Speech by ambassador at Chevening's 35th anniversary celebrations in China

Barbara Woodward, British Ambassador to China, gave this speech to the Chevening China Alumni Community at her Beijing Residence in celebration of the 35th anniversary of Chevening.

China celebrates 35 years of Chevening

It is absolutely wonderful to welcome you all in celebration of the 35th Anniversary of the Chevening Programme in China and around the world. Today, we welcome members of the Chevening alumni community, friends and colleagues from across the Embassy to meet one another, share memories and achievements, and to celebrate the successes of the UK government’s flagship scholarship scheme – Chevening.

Last Wednesday, 1,647 scholars from 138 countries including around 70 from China gathered in Alexandra Palace in London to attend the 2017/18 Chevening Farewell Event, having reached the end of their time in the UK as a Chevening Scholar. During this event, it was announced that the global Chevening alumni community has reached quite incredible heights – this year, Chevening welcomes its 50,000th scholar.

Almost 4,000 of these individuals come from China, consisting of passionate individuals who are engaged in world issues, respondent to global challenges, intent on deepening knowledge and understanding between the UK and China, and who contribute towards the future successes and strengthening of our bilateral relationship.

Ambassador Woodward together with Mr. Lu Qinfang – China’s first recipient of the Chevening Scholarship, and families of the Chevening China Alumni Community.
Ambassador Woodward together with Mr. Lu Qinfang – China’s first recipient of the Chevening Scholarship, and families of the Chevening China Alumni Community.

This is a network to treasure and to be proud of, consisting of individuals from every walk of life and region across China. All of you have studied in universities across the United Kingdom. All of you have completed a dissertation. All of you have contributed towards building your own academic communities of thinkers and believers, and all of you continue to contribute to the wider international community of Chevening alumni. All of you are inspiring role models for current and future Chevening scholars and fellows, encouraging them to aspire to the highest levels in their chosen fields. For that, I offer my sincerest and most earnest congratulations and very best wishes for the future.

On August 6, we open applications for the 2019/20 Chevening Scholarship Programme, and on August 24 we celebrate with recently-selected 2018/19 Chevening Scholars before their departure for the UK. For these events and others, we commission your support as recipients of this award, encouraging and empowering exceptional individuals around you to do something special and apply for Chevening.

You will always act as an inspiration for all young people across China, and we welcome your participation in promotional events held all across China. For more information, please speak directly with representatives of our Chevening Team.

Today, it is our hope that all of you will look back on the last three and half decades with warmth and happiness. We hope that you enjoy your time with friends old and new, and share thoughts and ideas inspired by your time as a Chevening Scholar or Fellow. In reflecting your past triumphs, we may enjoy a collective sense of satisfaction for all the good you have done and continue to do, looking firmly towards a bright future for China and for our bilateral relationship during this Golden Era for UK-China relations.

The Chevening Programme continues to sow 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.

I hope that your experience with Chevening has given, and continues to give you, great experiences, wisdom and knowledge, meaningful and lifelong friendships, and inspiration for a wonderful future.

I would like to finish with a poem that was read to scholars during the 2017 Chevening Orientation by Michael Hastings, Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick CBE, Global Head of Citizenship at KPMG.

What is success?

To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate the beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!

More information

Applications for 2019/20 Chevening Scholarships open on 6 August 2018 and close on 6 November 2018. Applicants can be of any background, representative of any sector and from any region across Mainland China. To learn more, visit the Chevening website or contact representatives of the Chevening Team in China by emailing chevening.beijing@fco.gov.uk.

Published 16 July 2018