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The Chevening Scholarship is an international scholarship scheme which enables students with leadership qualities from 144 countries and territories to undertake postgraduate study or courses in universities in the United Kingdom. Funding for the scheme comes from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The Chevening Scholarships Programme commenced in 1984 as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Awards Scheme (FCOAS) and is funded by the British government's Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The stated objective of the scheme is to build a network of friends of the UK, who will be future leaders in their countries. In 1994, the name of the scheme was changed to Chevening, after Chevening House in Sevenoaks, Kent – currently the joint official residence of the British Foreign Secretary and the British Deputy Prime Minister.
A companion Chevening Fellowships Scheme was launched by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 2004. It provided over 200 Fellowship places for mid-career professionals to undertake 3 month courses in fields related to the FCO's policy goals. The Chevening Fellowship Scheme was discontinued in 2010.
In 2007–8 year the Chevening Scholarships cost the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office approximately £22 million. In the same year the Chevening Fellowships scheme cost approximately 4 million Great British pounds. In July 2010 the British Foreign Minister announced a cut of £10 million from the scholarships budget, in the context of wider budget cuts. This resulted in a number of scholarships being cancelled for 2010–11. After a review period, the 2011–12 scholarship round opened for applications in February 2011. In 2011–12 the number of scholarships was increased to more than 700 worldwide.
In April 2012, the Association of Commonwealth Universities took over running of the scheme from the British Council, establishing a Chevening Secretariat.
The number of available scholarships varies from country to country. More than thirty scholarships are currently awarded to candidates from India and China. Twenty or more are awarded to candidates from Egypt, South Korea, Indonesia, Pakistan, Mexico and Brazil, with less than five core scholarships now available to candidates from Australia and Canada (US students are not eligible, but can apply for the Marshall Scholarships which are also funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.)
The significance of the Chevening scholarship scheme rests on its large scope – approximately 700 scholarships are awarded each year to students from more than 110 countries, allowing students from developing countries to access British tertiary education institutions, some of which are of a very high standard as determined by international rankings. In this way the Chevening scheme is more similar to the US Fulbright Scholarships which bring students from 140 countries to the US  and differs from the Rhodes Scholarship scheme which currently allows applications from approximately 18 countries. Winners of Chevening scholarships often receive coverage in national and local newspapers.
The selection criteria for Chevening Scholarship are aimed to identify "high-calibre graduates with the personal, intellectual and interpersonal qualities necessary for leadership." Specific selection criteria for Chevening Scholarships varies from country to country, and from year to year. Out of 25 000 applicants, 700 scholarships are awarded.
A successful candidate typically:
- is a professional graduate, in early or mid-career, who displays both intellectual ability and clear leadership potential
- has already worked for 2–3 years in his/her chosen profession
- is committed to return to his/her home country and contribute to its socioeconomic development, by implementing the new skills and knowledge acquired in the UK
- has a proven track record of professional excellence and achievement, with the prospect of becoming a leader in his/her chosen field
- is able to show at interview that he/she possesses the personal qualities to benefit from the scholarship and use it to succeed in his/her chosen career
- has a clear idea how the scholarship will benefit their country on his/her return
- has a strong character with integrity, drive, and the ability to self-manage and work independently
Applications are made online via a web portal in October of each year, except for some sponsored scholarships for which applicants apply via the co-sponsoring organisation. Scholarship applicants also apply directly to their preferred universities in the UK, usually for Master's degree courses. Most scholarships include a living stipend, airfares and the full or partial cost of tuition fees.
The most popular destinations for study in 2011 were the London School of Economics & Political Science, University College London, and the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, University of Nottingham, University of Bath and King's College London.
There are an estimated 40 000 Chevening Scholarship alumni, with an emphasis being placed on improved links with and between previous scholars as a consequence of reviews in 2005  and 2006. Many Chevening Scholars have since gone on to reach positions of influence in a range of sectors.
Notable alumni include:
- Nan Achnas - film director
- Filiz Ali - pianist
- Shirani Bandaranayake - Chief Justice of Sri Lanka
- Gunaajav Batjargal - Mongolian Ambassador to Austria
- Jaime Bermudez – Minister of Foreign Affairs, Colombia
- Marek Belka – former Prime Minister of Poland; currently Head of the National Bank of Poland
- Giga Bokeria – Secretary of the National Security Council, Georgia
- Chen Liangyu member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China
- Anne Enright - Booker Prize–winning author
- Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson – Prime Minister of Iceland
- Helon Habila - Caine Prize–winning novelist
- Emil Kirjas - Macedonian politician
- Manuel Lajo - Member of the Peruvian Congress
- Shaffi Mather – Former Chief Economic Advisor to the Chief Minister of Kerala, India
- João Miranda – former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Angola
- T. V. Narendran - Managing Director, Tata Steel (India and South East Asia)
- Jorma Ollila – Non-Executive Chairman of Royal Dutch Shell; Non-Executive Chairman of Nokia
- Anand Ramlogan - Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago
- Prince Seeiso of Lesotho - diplomat
- Guillermo Sheridan - literary critic
- Pritam Singh - Singaporean Member of Parliament
- Peter Sinon - Seychellois Cabinet Minister
- Stone Sizani - Member of the South African National Assembly and ANC Chief Whip
- Baldwin Spencer – Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda
- Sergei Stanishev – former Prime Minister of Bulgaria; currently President of the Party of European Socialists
- Rajesh Talwar- Indian writer
- Anote Tong – President of Kiribati
- Álvaro Uribe Vélez – former President of Colombia
- Muhammad Uteem - Member of the National Assembly of Mauritius
- Binyavanga Wainaina - Caine Prize–winning novelist
- Hassan Wario - Kenyan Cabinet Minister
- Ibrahim Sheme – Nigerian writer and journalist
- A.T.M. Zahirul Alam - Force Commander of the United Nations Mission in Liberia
- Amina C. Mohamed - Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Kenya
- Riri Riza - Indonesian film director, film producer and screenwriter
- Ahmad Fuadi -Indonesian writer, novelist and social entrepreneur
- Jorge Capitanich - former Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers of Argentina
- Martín Lousteau - Argentine Congressman and former Minister of Economy
- Annastacia Palaszczuk - Premier of the Australian state of Queensland
- "Chevening Scholarship", What we do, UK: Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
- Letter for Foreign Affairs Committee, UK: Parliament, 2008.
- QS World University Rankings, Top universities, 2011.
- Fulbright scholarships.
- Rhodes house scholarships, UK: Oxford.
- The Kuwait Times https://web.archive.org/20110617014807/http://www.kuwaittimes.net/read_news.php?newsid=NzU5NzY3NTI5, archived from the original on 17 June 2011 Missing or empty
- "Two Sri Lankan Scholars chosen to attend the Chevening scholarship scheme of UK", News 360 (LK).
- "FAQ", Chevening, UK: FCO.
- "Application", Chevening, UK: FCO.
- Home Carter Report, British Council.
- Parliamentary Review of Chevening (MS Word), UK.
- Chevening (official website).