Dame Barbara Woodward, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China with the Chevening China Class of 2016/17

Chevening sows the seeds for a Global Partnership that works for all, creating a global community of future leaders that are able to respond to the greatest challenges of our time. 

On Monday 15 January, Dame Barbara Woodward, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, welcomed the Chevening China Class of 2016/17, Chevening Alumni and supporting partners to her Residence in Beijing.

The Chevening Awards Programme is the UK’s most prestigious and impactful international scholarship scheme in China and across the world. Funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and partner organisations, Chevening offers two types of award – Chevening Scholarships and Fellowships – the recipients of which are personally selected by British embassies and high commissions throughout the world.

This year’s Chevening China Awards were supported by the Spirit of Youth campaign. The Spirit of Youth campaign, launched in July 2017, is a UK government initiative aimed at inspiring the next generation of leaders in the UK and China and promoting deeper collaboration and exchange between the emerging leaders of our two countries. The campaign has focused on six key themes, which represent areas of partnership and mutual learning for the UK and China: Culture and Creative, Sport, Tourism, Health, Science and Innovation and Education.

The event celebrated the extraordinary achievements of the Chevening scholars and fellows during their time in the UK, and the wide range of contributions made to the UK-China bilateral relationship during the Golden Era by the alumni community of over 3,500 across China. Returning scholars and fellows were greeted by Ambassador Woodward who presented them each with a certificate, offering personal congratulations and warm wishes for the future.

The ceremony included a number of awards presented to the most outstanding scholars, honouring academic achievements made by a number of 2016/17 Chevening Scholars and Fellows during their time in the UK. Awards for contribution to UK-China collaboration in the Culture and Creative, Sports and Healthcare sectors were presented to 3 Chevening alumni recognising exceptional achievement in their careers.

In her official welcome address, Dame Barbara Woodward, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, said:

The Chevening Programme sows the seeds for a Global Partnership that works for all, creating a global community of future leaders that are able to respond to the greatest challenges of our time.

We hope that you will take with you from your experiences knowledge, friendships and inspiration for the future. For all that you have done and achieved so far, you should be very, very proud.

In 2017, the FCO provided 72 scholarships and fellowships to exceptional Chinese professionals to study at UK higher education institutions, offering a unique opportunity for future leaders and influencers to develop professionally and academically, network extensively, experience UK culture and build lasting positive relationships with the UK.

Chevening supports applications from any candidates across China who demonstrate leadership potential. In 2017/18, Chevening China Scholars from 30 different provinces and municipalities across China were selected to attend postgraduate education at 35 different UK higher education institutions, enhancing understanding and forging links between regions of the UK and China.

During their Final Class Address, returning 2016/17 scholars Mr. Tong Junyi and Ms. Wu Jing shared with the audience their experiences as a Chevening Scholar:

A year in a foreign country is about discovery, and during this year, I discovered what it meant to be a British person. British people are peaceful and gracious, and whatever happens, they really do keep calm and carry on. This is what Chevening allows us to see and experience, and this is what Chevening wants us to know.

In China, we have a proverb – courtesy demands reciprocity. We will dedicate our lives to returning the kindness and trust shown to us, to supporting the UK and China, and to inspire future generations to do the same.

As the Minister responsible for our Chevening Programme, The Rt. Hon. Mark Field MP, Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said:

2018 will be an exciting time for Chevening. The programme celebrates its 35th anniversary and by the end of this year, over 50,000 change-makers will have studied in the UK since it began in 1983.

It is my belief that the bonds created over these years will strengthen further as we work together to promote common values and approach global challenges.

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