On 22 November 2020, the British Council in India and Association of Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows (ACSF) India, held an online ‘Welcome Back’ event for Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows who had recently completed their studies in the UK. The event introduced newly returned Scholars and Fellows to the Executive Committee members of the ACSF and gave them an opportunity to network and get to know fellow alumni in the association.

The event was opened by Vishu Sharma, Head of Higher Education, British Council- North India, followed by address from ACSF President, Dr Dhruva Chaudhry (2009 Academic Fellow, University Hospital Aintree). In his address, Dr Chaudhry stressed the need to expand the network of Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows across India. After this, ACSF Secretary, Manu Mahajan (2005 Shared Scholar, MSc Urban Economic Development, University College London; 2018 Split-site Scholar), provided an overview of the alumni association structure and a summary of the activities undertaken in past years.

A welcome to the Association network

Following this, the focus shifted to the recently returned Scholars who were invited to give a short presentation about their scholarship work and background along with ACSF members who gave brief introductions.

The highlight of the event was a presentation by three Commonwealth Alumni who talked about their respective careers after completing their studies in the UK and the impact that their Commonwealth Scholarship or Fellowship had had on their professional life. Dr Mukesh Kalra (1999 Academic Fellow, Imperial College London), Ashis Das (2011 Scholar, LLM Mineral and Policy, University of Dundee), and Dr Pakhee Aggarwal (2009 Scholar, Medic Training Oncology, John Radcliffe Hospital) all agreed about the value of their scholarship experience to their subsequent career roles and how it had enabled them progress and effect meaningful changes in a professional capacity.

The event ended with acknowledgements and thanks given by ACSF Executive Member, Dr Adarsh Kumar (2011 Academic Fellow, University of Dundee; 2014 Academic Fellow). On behalf of ACSF, he expressed gratitude to the CSC and British Council for organising the event and invited Scholars and Fellows to the upcoming foundation day of ACSF due to be held in December.