British Embassy Bids Farewell to Latest Chevening Scholars

British Ambassador Justin McKenzie Smith this week hosted a reception to bid farewell to Georgian scholars selected for scholarships provided by the Chevening program for the 2017-2018 academic year who will be flying off to continue their education in leading UK Universities.

Chevening is the UK Government’s international awards scheme aimed at developing global leaders. Funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and partner organizations, it offers a unique opportunity for future leaders and influencers from around the globe to develop professionally and academically, network extensively, experience UK culture, and build lasting positive relationships with the UK.

The annual event at the British Embassy celebrated the Chevening scheme which has been operating in Georgia for almost 25 years and has so far offered one-year fully funded scholarships to almost 250 Georgian professionals, many of whom are in leadership positions in Georgia today.

The Ambassador began by congratulating the winning applicants to the program. “The program began 25 years ago, and since then, almost 250 students have been sent from Georgia to study through the Chevening program. This event is one of the highlights of the British Embassy’s calendar: saying farewell to the brilliant Chevening scholars and welcoming back many of our friends who have studied in the UK. This year, we are sending 14 scholars to various universities around the UK, including in London, Birmingham, Belfast, and Kingston. It takes a lot of work and resources to do so and I would like to offer our very special thanks to the Bank of Georgia and BGEO Group for their continued support of three Chevening scholarships. A second ‘thank you’ goes to the Lord Mayor of the City of London, who has agreed that for the first time since 2003, he will award a Mansion House scholarship for study in the financial sector”.

He then encouraged past beneficiaries to give their own ideas and recommendations to help the system bloom, and guests to spread the word on the great opportunity the Chevening scheme offers.

“We joined the scholarship scheme four years ago; at the beginning of every September since, sending the best minds of Georgia to the best universities in the UK,” said Kakha Kiknavelidze, CEO at Bank of Georgia. “Bank of Georgia and BGEO are proud to do so and see education as the most important part of our Social Responsibility and a key factor in the development of this country. Bank of Georgia is committed to the future of this program,” he said.

Irina Surmanidze, who worked in the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports of Adjara as the Head of the Culture Department, is one of the lucky 14 who will be sent to study for a year in the UK.

“I felt I needed an upgrade on my academic education,” she told GEORGIA TODAY. “I wanted to learn new skills in the direction of culture and entrepreneurship and applied to Goldsmiths University of London”.

Following extensive application processes and interviews, Surmanidze was offered a Chevening Scholarship and says she feels “excited, happy, and proud” and is “looking forward to new adventures during this upcoming fruitful year”.

The Embassy event was attended by Chevening alumni, government officials, civil society and members of the business community.

Applications for the Chevening program 2018-2019 academic year close on November 7.

Katie Ruth Davies

07 September 2017 18:56