The scholars spent the academic year 2014-15 studying for Masters’ degrees at a range of UK universities. The Chevening award is the UK government’s global scholarship programme offered by the UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office and partner organisations.
In his welcome address the High Commissioner, Paul Arkwright said:
As an important element of Britain’s diplomacy effort, Chevening scholarships are structured to create long lasting positive relationships between the UK and Nigeria. Young professionals with outstanding academic and leadership talents are given the opportunity to study for a one year Master’s degree at any UK university of their choice after which they are required to return to Nigeria to assist in further developing their country.
He added that since the first Chevening award in Nigeria in 1983, more than a thousand Nigerian professionals have benefited from the prestigious scholarship.
The High Commissioner disclosed further that the British High Commission has entered into a first ever local partnership arrangement with LADOL, a Nigerian company, and continues to pursue more local partnership opportunities to enable a greater number of Nigerians benefit from the prestigious scholarship which boasts a global Alumni network of 43,000 members:
Permit me to quickly give a few updates on the state of the Chevening Scholarship Scheme in Nigeria. A total of 45 scholars were sent off to the UK in the 2015-16 cycle, a massive upgrade from the 12 who were selected in 2014-15. In response to this upgrade Nigeria has received the highest number of applications globally, with 3,375 applications for the current 2016-17 cycle.
Our aim is to further increase the scholarships slots available to Nigeria and we hope to achieve this through Chevening local partnerships. This is an arrangement in which Chevening, through the High Commission enters an agreement with a partner organisation to co-fund specific Chevening awards.
He congratulated the 2014-15 awardees on the successful completion of their studies and for being worthy ambassadors for Nigeria during their time in the UK.
In response, one of the scholars, Israel Adekunle Balogun, thanked the British High Commission and Foreign and Commonwealth Office for granting him the award. Israel, the first Chevening Scholar with a disability to come from Nigeria, urged the British High Commission and FCO to extend the opportunity to more people with disabilities, who also have great potential and desires to play influential roles in their country’s future. Israel studied for a Master’s in Public Health in Developing Countries at the prestigious London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). He also received special recognition as a Student Ambassador. Prior to his Chevening award Israel was a Registrar in Community Medicine at the Jos University Teaching Hospital, Jos in central Nigeria and a Medical Officer of Health at the Infectious Disease Hospital Bauchi, north-eastern Nigeria.
Other former Chevening Scholars who were in attendance to welcome the 12 scholars were President of the Chevening Alumni Association of Nigeria, Tom Odemwingie; former Nigerian sports minister, Bola Abdullahi; CEO of Transcorp Hotels, Valentine Ozigbo and Mrs Nkoyo Toyo, of the Cross River State Government.
The Chevening scholarship programme has long been renowned for giving its recipients the opportunity to study in British universities which rank among the best in the world whilst, at the same time, experiencing the best that the UK has to offer.
Applications for those wishing to study in the UK under the Chevening scheme open in August every year.