Tristian Christie is the newest Bahamian Chevening Scholar.
Christie, a native of New Providence, was selected from a competitive field of over 50,000 applicants and over 5,000 shortlisted candidates, according to the British High Commission Nassau.
He will enroll in a master of innovation, public policy and public value (MPA) at University College London (UCL). His long-term goal is to return home and work as an economist and researcher at Central Bank of The Bahamas.
Christie, 24, said he is excited about his MPA program, and eager to learn more about the relationship between legislation, policy and expenditure. And excited about building relationships with students from other Commonwealth countries, particularly small island development states, who are passionate about public policy in their jurisdictions.
“I am beyond grateful to have been selected as the 2022/23 Chevening Scholar representing The Bahamas. The Chevening Scholarship is an incredible opportunity for individuals interested in pursuing postgraduate studies in a culturally enriched environment. While in the UK [United Kingdom], I look forward to engaging and networking with fellow scholars, as well as using the platform to share our vibrant Bahamian culture abroad. If you are someone who has a genuine vision and plan for The Bahamas, regardless of your background, then I encourage you to apply.”
Being named a Chevening Scholar means many different things to Christie.
“Firstly, it is an opportunity to represent The Bahamas on an international level. I believe that The Bahamas has more to offer to the world than just sunny, white sand beaches. We are a nation of intellects and resilient people. As a Chevening Scholar, I am joining a global network of current, past and future leaders as a cultural ambassador, representing a percentage of what bright minds in The Bahamas has to offer. Secondly, being a Chevening Scholar allows me to help in changing the current social discord that surrounds young Bahamian men. Many of us young Bahamian men are often stigmatized to a life of crime and violence, especially when hailing from certain areas. But as someone who grew up in the Bain and Grants Town areas, this is not always the case.”
He believes the newer generation of Bahamians are innovative and purpose-driven. And said that as The Bahamas’ newest Chevening Scholar, he is able to showcase the concept that it is not where you are from or the environment that you grew up in, but how you choose to make use of your resources and the world around you.
“Lastly, being a Chevening Scholar means that I have an active platform to work towards my goal of seeing an economically diverse Bahamas with sustainable industries. Given the networks I will create and the opportunity to fine-tune my education with a master’s degree, I see nothing stopping me from bringing in new perspectives and policy initiatives to The Bahamas. Ultimately, being a Chevening Scholar allows me to join a well-established connection of like-minded individuals all eager to better themselves and their countries.
Christie holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics and International Development Studies from Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada. He graduated with a 4.04 cumulative grade point average (GPA) out of 4.30.
He has worked at several financial institutions and has interned at Central Bank of The Bahamas where he was the recipient of the T. Baswell Donaldson Research Prize for his research paper on “The Effectiveness of Government Expenditure on Education and Its Potential to Influence Economic Growth in the Caribbean: A Comparative Study”.
Daniel Hart, chargé d’affaires at the UK High Commission, said equipped with his master’s from UCL, Christie presents an exciting prospect for Central Bank of The Bahamas, or wherever his next steps take him.
“The course he’s chosen is fascinating, and he’ll be studying in London – the finance capital of the world, and a wonderful melting pot for students and other visitors from across the Commonwealth and around the world.”
Christie said he applied for the scholarship because he knew he wanted to pursue graduate-level education. The question for him was, how. He had to work to secure tuition fees to attain his undergraduate degree.
“Although I was fortunate enough to have been granted partial funding through the gracious efforts of the Lyford Cay Foundation, my goal for graduate school was to find a scholarship program that would allow me to study something I was truly interested in, but with a lessened financial burden. The Chevening Scholarship happened to be the exact match.”
He said he was mostly intrigued about the Chevening Scholarship in that not only did it provide a fully funded master’s degree, but the experiences that will come with it.
“The opportunity to study in the UK, a global center for both cultural and economic activity, is a dream come true, whereas London is the ideal location to experience this mix. In addition, the Chevening community has a network of over 50,000 alumni throughout 160 different countries, therefore I am bound to connect and resonate with some of the brightest minds in the world. I am capable of once again submerging myself in a new culture, which I find to be important since I believe international learning experiences help in learning the beauty of being open-minded and adaptable – skills I find important for a future career in public policy.”
And he is a firm believer in the adage, education is the one thing that no one can take away.
“[Education] is intangible. And because it is intangible, it can be easily shared and used in different ways. With the proper use of education, whole communities can change for the better, including the individuals. In some ways, the constant urge to better myself led to a natural progression for obtaining my master’s. With a master’s degree, my thought process was that I can return to The Bahamas as a qualified mind with reputable ideas. Ideas that I can back by a solid plan. Whenever embarking on a challenge, such as my aim to revitalize the Bahamian economy, I know that there are always obstacles to overcome. However, I have always felt that education is key in overcoming obstacles. Thanks to the Chevening Scholarship, the opportunity to advance my education will hopefully open doors I never knew existed.”
He also cops to having always had an appreciation for an education.
“From as young as I can remember, my parents, teachers and family members alike have continuously instilled the importance and value of obtaining an education. What I want to accomplish in life required a big voice and, often, big voices require backing. And to me, the backing is education. I believe that a quality education allows me to look beyond the norm and challenge systems that can sometimes constrain our minds.”
Christie said an education also gives him the window of opportunity to learn more about himself.
“It is not often realized that education starts at birth, and the lessons we learn follow us all throughout life. Even when we think we aren’t learning, we are, which makes it critical in what we educate ourselves with. I find myself extremely fortunate to be in an environment where those around me continue to push and encourage me in my stride towards higher academia and achieving my goals.”
Christie, who will begin studies toward his master’s degree on September 26, said he plans to return to The Bahamas to work as an economist and researcher at Central Bank of The Bahamas. More specifically, as a policy advisor, with a direct ability to address and influence policy concerns.
“My main intent is to conduct economic research. In 2020, I was fortunate to have been selected as a part of a special cohort of undergraduate students to intern at the Central Bank of The Bahamas. It was at this internship that I developed my passion for research and the Bahamian economy. My policy interests lie in economic and educational reform.”
During his Central Bank internship, Christie wrote a proposal on the potential for the government of The Bahamas to increase long-term economic growth by investing in education.
“Ultimately, I want to use my influence as an economist/policy advisor to connect with other policymakers in the Caribbean to organize a regional study on the benefits of diversifying tourism-dependent economies with STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)-related career fields.
“I want to use this research as an opportunity to work closely with the Bahamian government in developing policies that support educational ventures outside of tourism and lay the foundation for sustainable STEM-related industries. Ultimately, my long-term aspirations are to get into government and petition for the creation of a ministry that is responsible for innovation and economic development in The Bahamas. As a country that has historically ‘painted’ itself as a travel destination, establishing a ministry that encourages citizens to share and pursue their creative thoughts and benefits from a diverse range of career and educational opportunities is pivotal. This includes advocating for an increase in the number of public scholarships allotted for individuals interested in pursuing diverse degree fields, as well as the number of grants available for entrepreneurial pursuits. With the support of the Chevening community and fellow Bahamians, I know I can help drive sustainable development in The Bahamas through revitalized policies,” said Christie.
Chevening is the UK government’s global scholarship program that offers future leaders the unique opportunity to study in the UK. The scholarships are awarded to professionals from all over the world to pursue a one-year master’s degree in any subject at any UK university. Since 1983, when the Chevening Scholarship program commenced, over 100 Bahamian students have been selected for the award and have subsequently returned to The Bahamas to become leaders in diverse fields such as law, medicine, diplomacy, law enforcement, and the military.