photo of current student Paula Andrea Pena, seated, smiling at camera with campus landscape in the background

Above: Paula Andrea Peña (Conflict, Security and Development 2021)

Challenging the status quo

In 1983, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office created the Chevening Scholarship programme to attract future world leaders and decision-makers to study Masters degrees in the UK. Strengthened by our continual support for scholars, Sussex is now home to a flourishing alumni network of professionals who are creating positive change around the world.

Since its creation, the Chevening scholarship programme has brought over 50,000 professionals from around the world to UK higher education institutions. It was set up to provide exceptional individuals with access to an international network, and to give them the opportunity to experience a new social and cultural life, as well as build a lasting connection to the UK.

Nearly 60,000 students from around the world applied to Chevening in 2021. Thanks to the outstanding work of the Chevening Secretariat and the engagement and goodwill of the 45 university partners and 71 corporate partners, the Chevening programme welcomed 1,700 social leaders, scientists and entrepreneurs to the UK at the start of the 2021-22 academic year.

The Chevening Scholarship was a life changer. Twenty-five years ago, my aspirations for a Masters degree were met with stark realities as neither my meagre salary nor my single mother's pension could afford me that privilege.” Robert Kwame degraft agyarko (CDE 1996)
Lead Advisor of Outbreaks and Epidemics at African Risk Capacity

The programme has become one of the best-known and most prestigious scholarship initiatives around the world and is synonymous with excellence, leadership and change. Furthermore, the Chevening Alumni network includes CEOs, heads of state, philanthropists, activists and social leaders, who play pivotal roles in challenging mainstream views on gender, human rights, poverty and climate change.

A perfect example is Sussex alumnus and Costa Rican President, Carlos Alvarado Quesada (IDS 2008), whose presidential campaign in 2018 called for environmental sustainability and the recognition of same-sex marriage.

In 2016, Sussex deepened its commitment to the programme by becoming one of the 45 partner universities that offer greater levels of financial support to scholars. Since then, our Chevening cohort has grown from 25 students in 2014 to more than 130 students for the University’s anniversary year.

“Every year, the University of Sussex puts in such an enormous effort to ensure Chevening scholars feel welcome and have ample opportunities to meet with their peers,” says Chevening Programme Officer – UK, Sally Hau. “I am sure that this is the reason why the Chevening community at Sussex is one of the largest in the UK!”

“Being awarded a Chevening Scholarship and studying at Sussex happened at an impeccable time in my career,” says Thokozani Kachingwe (IDS 2019). “I was actively looking for opportunities for my professional development that would help me achieve my career aspirations. I am now working with the United Nations Development Programme, which is a career-dream come true!”

The Sussex International Office team works alongside Chevening to deliver the best experience to Chevening students, organising several events throughout the year. These comprise a welcome event, numerous meetups and exclusive opportunities, including a debate on globalisation, technology and inequality hosted by the University of Sussex Business School and an exploratory interview with Institute of Development Studies (IDS) Director Professor Melissa Leach.

Chevening blue logo on white background
“The University puts in such an enormous effort to ensure scholars feel welcome. I am sure this is the reason why the Chevening community at Sussex is one of the largest in the UK!” SALLY HAU
Chevening Programme Officer – UK


The partnership between Chevening and Sussex helps students change the world. As succinctly summarised by Chevening Scholar and former international relations and regional advisor to the vice-presidency of Colombia, Paula Andrea Peña (Conflict, Security and Development 2021) when outlining her current goals: “Studying at the University of Sussex will allow me to create the necessary skills to develop inclusive programmes and policies for Afro-descendant women in Colombian politics, and to propose non-violent solutions to social conflicts that have confronted Colombia for decades.”

Large group of Chevening students kneeling and standing, facing the camera

2021 Chevening scholars gather at their welcome event on campus

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