Chevening’s alumni association leaders are key ambassadors for the programme and work hard to create strong local networks that benefit their wider communities. From 2-3 June 2020, our alumni group leaders had the opportunity to meet, network and develop their skills at the first ever Chevening Alumni Leadership Conference. Over 100 people joined the conference including group leaders from 40 countries. The programme included webinars, training courses, networking groups and catch up calls. Two alumni share their reflections.

Global connections

Daniele Araujo (2016, Brazil)

One of the best things about being awarded the Chevening Scholarship was the opportunity to get to know a lot of people with different backgrounds and interests. Even though my scholarship ended three years ago, taking part in events like the Chevening Alumni Leadership Conference is an important way of keeping this network alive, sharing good practices with colleagues from all over the world who value this connection as much as I do.

The webinar on Building community online allowed me to understand how the alumni associations from India and Russia are organised, including how they structure their projects and set their goals. It was also interesting to hear from an alumna in St Lucia who is a communications specialist, as she had lots of useful tips for engaging with your audience.

More than ever, the powerful resources that our Chevening network has can make a positive impact in our communities, and the panel on how the Cheveners from Botswana, Colombia and Indonesia have been helping the vulnerable during the pandemic was motivational. Here in Brazil, we are already discussing how to develop projects inspired by the presentation of our colleagues.

The highlight of the conference was the regional networking group, in which I could join my fellows from the Americas and talk about our projects and share experiences. It was really productive to learn a bit more about what they are doing, as we share almost the same challenges.

Adjusting to the new normal

Aung Kyaw Thein (2005, Myanmar)

Attending the Chevening Alumni Leadership Conference last week was very motivational for me, particularly during this COVID-19 pandemic.  Although it was a virtual conference, I felt so involved in the sessions that it became a ‘new normal’.

One of my most valuable learning outcomes is about the different styles of leadership and transition management, which I learned during one of the training courses.  It has been highly beneficial for me to rethink my own style of leadership, and especially how I adapt to change, since Myanmar has a high momentum of political, social and economic transition.

During the training session, we also discussed how countries are responding to COVID-19 using different leadership styles. An authoritarian style seems to work better in managing crisis, however it still requires humanitarian principles to consider the existing structures of the society and the individuals and groups within it. There should always be a consideration of unpredictable consequences and further negative outcomes. Therefore, a suitable leadership style is even more important when managing times of change or crisis.

By attending the conference, I have gained new insights that I can apply in my own leadership for the benefits of my own organisation and wider society. It has changed my personal attitude to become a better person and leader.

Now, I am connected with more like-minded leaders as a global family who are contributing to creating a better society. I am part of a global network that seeks to lead, connect and grow.

To find out more about our network of alumni groups, please visit the map on our website.