On Tuesday 22 February, 26 members of the CSC’s Alumni Advisory Panel 2021-2023 joined a virtual meet-up. The objectives of the meet-up were to provide an opportunity for panel members to network, discuss completed panel activities, and work together to identify and discuss new activities for future consultation.

In advance of the meet-up, panel members were asked to share their ideas on areas of CSC delivery not currently offered for panel input and that they would like to see developed. Submissions from members were reviewed and the following topic areas identified for breakout group discussion during the meet-up:

  • Promoting Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships
  • Addressing themes in CSC publications, outputs, and opportunities
  • Developing project-based collaboration for Commonwealth Scholars and Alumni

On registering, panel members were asked to select the breakout group topic they would like to discuss.

Introducing the meet-up

The meet-up opened with a short presentation on the panel activities completed in 2021/22 and the level of engagement amongst panel members. This was followed by a briefing on future activities scheduled for panel consultation and a short Q&A session, during which panel members asked questions about activities and panel expectations.

Following the opening presentation, panel members were split into 5 breakout groups to discuss the three topic areas identified. Each group assigned a leader, note-taker, and speaker to manage and capture discussions and feedback to the main group.

Exploring future activities

There was lively discussion in each group, with all members sharing their ideas and thoughts on their chosen topic area.

Panel members in the ‘Promoting Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships’ breakout group shared ideas on the role of alumni in promoting CSC funded opportunities, such as through awareness campaigns and local networks, providing application advice, and celebrating successful candidates.

Those who discussed ‘Developing project collaboration for Commonwealth Scholars and Alumni’ proposed subject-based networking and events to help identify collaborators and those with similar interests, work, and research, and developing projects with tangible and proactive outputs, such as presentation, publications, and impact activities. Additionally, they felt that support on developing personal and professional skills within topical groups could be useful and attractive to Scholars and alumni.

In the ‘Addressing themes in CSC publications, outputs and opportunities’ group, members discussed highlighting country context of the stories featured on the work of Commonwealth Scholars and Alumni, personal stories on applying for Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships, and exploring further communications outputs.

Identifying next steps

The meet-up ended with speakers from each group sharing key discussion points and interacting through the meeting chat function. Following the session, notes from all groups will be collated and potential activity areas and developments identified and shared with the full panel.

Thank you to all panel members who took part in the virtual meet-up.