Tue | Dec 5, 2023

Malike Kellier shares his Chevening journey

Published:Wednesday | September 27, 2023 | 12:05 AMKeisha Hill/Senior Gleaner Writer
Malike Kellier
Malike Kellier
Malike Kellier and other students of the UCL Faculty of Law.
Malike Kellier and other students of the UCL Faculty of Law.

MALIKE KELLIER has been raising the bar at all levels of his life – from youth advocacy to attorney-at-law, and now, a Chevening scholar. He is a 2022 Jamaica Chevening Scholar, assistant director of public prosecutions, adjunct lecturer at The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Law, a justice of the peace, and youth leader extraordinaire.

Kellier was introduced to the scholarship at an information session in 2015 while he was still at the Norman Manley Law School, and it piqued his interest. Every year since then he would follow the announcements of the Jamaican scholars, review their profiles, and watch their Chevening journey unfold via social media.

“I wanted to have that experience of networking with other global leaders and being taught by world-class academics and leading researchers while still enjoying the United Kingdom culture and diversity that comes with studying in such an international space. It was also gratifying to see what the scholars did next after they return home to Jamaica from their Chevening year and utilise their new degrees and skill set,” Kellier said.

Kellier said he was very happy but a little nervous about venturing into a new space. He was also relieved to be at the end of the application process. “I was excited because of the life-changing and fulfilling experience the scholarship would provide to me to study and live in the United Kingdom for a year. I am also very thankful to the Jamaica Chevening network I had as support to help me through the process such as former scholars Monique Long, Dervin Osbourne, Andre Coore, Sabrina Cross Warner, Yanique Gardener Brown, and Adley Duncan,” he said.

The 2021 recipient of the Prime Minister’s Youth Award for Excellence in National Leadership and a Governor General’s I Believe Initiative Ambassador completed a Master of Laws (LLM) in human rights law at UCL (University College London).

“I chose this specialism because of the interesting modules and lecturers who would be teaching them. Many are experts and leading researchers, such as Professor Cheryl Thomas KC, head of the first Judicial Studies Institute in the world, covering topics such as how judges think and administer justice, as well as Professor David Ormerod KC, professor of criminal law, who is the former editor of Blackstone’s a criminal lawyer practitioner text used worldwide,” Kellier said.

Kellier indicated that he valued both of his lecturers and the network that they have created. As an attorney employed to the government service, he had a keen interest in public law, judicial review, constitutional law, and human rights, which overlapped in many ways.

“I want to be able to use the new and comparative knowledge and experiences I have received from this degree to enhance Jamaica’s responses to human rights issues and public law concerns within the criminal justice system,” Kellier said.

During his Chevening journey, Kellier was the Graduate Law Society president at UCL. This position gave him the opportunity to interact with a variety of students and staff on both the professional and social levels.

“I met persons from every corner of the globe while also getting the front- and back-row understanding of the UK higher education system because of these interactions and the events we executed,” he said.

He was also one of the dean’s law representatives at Goodenough College, the hall of residence he stayed on which represents postgraduate students studying law at various universities in London residing at the college. This opportunity allowed him to meet various judges of the UK Supreme Court and Court of Appeal through the various seminars and faculty dinners hosted by the college.

“My Chevening journey was really a roller coaster ride of experiences, and I can confidently say I took the UK by storm with a positive and flexible attitude to engage, learn, and grow. I realise no two Chevening scholar’s experiences are the same and that the individual must curate the experience they want to have,” Kellier said.

He graduated on Friday, September 8, as valedictorian of the UCL LLM Graduating Class. He is the second known Jamaican Chevening Scholar since Kemesha Kelly in 2018 to achieve this honour. He ensured that Jamaica was on show in his speech by citing the famous Marcus Garvey quote ‘There is no force like success’.

“Living in such a diverse and fast-paced society has reinforced for me some of the values I have been taught before such as perseverance, time management, and mental fortitude. Studying far from home, especially in a country that is cold and dark for most days, and dealing with teacher and transportation strikes can be a truly daunting experience. But remembering ‘no man is an island’, that spirit of community I extended to others and they extended to me has truly made a difference in my life,” Kellier said.

He indicated that he had to remind himself to be confident in his abilities and share his experiences while networking, realising it was quite fine to go out and explore on his own.

“I think we come from a culture in Jamaica where we always have to go everywhere with people that may not necessarily be interested in the same things, they may want to do but go for the sake of our peer group. But it is also good to go out and take on some adventures on your own and meet new people in that process also to further expand one’s network,” Kellier said.

Kellier has returned to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions as an assistant director of public prosecutions. The staff has been very supportive of his journey and are eagerly awaiting his return, especially to some of the responsibilities he shoulders such as social welfare chairman.

“With the LLM in human rights law, I intend to also take up leadership roles in our Human Rights, Human Trafficking and Sexual Offences Unit within the office and provide support to younger counsel in that unit,” Kellier said.

Additionally, he will also return to his adjunct lecturer position at the UWI Mona Law.