Career & Education

'Call me ambassador'

Chavel Ford is determined to represent Jamaica

Sunday, August 19, 2018

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She's not there yet, but Chavel Ford is doing everything in her power to ensure she secures a career as an ambassador of her beloved Jamaica.

Ford, who is currently preparing for her third year at the University of the West Indies to complete a BSc in International Relations with a minor in history, says she wants to work in the foreign service in either one of Jamaica's embassies or high commissions, or at an international agency like the United Nations or World Trade Organization.

The 21-year-old was a recipient of the 2016 Lois Sherwood Scholarship — part of the Burger King Scholarship programme and named for the chairman of Restaurant Associates Ltd which holds the franchise in Jamaica for Burger King, Popeyes and Little Caesar's Pizza.

The award, Ford said, really started her on her career journey.

“I was doing well at St Andrew High School for Girls and knew by lower six what I wanted to do career wise, but I also knew that I needed a scholarship if I wanted to have any chance of going to university, so I started applying from then,” she explained.

Having scored nine Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) subjects at the general and advanced proficiency levels, Ford was a perfect candidate for a Burger King Scholarship since the programme, the brainchild of Lake Sherwood, was created in 2001 to help students who perform well in their exams and are in need of assistance to fund their academic pursuits.

Ford is the first in her family to attend university and she has hit the ground running, fully determined to make her family and country proud.

A member of The UWI Model United Nations Association, she has been selected to head the 20- member delegation comprising students of all four campuses of The UWI, to the Harvard University Model United Nations Competition in February, 2019.

The competition in Boston is modeled on the meetings of the United Nations General Assembly held annually at the United Nations in New York, at which the representatives of the 193 member states discuss and work together on a range of international issues.

The Harvard University competition, however, requires delegates to represent countries other than their own, thus encouraging research and understanding of issues facing other countries — perfect training for the aspiring ambassador who is also a Jamaica National 'Wise Aspiring Youth Ambassador', and a member of The UWI Rotaract Club.

She has also benefitted from a Burger King-funded training programme in public speaking, protocol and personal presentation, which has been “a big help in preparing for the future”.

Ford has already also received a taste of what working in international relations might be like, having interned this summer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade. She is even more inspired having observed and been encouraged by “the passion for the work” displayed by Foreign Trade Department head Edmund Reid and her supervisor in internship, Joan Thomas Edwards.

Ford declares “total admiration” for Kamina Johnson Smith, minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade, who she describes as “a powerful woman, fantastic minister and a role model” for what she intends to become.

“One day I may be in that position, proudly representing my country,” the young woman said as she expressed thanks for the “Burger King Scholarship that has paved the way for my success” .

The tradition continues tomorrow, Monday, August 20 at Terra Nova All Suite Hotel, when over the fast food franchise will award 24 new and repeat scholars with a total of $5 million.

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