On Saturday 17 October, I participated as a panel member at the Chevening Orientation Conference 2015 at the Excel Conference Centre in London Docklands. The Excel Centre is vast and has 2 stops on the Docklands Light Railway – one each for the East and West entrances. The scale of the event required such an enormous venue, with over 1,800 participants from over 150 countries coming to the UK on Chevening scholarships and fellowships.
Chevening is the UK government’s international awards scheme aimed at developing global leaders. It offers a unique opportunity for future leaders, influencers, and decision-makers from all over the world to develop professionally and academically, network, experience UK culture, and build lasting positive relationships with the UK. As such it is a key component of the UK’s global engagement.
Scholarships are awarded to outstanding scholars with leadership potential. Awards are typically for a one-year Master’s degree at universities across the UK. There are over 43,000 Chevening alumni around the world who together comprise an influential and highly regarded global network. The University of Edinburgh is already a very enthusiastic supporter of the Chevening programme, and we are looking forward to expanding our involvement in the years to come.
From the point of view of the Centre for Cultural Relations, it was a pleasure to be able to talk about our work, on the media and culture panel, at such a significant event. Over 200 people more than filled a large room, and asked searching questions about a wide range of subjects, but most interest was in social media on the one hand and restitution of cultural heritage on the other.