Wooden tiles with letters on a wooden table, reads 'Farewell'.
Farewell Event for Commonwealth Scholars 2022
Date: 21/07/22
Duration: 17:00-19:30
Location: Central London

Join us for the Farewell Event for Commonwealth Scholars!

The CSC Farewell Event is a special occasion to celebrate the achievements of Commonwealth Scholars as they approach the end of their scholarship. Although they are coming towards the end of their research and studies, Scholars will always be a part of the CSC community and this event is a chance for them to re-connect with fellow Scholars and look ahead to the exciting opportunities they will find as Commonwealth Alumni.

At this year’s Farewell Event, we will welcome guests Professor Robin Mason, CSC Chair, and Dr Joanna Newman, Chief Executive and Secretary General of the ACU, to speak about the important roles that Scholars will play in the future Commonwealth. We will also be joined by a host of special guests as well as staff from the CSC Secretariat who are all looking forward to marking this occasion. 


16:00-16:45    Arrival and registration
17:00-17:10    Welcome by Professor Robin Mason
17:10-17:15    Recorded address by Minister Vicky Ford MP
17:15-17:25    Address by Jo Lomas
17:25-17:30    Closing remarks by Dr Joanna Newman
17:30-19:00    Reception and networking
19:30    Conclusion of the programme

Professor Robin Mason, Chair of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK (CSC) and Pro-Vice Chancellor (International) at the University of Birmingham

Professor Robin Mason is the Chair of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK (CSC) and the Accounting Officer of the CSC.

Robin is Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International) at the University of Birmingham and is responsible for all aspects of the university’s global engagement. He is also the executive lead for LGBT+ equality in the University. He has held senior leadership positions in higher education since 2006 and has been a member of the executive board of two UK Russell Group universities. As Chair, Robin is responsible for ensuring the CSC makes good decisions (consistent with UK Government priorities) and for ensuring the Commission develops and implements an effective strategy. Robin is firmly committed to the mission of the CSC – to provide opportunities for talented and motivated young people who could not otherwise afford them – having himself been educated from the age of 11 thanks entirely to scholarships.

Robin’s academic research concentrates on the incentives faced by economic agents in situations when they have imperfect information about their environment. (Formally, his area is game theory with incomplete information and learning.) He is a decision-making Member of the Competition Appeal Tribunal and the Financial Conduct Authority. He has acted as advisor to a number of regulators, in both the UK and internationally; to the Prime Minister of Mauritius on competition policy; and to a number of private-sector companies worldwide.

Minister Vicky Ford MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Minister for Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean) and Member of Parliament for Chelmsford

Minister Vicky Ford was appointed Minister for Africa at the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office in September 2021. Previously she was the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families at the Department for Education from February 2020 to September 2021. Vicky was first elected as the Conservative MP for Chelmsford in 2017.

From February 2020 to September 2021, Vicky served as Minister for Children and Families in the Department for Education, with responsibilities for vulnerable children. Prior to this she was a member of the Parliament’s Science and Technology and Women and Equalities Select Committees. She previously served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development.

A long term campaigner on environmental matters, Vicky was a founder member of the Conservative Environment Network. In 2018, she led the ‘Give Up Plastic for Lent’ campaign which contributed to government initiatives to reduce single use plastics. She has chaired a number of all party groups including those for Women in Parliament, Rare Diseases, Infrastructure and the Parliamentary Forum for Information and Communications Technology.

Vicky was a Member of the European Parliament for the East of England constituency from 2009 to 2017. She chaired the Internal Market and Consumer Affairs Committee (IMCO) in the European Parliament, during which time she was ranked in the top 10 most influential MEPs by Politico magazine.

Prior to her election as a MEP, Vicky was a local councillor in South Cambridgeshire, leading for finance and community development.

Before entering politics, Vicky was a managing director of a major international bank. She was involved in raising finance for key infrastructure projects across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Jo Lomas, Commonwealth Envoy at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

Jo Lomas is the Commonwealth Envoy representing the UK within the Commonwealth, including on the governing Board of the Commonwealth Secretariat. As Commonwealth Envoy, Jo works in support of the three main pillars of the Commonwealth to implement the principles set out in the Commonwealth Charter. The three pillars of the Commonwealth consist of its Member States (of which there are 53 including the UK), the Commonwealth Secretariat, and the many accredited Commonwealth organisations.

Jo was High Commissioner to the Republic of Rwanda, and non-resident Ambassador to Burundi from January 2018 to June 2021.

Jo holds a BSc degree in political sciences from the University of Bristol and a Post Graduate Diploma in business studies from the Open University.

Dr Joanna Newman MBE FRSA, Chief Executive and Secretary General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU)

Dr Joanna Newman is Chief Executive and Secretary General of the ACU where she is responsible for fostering and promoting the aims of the ACU, as defined by its membership, in developing inter-Commonwealth relations in the field of higher education.

Prior to this, Joanna was the Vice-Principal (International) at King’s College London and has also represented the UK higher education sector as Director of the UK Higher Education International Unit (now known as Universities UK International). Previously, Joanna worked as Head of Higher Education at the British Library.

Joanna is a Senior Research Fellow in the History Faculty at King’s College London and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Southampton. Joanna previously held teaching positions at University College London and the University of Warwick. In 2014, she was honoured as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in recognition of her work promoting British higher education internationally.