International scholarships are transformative. The Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarship (QECS) scheme builds international connections across the Commonwealth by enabling scholars to study at a university outside of their home country. With each new scholar, a new bond is forged between the home and host country.
In further recognition of the crucial role that the scheme plays in connecting people and nations across the Commonwealth, Her Majesty The Queen has signed certificates for alumni of the QECS scheme. Since the Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarship scheme took Her Majesty’s name, announced at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in April 2018, it has opened doors for many young people across the Commonwealth. Part of the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan (CSFP) - an international framework through which countries of the Commonwealth offer university scholarships and fellowships to citizens of other member states - the scheme has grown to 30 universities in 19 countries currently hosting scholars.
QECS offer the opportunity to study a two-year Master’s degree in a low or middle-income Commonwealth country. As a scheme owned and supported by 14 Commonwealth governments, the scheme is a truly remarkable example of what a shared commitment and investment in the Commonwealth and the education of its youth looks like in practice.
Originally from Nigeria, QECS scholar Pascal studied an MSc in Tropical Crop Protection at The University of the West Indies’ St Augustine campus in Trinidad and Tobago. ‘Being a QECS scholar provides endless opportunities to both create impact and be impacted,’ he said. ‘My scholarship gave me the confidence to dream bigger by helping me acquire new skills and widen my academic and social horizons. I am proud to be part of a network of scholars committed to driving positive impact.’
The scheme is not only transformative for individuals, but societies too. QECS scholars feel a responsibility to make an impact on their communities and the wider world. From advancing research on non-communicable diseases to documenting endangered languages, our scholars go on to create real impact that goes beyond the individual. By supporting scholars to shape and drive the future, the QECS scheme is the Commonwealth in action.
The University of The West Indies has been hosting QECS scholars since 2015. ’By hosting QECS scholars, The University of the West Indies takes great pride in being able to instil in them new knowledge that contributes to their personal and intellectual growth, while gaining for itself the satisfaction of supporting and inspiring the next generation of global citizens and changemakers,’ said Professor Stephan Gift, Pro Vice Chancellor.
QECS scholars have responded with agility and resilience during the pandemic, while having to contend with various stages of lockdown overseas, campus closures, and research put on hold. Remarkably, scholars have also taken the initiative to set up their own online forums and communities to discuss various themes – such as climate and wellbeing – to pool their specialised knowledge and forge solutions to global challenges. By using their enhanced field knowledge and first-hand experience, scholars have set about creating action plans to improve the lives of local communities in areas from health to agriculture. The Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarship enables them to develop cross-sector, cross-country and cross-cultural networks like no other programme, creating a pathway to improve global collaboration at large.
Applications for the next application cycle will launch in November 2021.