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Future global leaders celebrate their time at UEA

Chevening Scholars with VC Prof David Richardson

Twenty-nine University of East Anglia (UEA) students from 22 countries, ranging from Bhutan to the Solomon Islands and Kazakhstan to Cuba, have marked the end of their year as Chevening Scholars and are returning home to take their places as future influencers and decision-makers in their communities.

The students number among the 60,000 applicants for 2,000 UK scholarship places annually, funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, who are selected by the British Embassies and High Commissions in their home country to participate in the scheme, which is aimed at developing future global leaders.

“The students come from a wide range of backgrounds, but what they have in common is the desire and the potential to make a difference,” said UEA Vice-Chancellor Prof David Richardson at a dinner held in their honour. “Chevening is one of the greatest success stories of the higher education sector’s international policy and the need for successful global partnerships has never been greater.

“We’re immensely proud of our Chevening Scholars and aim to equip each one with the skills and knowledge to make an immediate impact in their home community. We also hope that they will take their experiences of living and studying in Norwich with them.”

Many former UEA Chevening students have already achieved notable roles. For example, award-winning Kenyan writer Kenneth Binyavanga Wainaina graduated with an MPhil in Creative Writing in 2010 and in April 2014 was named by “Time” magazine’s annual TIME 100 as one of the "Most Influential People in the World", and Mongolian diplomat Gunaajav Batjargal has been the country’s ambassador to Austria since 2013, having graduated from Moscow State Institute of International Relations before coming to UEA as a Chevening Scholar.

This year’s graduates are no less ambitious. Ryan Hoppie from Guyana, South America, has completed a Master’s in International Social Development. As the founder of the Come Alive Network, a not-for-profit organisation with the vision of unleashing young people’s potential, being a Chevening Scholar at UEA has equipped him to make an even greater impact.

“I am now more connected and ready to contribute more meaningfully to international development,” he said. “Chevening has done what many agencies and governments have failed to do - provide well-rounded opportunities to those who need it the most. They put me in touch with the most prestigious universities and helped me find UEA, which was a perfect fit for me.

“The world is a global village of which Guyana is an integral part. To date, our work has benefited more than 5,000 young people through initiatives such as providing shoes for children who walk miles to get to school, encouraging volunteering, establishing a framework for youth development and preparing young people to be advocates on issues that affect them. Now I am better able to create social change that can alleviate poverty and help people, especially young people, become their best selves.”