‘Life-changing’ scholarships for overseas students announced by University of Leicester

The University of Leicester has announced the names of its 2016 Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholars. These students have been awarded Commonwealth Scholarships to allow them to pursue a Master’s course in Risk, Crisis and Disaster Management while living in their home countries.

The Scholarships have been awarded by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission here in the UK. Pamela Komujuni Kalule from Uganda, Krishna Mohan Clarke of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Azukaego Nwando Nnaji from Nigeria, Daniel Howell Mendez of Belize, Sangeeta Pal from India and Yovanie Poinen of Mauritius have all been selected to pursue studies for the dedicated MSc in Risk, Crisis and Disaster Management (RCDM) by distance learning at the Civil Safety and Security Unit of the University of Leicester.

The six scholars fought off strong competition from over 150 applicants. They were welcomed on campus by the University of Leicester’s president and vice-chancellor Professor Paul Boyle on Monday 26 September while attending their first Study School visit.

Each Scholarship covers course fees, course materials, three visits to attend Study Schools in Leicester and a laptop.

The MSc in RCDM is a specialised course suitable for professionals and practitioners. The course bridges the traditional division between the management of technological, social and natural hazards by combining risk, communication, vulnerability and development theories.

Maximising students’ potential

Dr Nibedita Ray-Bennett, lecturer in risk management for the University of Leicester’s School of Business who won the scholarships for the University, said: “Commonwealth Scholarships are very special because they give opportunities to meritorious individuals from the Commonwealth nations. Scholars are able to read for our MSc in RCDM without leaving their home country which maximises their potential to enhance the development of their home nation with the knowledge and leadership skills they acquire from the University of Leicester.”

Ray-Bennett added: “The Commonwealth Scholarships also allow removal of the financial barrier individuals from Commonwealth nations often face when applying for our MSc in RCDM. This will offer a new beginning for winners of the Scholarships. Hailing from a rural area of North Bengal, I benefited from such scholarships for my entire higher education life. I received several grants from the Government of India to complete my BA in English Literature at Delhi University and an MA in Social Work at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, and for the Ford Foundation’s International Fellowship Programme in order to finish my PhD in Sociology at Warwick University. These opportunities changed my life. I’m certain these Scholarships will change our new students’ lives, too.”

Professor Paul Boyle (who has met with each of the Scholars) added: “I’m absolutely thrilled to welcome the recipients of the Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarships to campus. Our annual distance learning Study School allows students to visit their university, network with fellow distance learning academics and meet our academic team. These Scholarships offer the opportunity for students to study for a UK Master’s degree while living and working in their home countries, and have the added benefit of allowing them to develop their careers without having to leave full-time employment. It also means that they can apply new knowledge and insights into their working life while still continuing to study.”

All types of risk in focus

Krishna Clarke, an Enterprise Risk Management assistant for the Caribbean Development Bank based in Barbados, said: “Being from a financial risk background, and working in a development institution, it’s most exciting to complement my knowledge with a degree that can assist tremendously in the work that I do. The Caribbean has been struggling with development for some time. This is further inhibited by the frequency of natural disasters or other crises throughout the years. These events have caused losses of up to and over 100% of GDP. It’s my goal to become an expert in not only financial risk, but all types of risk including disaster risk so that, one day, I may be able to advise leaders or policy-makers within the region. It’s this extra incentive of helping the Caribbean region that drives my ambitions, and I hope to one day see our region be at the forefront of innovation and diversity.”

Yovanie Poinen, an environment officer at the Ministry of the Environment, Sustainable Development and Disaster and Beach Management in Mauritius, added: “This course will help in developing an in-depth knowledge of crisis management. The knowledge acquired will help me in my goal to provide expert input to improve the ability of the newly-set National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Centre of Mauritius in fulfilling its mandate, and notably so during times of crisis and when updating the National Disaster Scheme for Mauritius.”

Professor Zoe Radnor, Dean at the University of Leicester’s School of Business, concluded: “The Commonwealth Scholarships have a long and illustrious history. We’re very proud to welcome our new scholars.”

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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