On 14 January 2023, a Welcome Home Event for recently returned Commonwealth Scholars was held in New Delhi. The event was delivered by the British Council on behalf of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK (CSC).
The event provided an opportunity for recently returned Scholars to make valuable connections with fellow Commonwealth Alumni and receive guidance and support towards achieving their professional and developmental goals. Recently returned Scholars were joined by members of the CSC’s alumni association in India, the Association of Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows (ACSF).
The importance of networks
The event opened with remarks from David White, Senior Political Advisor at British High Commission India, who welcomed attendees and congratulated them on completing their Commonwealth Scholarship. David emphasised that ‘the Commonwealth is a network of networks’ and highlighted the incredible work achieved by Commonwealth Alumni in India.
Commonwealth Alumnus Dr Dhruva Chaudhry (2009 Academic Fellow), President ACSF, delivered a welcome address and encouraged recently returned Scholars to join the association and connect with Commonwealth Alumni in-country. This was followed by further information on ACSF delivered by Commonwealth Alumnus Dr Adarsh Kumar (2011 and 2014 Academic Fellow), who represented the CSC’s Alumni Advisory Panel at the event.
Dr Kumar emphasised the purpose of ACSF to ‘hone the skills and channel the experiences, qualifications and accomplishments of Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows towards social, spiritual, scientific and technological development of India’. He concluded by sharing further information on the CSC Alumni Network and upcoming activities, including the circulation of the second edition of the ACSF newsletter.
Pause, Breathe and Relax: Tools for wellbeing
Attendees were then invited to join the workshop, ‘Pause, Breathe and Relax: Tools for wellbeing’, delivered by Commonwealth Alumnus Charru Sharma (2012 Academic Fellow). This was an interactive, self-reflective mindfulness session where participants could explore various modalities of wellbeing.
As the event drew to a close, Commonwealth Alumnus Dr Bindiya Gupta (2019 Medical Fellow) gave a word of thanks, during which she noted the relationship between India and the UK as a ‘living bridge’ and emphasised the importance of engaging with events and activities. The event closed with remarks from Michael Houlgate, Deputy Director of British Council, India who reiterated the importance of alumni staying engaged with the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission and staying connected in-country through the ACSF and other alumni activities. The event concluded with refreshments and networking.