Tributes to Queen Elizabeth II have poured in from the international education sector following her death aged 96 on September 8.
Organisations have emphasised the importance Her Majesty placed on youth, education, cultural exchange, leadership and civic engagement.
Her Majesty was patron of the Association of Commonwealth Universities since 1986, and the group bringing together universities across the world to address global challenges sent its deepest condolences to the Royal Family.
“Through Her Majesty’s continued patronage, the ACU has provided a forum for global universities to share information, knowledge and ideas, and make a critical contribution to sustainable development across the Commonwealth and beyond,” ACU said.
“To mark our centenary in 2013, Her Majesty hosted a reception in celebration of youth, education and the Commonwealth at Buckingham Palace.”
The organisation also pointed to the Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholarships named after the Queen in 2019 “as a fitting tribute to her immense contribution as head of the Commonwealth, and her longstanding dedication to education and youth”.
The fully-funded Master’s scholarships in low and middle income Commonwealth countries provide “life-changing opportunities for young leaders with the energy and talent to drive positive change in their home countries and beyond”, it added.
Universities Canada also said it will continue to honour the memory of Her Majesty through the Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships program, together with the Rideau Hall Foundation.
The program, created around the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee 10 years ago for Canada, has been awarded to more than 2,200 scholars from Canada and across the globe.
“The QES program will be a permanent and tangible tribute to Her Majesty The Queen”
In Her Majesty’s name, these scholars “preserve and promote the enduring importance of cultural exchange, leadership and civic engagement”, Universities Canada said.
“Access to knowledge and learning shape a country’s future and advancement. As such, we have a duty to enable our youth to become engaged citizens and offer them fantastic opportunities to develop new skills and connect with others,” said David Johnston, chair of the Rideau Hall Foundation Board and governor general of Canada, 2010-2017.
“The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship program is doing just that, by laying the foundation for our next generation of leaders with innovative minds and a sense of engagement to Canada and the world. In achieving this goal, the QES program will be a permanent and tangible tribute to Her Majesty The Queen, who through a lifetime of service has embodied this sense of leadership and commitment.”
Her Majesty the Queen will be “remembered as an exemplary leader and role model, and her legacy will live on through those she inspired throughout her reign, including many students, researchers and future global leaders”, Paul Davidson, Universities Canada president, added.
In 2012, UK prime minister also announced scholarships for 60 one-year masters students from India, funded by the British Council and the UK government.
We are deeply saddened to hear about the passing of our Patron, Her Majesty The Queen.
We extend our heartfelt condolences to His Majesty The King and all of the Royal Family at this time of grief. pic.twitter.com/f7Rih5fnXr
— British Council (@BritishCouncil) September 8, 2022
The Queen’s Young Leaders has also “discovered, celebrated and supported exceptional young people from across the Commonwealth”, such as co-founder of Pakistan-based education app Orenda Haroon Yasin in 2018.
President of Universities UK and vice-chancellor of UWE Bristol Steve West highlighted Her Majesty’s ardent support of “universities and of education as a force for good”.
“Through her patronage of The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes over three decades, she celebrated and promoted the impact and benefits of higher and further education for students, communities, the economy and wider society,” he said.
“She also recognised the role universities play in building an understanding of different countries, cultures and the importance of global networks, exemplified by her role as patron of the Association of Commonwealth Universities.”
We are saddened to hear about the passing of Her Majesty The Queen.
Throughout her reign, she has been supportive of international students and their contributions to the UK.
Our thoughts are with the Royal Family during this difficult time.
— UK Council for International Student Affairs (@UKCISA) September 8, 2022
In New Zealand, Universities New Zealand – Te Pōkai Tara chair and vice-chancellor of Massey University Jan Thomas highlighted the Queen’s visits to the country – including trips to Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland, Massey University and the University of Otago in 1970 and Lincoln University in 1977.
“I had the honour of meeting Her Majesty in 2013 as then chair of the Managing Council of the Association of Commonwealth Universities,” said Thomas. “She took real interest in our work and deeply understood the role universities play as civic institutions, building nations.
On behalf of the entire Navitas community, we wish to express our condolences to the Royal Family & the people of the United Kingdom & the Commonwealth on the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
We pay tribute to her remarkable dedication & service over the past 70 years. pic.twitter.com/6i9a6Y0zSM
— Navitas (@Navitas) September 9, 2022
“I know Her Majesty took time to meet students and I’m sure that’s a memory they are all cherishing these many years later, especially today,” Thomas added.
NCUK is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II who touched the hearts of millions for more than seven decades through her dedication to public service.
We send our condolences to the Royal Family of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. pic.twitter.com/dbGkDuYtZV
— NCUK (@NCUKTogether) September 9, 2022
The international K12 sector has also led tributes with COBIS highlighting Her Majesty’s “many virtues”.
“[Her Majesty] will always be remembered for her selfless service, her warmth, and her gentle strength in leading the nation over seven decades,” the group said.
“Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II leaves behind a remarkable legacy”
CEO of Boarding Schools’ Association, Robin Fletcher, said that “all our member schools and organisations, of which many Her Majesty was patron, will unite in loss, but in celebration, too”.
“Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II leaves behind a remarkable legacy, having ruled for longer than any other monarch in British history, and her faithful leadership, selfless service and voice of reassurance throughout her seventy-year reign will be remembered by generations,” he said.
“We will continue to follow her example of kindness, resilience and unwavering commitment which she embodied throughout her reign.”
Winners of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise which recognise outstanding achievement by UK businesses over the years will also remember Her Majesty fondly.
International education companies recognised include: iQualify UK; Learning Resource Network; St Giles Schools of Languages; Coventry University; Cambridge English Language Assessment; INTO UEA; Kings Education; CEG; and London School of Business & Finance.
The Chinese ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiao Ming, also tweeted to remind that Queen Elizabeth II was the first British monarch to visit China.
“President Xi Jinping sent a message of condolence to the new British King Charles III on the unfortunate death of Queen Elizabeth II, expressing deep condolences and sincere condolences to the British royal family, government and people,” the ambassador wrote.
— 刘晓明Liu Xiaoming (@AmbLiuXiaoMing) September 9, 2022
“Her passing is a great loss to the British people,” he added.
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