22nd November 2011 New York, USA

An Englishman in New York

When I heard that the British Consulate-General in New York needed someone to come over from London for three weeks to assist with the extremely busy Marshall Scholarship selection process, I jumped at the chance. The Marshall Scholarship is funded by the British government and allows exceptional American students to pursue graduate degrees at some of the top universities in the UK. It helps to strengthen the relationship between the US and the UK through enabling Marshall Scholars to develop a lasting understanding of British society. Before joining the FCO, I worked in higher education administration and taught English abroad, and so the role that education can play in increasing understanding between people from different countries particularly interests me. Assisting with such a prestigious scholarship programme seemed like an opportunity that was too good to miss, and the chance to explore the amazing New York City during my free time was an added bonus.

The two weeks leading up to the Marshall Scholarship interviews require a lot of work to ensure that the candidates are in the right place at the right time with the right documents. The interviews take place at Consul-General Danny Lopez’s residence in front of a distinguished selection committee.  The process is rigorous and highly competitive, and the high calibre of students who apply is a reflection of the value they place in the scholarship.  

Many Marshall Scholars go on to do great things. Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, is a Marshall alumnus. The Consulate and the Association of Marshall Scholars recently hosted a breakfast event for Hoffman, at which he spoke about the role of technology and innovation in education. What I enjoyed most about helping during the process was meeting the candidates before their interviews and hearing about how they intend to contribute to the US/UK relationship after graduating. I was impressed by how they find the time to achieve so much – a lesson that I could definitely learn from!

In addition to helping with the Marshall Scholarship applications and interviews, I was lucky to be able to spend some time with each of the teams in the Consulate-General. Marshall Scholarships fall under the Consulate’s Political, Press and Public Affairs section, which uses public diplomacy and the media to promote the UK. I assisted with the daily newspaper roundup which involves summarising UK focussed articles that appear in the New York press and also did some research for events to commemorate Veterans Day and celebrate the New York Marathon. The Consulate-General’s Consular section provides consular support for British nationals in the New York consular region, and it was fascinating to learn about the work that they do, which even includes performing British citizenship ceremonies. The UK Border Agency team does an important job processing applications for visas for the UK for study and business. The UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) team assists British businesses set up in the New York region and US companies invest in the UK. Doing this really allowed me to appreciate the huge variety of work that the Consulate does to promote and support British interests in the New York region, and to gain a perspective on just how deep the UK’s relationship with the US actually is.

Some of the other highlights during my visit were representing the Consulate-General at the first US performance of Churchill at Bay, a play about how close Great Britain came to becoming a Nazi state in May 1940; attending a reception for our consular contacts at the Consul-General’s residence; watching the famous Village Halloween Parade; and being in the city for the excitement of the New York City Marathon

I would like to thank all the staff at the British Consulate-General New York who made my short time working there so enjoyable, and also to congratulate the 2012 Marshall Scholarship winners on their fantastic achievement. Cheers!

1 comment on “An Englishman in New York

  1. congratulation Chris Cox for such a great oppertunaty.It is a pleaser to see a young person get ahead ,where this is very hard times for the young to get a start in a great position. Good Luck Henry Losiewicz

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About Chris Cox

Chris joined the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in October 2010 and is based in London. He has just completed a three-week temporary assignment at the British Consulate-General in…

Chris joined the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in October 2010 and is based in London. He has just completed a three-week temporary assignment at the British Consulate-General in New York, primarily to assist with the Consulate’s annual Marshall Scholarship programme applications and interviews. Prior to joining the FCO, Chris worked in the Admissions Centre at Kings College London, and taught English language classes in Poland.

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