Parliamentary reception held for Commonwealth Scholars

Scholars in Westminster Hall

The Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan, founded at the first Commonwealth Education Conference in 1959, has enabled some 35,000 young Commonwealth citizens to study in a Commonwealth country other than their own. At the present time 20 or more countries offer awards each year under the Plan, with Britain being the largest donor, providing around 1,000 new awards annually.

For the past three years the Council for Education in the Commonwealth, a Consortium member, has joined with the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK and the UK Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) to host an afternoon reception at the Houses of Parliament. The event enables a group of Commonwealth Scholars to familiarise themselves with aspects of the work and procedures of Parliament in the UK and to engage in conversation with Members of both Houses.

The 2015 reception took place on Monday July 13 when 26 Scholars from 18 different countries assembled in the CPA Room in Westminster Hall and were joined at tea by six members of the House of Commons and 13 from the House of Lords. The Parliamentarians included members from Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and Scottish National Parties as well as crossbenchers in the House of Lords. The Scholars’ programme included two discussion sessions – one led by Baroness Prashar on the value of international education and Commonwealth student mobility, and the other led by Sir Alan Haselhurst MP on the work of Parliament. After tea Mark Williams MP conducted the group on a short tour of the Palace of Westminster.