Blowing out the candles on our 35th birthday

Blowing out the candles on our 35th birthday

We celebrated being a little bit older and wiser at our annual Farewell event for departing Chevening Scholars at Alexandra Palace last week. 1,800 scholars from 111 countries around the world travelled to north London to celebrate our 35th anniversary. Scholars have spent the year studying, exploring and experiencing life in the UK as part of the programme.

Happy birthday to Chevening, happy birthday to… us! We celebrated being a little bit older and wiser at our annual Farewell event for departing Chevening Scholars at Alexandra Palace last week.

1,800 scholars from 111 countries around the world travelled to north London to celebrate our 35th anniversary. Scholars have spent the year studying, exploring and experiencing life in the UK as part of the programme.

Scholars in Palm Court at Farewell

Scholars in Palm Court at Farewell

Chevening has been bringing exceptional individuals to the UK since 1983. We used this year to celebrate our impact: enabling over 50,000 global leaders to transform their careers, their perspectives, and their relationships with the UK.

Scholars were greeted by the traditional UK sounds of Brass Neck as they arrived at ‘Ally Pally’, London’s Grade II-listed Victorian palace. The July sun shone brightly on scholars as they were reunited with friends they’d met from around the world in the past nine months.

Scholars were joined by Chevening Alumni, staff from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), partner organisations and the Chevening Secretariat.

A warm welcome

Helen Bower-Easton, Director of Communication at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, opened the speeches at Farewell and encouraged scholars: ‘Build on the positive experience you have had here in the UK, and go home and continue to have a positive impact there.’

Entrepreneur Sir Lloyd Dorfman, founder of Travelex, spoke to scholars about his career in business and his belief in internationalism.

Sir Lloyd said: ‘Globalisation is a force for good; our borders are becoming less relevant with the internet and travel opportunities.’

‘The more interaction there is, the more understanding and tolerance there will be.’

Naked diplomacy

The world of international diplomacy was then laid bare on stage by Tom Fletcher CMG, a former British ambassador and author of ‘The Naked Diplomat’. ‘Surviving the 21st century’ was the theme for Tom Fletcher’s presentation. Malaysian scholar and television presenter Dino Omar then joined Tom for a live, on-stage Q&A, asking questions sent in by scholars.

British diplomat Tom Fletcher

British diplomat Tom Fletcher at Chevening Farewell

Chevening Scholars in the audience at Chevening Farewell

Scholars in the audience at Chevening Farewell

Ben Coates, Head of Scholarships at the FCO, then formally ended the 2018/2019 Chevening Relay, inviting Chevening Social Media Ambassadors Brian Osweta (Kenya, Cardiff University) and Kirana Agustina (Indonesia, UCL) to the stage to ‘cross the finish line’ accompanied by the iconic Chariots of Fire theme.

Brian Osweta and Kirana Agustina with the Chevening Relay batons

Brian Osweta and Kirana Agustina with the Chevening Relay batons

The Chevening Relay began at Chevening Orientation, with scholars winning points by visiting 35 specific locations with the baton and taking a photograph. The locations stretched from Cornwall’s Minack Theatre in south-west England to John O’Groats in north-east Scotland, encouraging scholars to explore the country.

Cutting the cake

The day ended with a networking reception on the terrace of Alexandra Palace, providing spectacular panoramic views of London. Scholars were able to walk around a recreated version of the Changemakers: 35 visions of global leadership exhibition which took place in London earlier in the year. The alumni team were also on hand to talk to scholars about joining the global and influential Chevening Alumni network, which has now reached 52,000!

Scholars in traditional clothing

Scholars in traditional clothing

It’s been a great birthday year for Chevening, and we’re pleased that you have been able to play your part in our celebrations.

Farewell gallery

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