Between 22-24 March, the CSC welcomed 48 Commonwealth Scholars studying at Master’s level to its annual residential workshop at Cumberland Lodge, an educational charity in Windsor Great Park.

The Maximising your Impact workshop focused on helping Scholars apply their academic skills and knowledge to real-world situations as well as shedding light on current international development issues.

The workshop formed part of the CSC’s Leaders in Sustainable Development Programme and featured an intensive schedule of group discussions and presentations, individual activities, and networking with staff from the CSC Secretariat.

Presenting their work

The residential workshop kicked off with an engaging icebreaker activity led by the CSC’s Regional Network Coordinators to enable Scholars’ interactions and connections. Following this, Scholars participated in a poster session, showcasing the diversity of their research and ambitious plans for impact. Each poster presentation provided a three-minute glimpse into Scholars’ research and its potential for positive change in their respective countries.

After the poster presentations, Scholars were encouraged to network and continue their discussions over refreshments. The first day concluded with Scholars enjoying the games and building on the connections forged during the day.

Strengthening skills and connections

The second day of the workshop began with a stimulating activity led by CSC staff. Scholars worked in groups to assess the current situation and challenges in different countries and regions of their choice, conducting PEST analyses and considering priorities for the future.

Throughout the weekend, Scholars also engaged in plenary sessions, group activities, and workshops led by expert trainers from AccessEd. The sessions covered integrating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into research, maximising leadership and impact using the Theory of Change model, and building a narrative through public engagement.

During these sessions, Scholars engaged in lively discussions, exploring innovative ways to align their research with the SDGs for maximum impact. They also empowered Scholars to develop strategic approaches to achieve their goals and make a lasting impact in their communities. Among various skills developed during the weekend, Scholars learned how to effectively communicate their research and its potential impact to a wide audience and engage with stakeholders and the public.

The workshop also provided Scholars with opportunities to network, collaborate, and build partnerships for future projects. They also had opportunities to catch a break and enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Windsor Great Park.

Reflecting on the weekend

As the weekend drew to a close, Scholars reflected on their commitment to development and outlined their future plans. Throughout the weekend, Scholars refined their ability to articulate their research and its impact with the help of activities and peer feedback.

The residential workshop at Cumberland Lodge was a resounding success, providing Commonwealth Scholars with a unique opportunity to enhance their skills, exchange ideas, and collaborate for sustainable development.

After the workshop, Scholars shared their thoughts and reflections on the weekend and its relevance for their future ambitions:

“The workshop was a transformative experience. I learned so much from my fellow Scholars and feel inspired to make a real impact with my research.”

“The opportunity to network and share ideas with Scholars from around the world was invaluable. I feel motivated to make a difference in my community.”

Take a look at the photos from the weekend on the CSC Flickr channel.