

 

In between the keynote speeches, scholars attended one of six interactive breakout sessions themed on their area of study in the UK. After meeting their programme officers, scholars took to the vintage double decker bus in the main hall which provided plenty of photography opportunities. Instagram photos were made special by the specific #Chevening Instagram boards and the #IamChevening place cards were raised by many in celebration of the wonderful year ahead.

 

Michael Scott-Kline, Director of the Chevening Secretariat, said: 

‘Orientation 2015 was the largest event the Chevening Secretariat has put on in its history. Close to 2,000 people – scholars, partners, and those who work behind the scenes to make Chevening happen – played their part in what is an important day in the life of a Chevening Scholar. To many, obtaining a Chevening Scholarship is a dream. Today, being in the same vicinity as all their peers, FCO contacts, and illustrious speakers, the dream of a world class educational experience in the UK would have finally felt like a reality.'

The 2015 Orientation Day is the first of many other events scholars can participate in during their year in the UK. Some of last year's highlights include a trip to Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, a royal day out at Hampton Court Palace, and numerous volunteering opportunities like the Oxfam event, to name a few. 

Applications are now open for 2016/2017 academic year. We are looking for ambitious and academically strong professionals who have displayed leadership potential. If this is you, then start your Chevening application. Applications will close at midday (GMT) on 3 November 2015, so apply now; it could be the best decision you ever make.