Chevening is a scholarship funded by the British government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office and its partners. Despite many complaints by unsuccessful Chevening applicants for the selection process being rather subjective, in fact, it proves to be by far the most selective, diverse and accurate selection process that one encounters.
The reason for choosing Chevening and UK as the destination for graduate degree education may differ for almost all of the scholars, but one thing is clear: everyone is prejudiced with the idea that UK has the best university education in the world. And this claim might not seem as unreasonable when one gets to know that even top Harvard or Yale graduates dream of getting into that bowl where Cambridge and Oxford students are made.
For me personally, the reason for my prejudices were my EU law and Alternative Dispute Resolution professor Carlos Martinez’s words of advice that one wishing to get the best education in the world, must go to the UK. And, honestly, there is no way of not trusting the words of a professor that comes up with brilliances like: “I like math, because it’s the closest thing to truth.”
On the other hand, the choice of Chevening with its eligibility criteria, daunting selection process and general objectives, was not as obvious as it was with the choice of graduate degree destination. The turning point with choice of scholarship was seeing the members of Chevening alumni in action.
My very first encounter with a Chevening alumni was Introduction to Law and Legal Systems led by Malika Mukimova, one of the first Chevening Scholars from Uzbekistan. Her original approach to classes empowered many students to settle with a decision that BA Commercial Law is the option they will go through for the next three years. The most interesting moment of my experience with Ms. Mukimova was when she announced the course work assignment for her subject, noting that almost no one gets higher than 80 and who ever gets it, can make a T-shirt with a print “I got 80 from ILLS”. And guess what? I did make the T-shirt. The link to my very first legal writing is here: https://medium.com/@aarabjanov/euthanasia-as-seen-by-law-morality-and-religion-c9afa9810aff [Malika Mukimova’s Linkedin profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/malika-mukimova-8280b345/]
Another bright Chevening alumni was the international trade law lecturer at WIUT — Shukhrat Yunusov, who now is a partner at Dentons London Office. My relationships with Mr. Yunusov were not only limited to academia, we have also had good work interactions during my recent years working for a professional assets management company. Representing our legal advisor — Dentons, Mr. Yunusov has managed to set himself as the lawyer worth his salt, even in comparison to his colleagues with long UK legal experience. [Shukhrat Yunusov’s Linkedin profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shukhrat-yunusov-a938b823/ and his business profile: https://www.dentons.com/en/shukhrat-yunusov]
One of the brightest couples in Uzbekistan, active members of the country’s social and political life Ms. Aziza Umarova and Mr. Hikmat Abdurahmonov’s Chevening experience came as additional motivation to consider Chevening journey. Bright and active Aziza and her husband Hikmat can certainly be considered as the leading members of modern Uzbek ‘enlightenment’. Aziza’s active role in advising Uzbek government on certain reforms and her husband’s achievements both in business and political world truly empowers many to self-improvement. [Check out Aziza’s Facebook page and see if you share her thoughts: https://www.facebook.com/aziza.umar.7]
The younger generation Chevening Uzbekistan alumni were also vital for making my decision towards Chevening. My closest friend, course mate and my beer-buddy — Sherzod Utkirkhojaev, who currently runs his very own Settle Law Firm, is one of them. Despite my recommendation to develop his own personal brand by naming his law firm as ‘Utkirkhojaev and Partners’, he remains modest, and at the same time, very promising future leader. After his Chevening experience in 2017, Sherzod returned with immense knowledge of British culture, English legal system and far-reaching leadership skills. [Check out Settle law firm’s corporate webpage at: www.settle.uz and Sherzod’s linkedin page at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sherzodu]
Thanks to my company’s cooperation with Dentons law firm, I got to know another bright Chevening alumni — Mr. Yakub Sharipov, Dentons associate and a Queen Mary survivor of 2018. Yakub ‘has a solid academic foundation and deep understanding of construction law, public procurement and project finance. Yakub’s experience and attention to detail is remarkable. It was pleasure working with him on joint projects.’ At least, that’s what he wrote on my Linkedin profile about me. But, honestly, Yakub is more than just an associate and a legal professional, he is what I believe is the vital part of that ‘strong foundation’ that Uzbekistan desperately needs to excel. [Yakub’s business profile: https://www.dentons.com/en/yakub-sharipov and his Linkedin page: https://www.linkedin.com/in/yakub-sharipov-356880bb/]
No one is born leader. Moreover, no one inherits that networking and leadership skills through blood, just because they are born into a certain family. I personally think that the biggest part of the development of those leaders is the Chevening selection process itself. Just the idea that one is selected from the pool of 65.000 brightest minds around the globe by the FCO of one of the biggest economies in the world and the country with more than thousand years of stable legal and political system empowers with that needed push to become a leader.
Now, it remains unclear whether I progressed to the next level or not, but one thing is evident: I got what I needed from Chevening so far.
Update: I’m shortlisted now.