Birkbeck welcomes record number of Chevening Scholars in 2017

A record 19 Chevening Scholarship recipients will attend Birkbeck this year. Hailing from 17 countries, the scholars reflect Birkbeck's international diversity and will study a wide range of subjects, united by a desire to acquire new knowledge to support development in their home countries.

Birkbeck's 2017 Chevening Scholarship winners: Ms Jasmine Parker is pictured third from right.

Birkbeck has welcomed 19 Chevening scholars this year – the highest number ever received at the College – thanks to the UK Government’s international awards scheme aimed at developing global leaders.

With majority funding from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the scholarships enable recipients to study Master's degrees in the UK with a view to addressing economic, social and political issues on their return home.

The students will study a wide range of subjects, including business, management and economics, human rights, youth development and investigative reporting. Collectively, they represent Birkbeck’s diversity, hailing from Afghanistan to Ukraine and Madagascar to Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), where not even two hurricanes could prevent the arrival of the TCI scholar, Jasmine Parker.

As the Director of Youth Affairs in the TCI Government's Ministry of Education, Ms Parker’s work focuses on youth development, democracy, governance at local and national levels, and active citizenship to encourage youth participation in decision-making processes.

She will be studying Children, Youth and International Development at Birkbeck – but said her journey to Birkbeck was almost thwarted by the weather: “TCI experienced Hurricane Irma (Category 5) and Hurricane Maria (Category 4) two weeks apart – it was a tremulous time as there was extensive damage to the islands and communication was down.

“The programme director for my course was very supportive when I emailed to inform them I would be late starting school. Fortunately, in the area that I reside the communication was restored quickly which made it possible for me to be here.”

Ms Parker said her studies will help her to develop policies based on research and evidence: “On my course, there are a lot of discussions on globalisation and how it affects childhood – naturally, Turks and Caicos Islanders face the issues we discuss, even if on a smaller scale.

“What’s important is that studying here will equip me with the knowledge and understanding that will assist me to develop programmes that address local and global issues affecting the youth in TCI.”

This year, Birkbeck continues to benefit from participation in the Chevening Standard Scholarship scheme, while contributing 20% of the fees for the degree programmes. The College also joined the Chevening Partnership scheme that provides five awards with fully-funded fees, enabling Birkbeck to raise its international profile through Chevening's global network. 

Lauren Prone, Head of the International team at Birkbeck said: “We are delighted to welcome such an inspiring and diverse group of scholars to Birkbeck, whose presence will enrich the classroom experience for all students.

“Our partnership with the Chevening Secretariat has afforded Birkbeck the opportunity to play a key role in the development of future leaders, decision-makers and influencers, supporting Britain’s public diplomacy efforts.”

For 2018, the College plans to increase its profile further by extending its engagement in the Partnership Scheme.

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