Chevening/Gurukul Fellows to contribute to positive India-UK relations

This month, twelve Chevening/Gurukul Fellows will begin the twelve-week leadership course hosted by the India Institute at King’s College London. The programme, which runs annually, is aimed at mid-career professionals who demonstrate outstanding leadership qualities and have already achieved a position of influence in their home countries.

Over the next three months, the fellows will participate in a number of activities that address changing ideas and practices of leadership, whilst exploring the implications of globalisation for Indian leaders. The course will be taught by faculty from King’s College London, as well as leading professionals, practitioners, and policy leaders from diverse sectors. It will include a number of site visits, including a trip to Geneva in October, where fellows will interact with representatives of international agencies such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organization.

Strengthening ties

On 12 September, a reception was held to welcome the group to the UK. During the reception, Professor Sunil Khilnani, Avantha Professor and Director of King's India Institute, acknowledged the important role they play in building bridges between the India Institute and India’s private and public sectors.

‘This is part of an engagement that is really central to the mission of the India Institute. That is to say, not just the production of new research, which we are doing here at the Institute—while that’s an important part of what we do, the other part of what we do is disseminating that research to decision-makers, opinion-shapers, the public policy world, and indeed public discourse more generally in India.’

A key component of Chevening Fellowships is their flexibility. Whereas Chevening Scholarships are available for one-year taught master’s degrees, fellowships are an opportunity to undertake short but intense courses of professional development. This flexibility is what attracted Nitin Singh, who is the operational head for 20 radio stations in India. Nitin says he is looking forward to networking with and learning from other industry professionals during his time in the UK.

‘From this programme, I hope to find out a bit more about radio in the UK. Radio in the UK is really relevant—it is readily available, it has a huge following. What are the things that people are doing right? What is it that we can improve? How can we ensure that radio remains relevant in the digital age in India?’ said Nitin.

Creating new links

Another fellow, Vartika Jaini, has spent 17 years working in rural development in India. She recently founded Vriddhi Rural Prosperity Services Limited, a social enterprise that supports the acceleration of agriculture in tribal pockets of Central India. Vartika says she hopes her fellowship experience will give her the perspective she needs to grow the enterprise.

‘This programme happened at a time when I was looking for opportunities to broaden my perspective; sit back and think a bit. I am very clear on what I want to do with the enterprise and I think this gives me more perspective on things. I hope to meet some interesting people with whom I can collaborate,’ said Vartika.

Hannah Halder, Senior Fellowships Officer at the Chevening Secretariat, said she hopes the programme continues to contribute to positive India-UK relations.

‘I have been involved with the Chevening/Gurukul Fellowship for several years and I am continually impressed by the fellows year on year. I have no doubt that this year’s cohort will find the programme at King’s College London very rewarding, and we look forward to continuing these relationships once they return home to India.’

In addition, several other fellowship programmes are also available. To see what fellowships are available in your country, please visit