The prestigious Rhodes Scholarships are for postgraduate applicants to study at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.
The addition of the two new scholarships bring the total number of awards to 100. The remaining 98 are awarded to particular jurisdictions. The trust plans to increase from two Global Scholarships to more over the coming years.
“[We] do not feel constrained by who Rhodes was as a person… our mission [is] to find incredibly talented people”
Charles Conn, CEO of the Rhodes Trust and warden of the Rhodes House at Oxford, commented, “As an organisation based in Oxford, we are very excited to be able to now offer the opportunity to British students to join the Rhodes community for the first time since the Scholarship program was launched in 1903.”
“Students from regions such as Latin America and elsewhere who did not previously have access to a route to a Rhodes Scholarship can now also join our international network,” he added.
The scholarships were originally limited to countries named in Cecil Rhodes’ will, but as more funding became available the trust opened the program to more jurisdictions and regions around the world.
Scholarships were first available for students in China, East and West Africa, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Palestine, Singapore, Syria and the United Arab Emirates. With the introduction of the two Global Scholarships, students from every country are permitted to apply.
Sir John Hood KNZM, Chairman of the Rhodes Trust, said that diversity is paramount for the program.
“Without different viewpoints and ideas, we will not answer the world’s most complex questions,” he said. “We are proud that we are able to announce a truly global offer to today’s courageous young leaders all around the world. I am extremely thankful to our supportive donors, who have enabled our expansion and helped us achieve this goal.”
Despite his death in 1902, Cecil Rhodes has not left the public eye. In 2015, students at South Africa’s Rhodes University protested and demanded the removal of his statue from their campus, arguing it remained symbolic of imperial rule.
The current leadership of the Rhodes trust and Rhodes House at Oxford see this move as distancing the modern scholarship from its creator. Charles Conn said the organisation “do not feel constrained by who Rhodes was as a person… we believe in our mission to find incredibly talented people who will change the world for the better, they’re just as likely to be found in Indonesia as in Ohio”.
Notable Rhodes Scholars include Notable alumni include former US President Bill Clinton, former Prime Minister of Canada John Turner, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and US media personality Rachel Maddow.