Funding Boost For Cross Commonwealth Scholarship Fund

£5 million UK contribution to Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarship fund

Damian Hinds

Damian Hinds

More young people will have the chance to benefit from life-changing scholarships allowing them to study at universities across the Commonwealth, thanks to a £5 million boost from the Department for Education.

The Education Secretary has announced the additional investment ahead of an event aimed at helping improve the quality of girls’ education across the Commonwealth.

Commonwealth Foreign Secretaries will attend the launch of the Girls’ Education Campaign to encourage a step-change in the quality of girls’ education globally, as part of this week’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London and Windsor. It is the largest summit of its kind in UK history and a truly global event with young people at its centre.

This investment follows the Education Secretary’s appearance at the Youth Forum earlier this week where HRH Prince Harry, in his first speech as Commonwealth Youth Ambassador, announced the £13.4 million fund was being renamed the “Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarships” in honour of HM The Queen.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:

For young people across the Commonwealth, sharing in this partnership presents a unique opportunity to learn about other cultures. It also gives us the chance to share learning from our respective education systems and to draw inspiration from across the globe, so that every child gets the education they deserve.

This investment builds on this celebrated relationship by offering even more young people around the world the opportunity to further their education at a Commonwealth university abroad.

Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarships will provide life-changing experiences for young leaders with the energy and talent to make a difference in their home countries and beyond. The scheme, which is managed by the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), will offer study opportunities not previously available and widen collaboration across the Commonwealth.

The UK’s £5 million contribution to the fund, which will increase the total to £13.4 million, will mean that an additional 150 students can benefit from a Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarship by 2025. While the fund is open to recipients from all Commonwealth countries, the new £5 million contribution announced today will be targeted at students from countries that are eligible for overseas development assistance (ODA) and who are looking to further their studies at leading universities in low and middle income countries.

The first Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholars will begin their studies in 2019, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the Commonwealth and the 60th anniversary of the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan.

Dr Joanna Newman, Chief Executive and Secretary General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities said:

Scholarships have a transformational impact on the lives of individuals and also, more importantly, on their wider communities and societies, thanks to the skills and knowledge gained. I am delighted that the ACU will play a vital role in securing these educational opportunities for young people across all member countries.

The Queen’s Birthday Party 2018 In Kosovo

HM Ambassador, Ruairí O'Connell's speech during the Queen's Birthday Party

The Queen's Birthday Party 2018 in Kosovo

The Queen’s Birthday Party 2018 in Kosovo

Mister President, Mister Speaker, Mister Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Ministers, Ministers, Mayors, MPs, Generals, Professors, Journalists, Leaders of Business, Friends

It is really so wonderful to see you all here tonight. Thank you for joining us to celebrate the 92nd Birthday of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Second.

The reign of our Queen has marked a remarkable period of change and development. She has seen Britain transform and grow for over 60 years. Throughout all these momentous changes, she has been a symbol, and a source, of stability and perseverance, an example of public duty.

Britain too has seen great changes, as has Kosovo. Tonight, we celebrate not just the Birthday of our Queen, but also the 10th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Kosovo and the UK. 10 years ago we launched a new phase of our relationship. It is a source of pride that we were the first country to recognise Kosovo, and to establish diplomatic relations. It is a source of personal pride that I was there to witness – and in my own modest way, help – the birth of Kosovo as Europe’s Newborn country.

Today we are celebrating a relationship that has blossomed over ten short years. When I think of the relationship, I think not just of our diplomatic relations, the founding documents of which are on display here tonight. I think also about the support the UK Government has given to Kosovo in that time, to help build a better Kosovo for all. I think about our growing co-operation against crime, where Kosovo is now helping us catch criminals who threaten us both. I think about the growing co-operation between the Kosovo Security Force and the British Armed Forces; we have trained your officers and other ranks for ten years, but as I speak here tonight, a Kosovo Security Force officer, Ismail Hoxha, is training British soldiers in the United Kingdom. I think about the protection that the British Army has given to Kosovo through KFOR, but also think about the extraordinary act of bravery of Dervish Gashi, a former KLA member, who saved many lives during a terrorist attack in London. I recall the ceaseless diplomatic lobbying that the UK has done to integrate internationally, but I also recall the solidarity Kosovo has shown to the United Kingdom, joining the fight against ISIS and speaking out against the awful chemical attack in Salisbury.

Altogether – I see a relationship that is becoming a true partnership.

Finally, remembering that no-one has ever been criticised for speaking too short, I would like to thank our Diamond Sponsors for this evening, and all our other sponsors who have made this celebration, and the Brit Talks earlier today, possible. Your enthusiasm to get involved shows the strength of the relationship between the UK and Kosovo! I want to thank my team, who have worked tirelessly for weeks to pull this huge event together. I want to thank my wife Elida and my family for all the support they give us. And I want to thank everyone here for being a living part of the relationship between Kosovo and Britain. Here’s to the next ten years!

Now finally, I would like to propose a toast on behalf of the British Government to the President and the people of Kosovo. Here’s to your health!

Boris Johnson Hosts Foreign Minister Moyo For Roundtable Talks

Historic meeting ushers in a new era in UK-Zimbabwe relations

Boris Johnson hosts Foreign Minister Moyo for roundtable talks

Boris Johnson hosts Foreign Minister Moyo for roundtable talks

In the margins of CHOGM Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson welcomed his Zimbabwean counterpart Foreign (and Trade) Minister Sibusiso Moyo to London for a roundtable with other international partners.

The historic meeting ushers in a new era in UK-Zimbabwe relations and symbolises Zimbabwe’s commitment to engaging meaningfully with the international community.

The Foreign Secretary said:

President Mnangagwa has been in power for 150 days and while Zimbabwe has made impressive progress, there’s still much to do.

That’s why Britain, the Commonwealth and the wider international community will do everything it can in supporting Zimbabwe on its path of reform.

But we must remember democracies are not made in a day.

July’s election will be a bellwether for the direction of a new Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwe Government must deliver the free and fair elections the people of Zimbabwe deserve and which it has promised. The UK stands ready in friendship to support a Zimbabwe that fully embraces the rule of law, human rights and economic reform.

There is a great deal of interest in Zimbabwe applying to rejoin the Commonwealth after their election in July. Applying is a matter for the Zimbabwean people to decide. Zimbabwe would have to formally apply to the Commonwealth Secretariat and the final decision would then be for all Commonwealth members. However, the UK would strongly support Zimbabwe’s re-entry and a new Zimbabwe that is committed to political and economic reform that works for all its people.

Today’s meeting reinstated the commitment of the British government to the people of Zimbabwe. The UK currently provides £91m in bilateral UK aid to the people of Zimbabwe in 2017/18. This includes the further £5 million the Minister for Africa, Harriett Baldwin announced to support free and fair elections during her visit in February.

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