A Falkland Islands resident is off to the University of Oxford later this year, after being announced as the Falkland Islands' newest Chevening Scholar. Clare Cockwell has been offered a full scholarship under the UK Government's Chevening programme to study towards an MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management at Hertford College.
After working for the past few years for Falklands Conservation on a project to develop a Protected Areas policy for the Falklands, Fox Bay resident and former teacher Clare said she was thrilled to be going to Oxford University: I had to submit a lot of written work as part of my application, which was slightly nerve wracking as I've been out of education for a long time. I was also concerned at the start of the process that being a mature student and a career-changer would put me at a disadvantage.
However, I've had great encouragement and support from the team at Government House, from Hertford College and from the University, all of whom have been keen to point out that they welcome good applications from anyone, wherever they come from and whatever their age. I'd urge anyone else in a similar situation who might be thinking about doing something similar to give it a go.
Clare is the second Chevening scholar to come from the Falklands; her brother-in-law, Sam, was awarded the scholarship in 2012. She applied for Chevening for a number of reasons, including the support the programme offers its scholars for the duration of their time in the UK. It was also a good fit for her planned course.
Looking after the environment was named as one of the key areas that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office wants to support through the scholarship; my course, an MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management, focuses on environmental policy, an area that will be important to us here in the coming years.
It teaches broad skills that would be useful for any job in the field, whether in the Falkland Islands Government, environmental organisations or consultancy work, and also offers the chance to specialise in specific areas of relevance to the Falklands, for example the politics of oil and gas, or international environmental law.
On a personal level, Clare said Chevening appealed to her as it attracted interesting people from all over the world and hosted events where scholars could meet each other: I'm looking forward to learning more about other countries and having the chance to tell people about the Falklands.
She added that her husband, Ben, had been fully supportive of her plans and would be joining her in the UK for a while after spending the coming summer working in Antarctica. (PN).-