'A very natural act': alumnus gives back to the Department that equipped him with life skills

An LSE alumnus has decided to give back to the Department that equipped him with the ‘life skill of critical thinking’ by establishing a scholarship for postgraduate students who wish to follow in his footsteps. 

Carsten Stoehr graduated with an MSc Government in 1993, and has since become Global Head of Financial Market Sales at Standard Chartered Bank, via a 17-year period at Credit Suisse. He has now set up a scholarship for a student in the Department of Government. Neivean Latif is the first recipient, and she started her MSc in Conflict Studies this academic year.

Carsten remarked: “A master’s at LSE from the Department of Government, with its outstanding faculty and programme, did exactly what I had expected when applying, enhancing my knowledge and deepening my passion for politics. However it did a lot more – it equipped me with the life skill of critical thinking and enabled me to clearly understand the interdependencies of decision-making beyond just the field of government and politics. These are skill sets that have continuously played an important role in my life, whether in my professional, personal or social endeavours.”  

He describes giving back to LSE as a ‘very natural act’: “I have seen how scholarship or other methods of support have provided unimaginable opportunities for talented people. The notion of enabling an individual to benefit from an LSE experience in their quest to hone their skills and their potential was very appealing. A scholarship is not only a financial commitment of support – it also conveys a strong intent of shared principles and goals. It’s a journey, and the scholarship is an enabler of the journey. And I have no doubt that I will gain valuable insights from these talented individuals as they progress through this journey.”

Neivean, brought up in the West Bank and with ambitions to apply her learning in conflict studies to a role at the UN, speaks about how the scholarship has altered her perspective on philanthropic giving. “I think I almost fainted when I found out I had a scholarship, and that I would be going to London to study at LSE,” she said. “Before it was just a long shot, an application I made in order to say I did my best. When I got the acceptance it was a ‘wow’ moment, and then finding out about the full scholarship – that was the jackpot. I had no idea how receiving a gift like this could feel or how it can make such a drastic change to someone’s life until I was given that opportunity. I would definitely go down the same path as Carsten after LSE.”

Having enjoyed her first term at the School, she believes the unique character of LSE is in its diversity. “Already I have learned not just academically, but also from the range of people here. And I don’t just mean in terms of nationalities, but also in terms of personalities. LSE brings all that diversity together and that gives it a unique edge – combined with the high standard of academic teaching, the School has really broadened my horizons. Scholarships that can enable someone like me to attend can only serve to help perpetuate this diversity.”

As part of its commitment to ensuring that an LSE education should not be based on the financial background of a student, the School has pledged to broaden the student population and dramatically widen participation in university education. If you are interested in helping talented students to come to LSE, please contact LSE Advancement on 020 7955 7361 or advancement@lse.ac.uk