(Transcript of the speech, exactly as it was delivered)
Dear friends and colleagues,
It is a pleasure to be here with you this evening and open this event on innovation. When thinking about what I am going to say tonight, I decided to focus on two things: what Chevening is, and what it means to be a Chevening scholar.
As most of you know, in the past two decades Chevening has provided scholarships to Montenegrin students to study for master’s degree at prestigious universities in the UK. Chevening has helped create leaders in many sectors, such as politics, civil society, banking, research and policy development, creative industries, international relations and law. Our alumni include prominent figures from all of these fields. Through the Embassy, we also have worked with some of our past Chevening scholars in Montenegro on a number of different projects and initiatives and I have to say, I am very proud to be collaborating with these amazing people. There is no greater return on investment than education. And Chevening represents the best investment there is.
The event this evening will focus on innovation. Innovation, but also on inspiration. And I do hope what you hear from our guest Chevening scholars this evening will inspire you to take action. The time is right. This country is ready. It is waiting for you to come up with new ideas and put them into practice. But of course, your job is not only to implement your ideas, it is also to inspire others around you, to motivate others to use their own talents and do their best. This is only a small part of what it truly means to lead. But to lead is to inspire. And that’s what Chevening scholars are all about.
I have two messages to past and future Chevening scholars who are with us this evening. Of course, the current ones are studying hard in the UK!
One, a message to those past Chevening scholars with us this evening. You know very well how important Chevening is, so please, spread the word to others, who have the potential to be leaders, or are already leaders in some respect or other and could become part of our network, part of our family. By becoming a Chevening scholar you get the chance to become part of a global network of over 46,000 leaders, an extensive and excellent network of people. That’s roughly the same population as population of Bijelo Polje!
And here, I would like to extend a special welcome to our Chevening scholars from Columbia and India who will be providing us with some inspirational food for thought this evening.
Two, a message to those who have just applied for a Chevening scholarship and are here tonight, I wish you the best of luck and hope to see all of you in our Chevening family.
Allow me to quote Njegoš here and say “Ko na brdo, ak i malo stoji, više vidi no onaj pod brdom” (Who on the mountain height doth take his stand, Sees more than he who stays upon the plain). Welcome to our mountain!
Before I give the floor to Mr Filipovic and Ms Mandic, I would like to say how much we appreciate the work the UK Alumni Association has put into making this event happen. Both I and Chevening secretariat are delighted at progress you have made in promoting the Chevening brand here in Montenegro. Thanks to your efforts we are increasing number of scholars every year.
So, enjoy the evening and take home some inspiration.