Chevening Alumni across the years gather in London

23 Mar 2018

Chevening is a strong community of innovative thinkers, world-leading experts, and genuinely interesting people. The global diversity of Chevening is one of the things which makes the network so attractive. UK embassies and high commissions often hold events within countries for alumni living there, however these rarely reach their alumni living elsewhere in the world.

Here in the UK, we are uniquely positioned as the administrative hub of the Chevening network. Although Cheveners must return to their country following their scholarship, and make use of what they have learnt to benefit their country, some Cheveners find themselves back in the UK after some time for various reasons. As a result, the UK is home to Chevening Alumni from all over the world, making a global difference in fields as diverse as finance, information analysis, health, transport and the arts. Despite our fantastic network of alumni here in the UK, before this year there had never been a large-scale alumni event in the UK. On 9 March 2018, this oversight was righted with the first formal UK-based alumni reception.

This reception was held at the majestic Drapers’ Hall, a beautiful building in the city of London. Rich with British history, the building was bought by the Drapers from King Henry VIII in 1543. The venue fitted this momentous occasion in Chevening’s history perfectly. Over 80 alumni attended, travelling from all over the UK and bringing with them a high level of enthusiasm for Chevening and the network.

The Director of the Chevening Secretariat, Ms Anne Marie Graham, and the new Head of Scholarships at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Mr Ben Coates, both spoke about the value of the network, and the importance of active involvement by alumni, especially in this the 35th year of Chevening’s existence. Ms Angela Tang, on behalf of the event’s co-hosts, the Chevening Alumni Alliance, explained how the group were creating sector-based networking arenas for alumni and encouraged those in the room to join. Ms Patricia Gomez, represented the Mexican Chevening Alumni Association, giving attendees a taste of what can be achieved when alumni gather together as a group.

The event was also graced by three distinguished alumni – Vietnam’s Ambassador to the UK, HE Mr Ngoc An Tran; Indonesia’s Ambassador to the UK, HE Dr Rizal Sukma; and Minister Ma Hui from the People’s Republic of China’s Embassy in the UK.

New connections were made at this event as people exchanged business cards, contact number and social media profiles – as well as adding each other on Chevening Connect! Alumni also discussed with staff ways they could support Chevening more within the UK, and strengthen their bonds with the programme.

The event was a huge boost to the staff and alumni alike, with renewed commitment to join forces to improve, develop and sustain Chevening as it moves into the future.