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Who Is A Rhodes Scholar And What Is Rhodes Scholarship?

Posted on Sep 20, 2019
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Rhodes Scholarship is the world’s oldest fellowship established by a British colonist, Cecil J. Rhodes in 1902. It is an international postgraduate award offering over 100 fully-funded scholarships for students to study at Oxford The recipients of this award are the Rhodes Scholars, some of the most outstanding individuals from around the world. The purpose of this scholarship initially was to promote unity among English-speaking nations. The requirements have obviously evolved over the years.

  • History
  • The program was established as per the last and final will of Late Cecil Rhodes, who was an Oxford graduate himself. He outlined the plan that would bring students across different countries together with the hope that it would promote international peace. The first plan was designed for nine English- speaking countries and since then has expanded to Germany, Hong Kong, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Pakistan, Singapore, South Africa, Uganda and many more. Now over a hundred years later, it is still the most prestigious international scholarship programs in the world.
    Until 1976, the applicants had to be male and unmarried, between the ages 19 and 25. They had to have at least five years’ residency in the British Commonwealth or colonies. In 1970, Parliament passed the Sex Discrimination Act, banning any kind of discrimination based on sex, including in the education sector. So, from 1976 women were allowed to appear as candidates. In 2018, the scholarships were opened to students of all nations

    The program boasts of being not simply a financial bursary but also providing exclusive opportunities to students who demonstrate an exceptional potential to make a difference in the world. The selection committee does not solely focus on academic excellence but also on your character, leadership, and commitment to serve. Rhodes scholarship is seen more as an investment in promising individuals rather than a proposal. It also opens up opportunities for Scholars after and during their time at Oxford.
    The specific criteria on which the grading system is based are-
    • Literary and scholastic attainments
    • Energy to use one’s talent to the full (sports, music, debate, dance, theatre, etc.0
    • Truth, courage, devotion to duty, sympathy for and protection of the weak, kindliness, unselfishness and fellowship
    • Moral force of character and instincts to lead, and to take an interest in one’s fellow beings
    Rhodes specified a 200-point scale, applied to each of the four areas. He also emphasized that the scholars should be distributed among the colleges at Oxford. Each country’s scholarship varies in its selectivity. As of 2018, scholars have been selected from over 20 constituencies (64 countries).

    • Career Trajectories

    Most Rhodes Scholars have been credited with respectable careers and ‘changing the world’. The most notable impact of the Rhodes Scholarship is probably in the field of medicine and science. The highest-ranking career choice for Rhodes Scholars is education and academia. They are known for their political activism and intellectual; responsibility. Various other fields include-
    • Law
    • Education and child welfare
    • Civil and Human rights
    • Genetics
    • Disease and epidemiology
    • Literature
    • Space exploration and cosmology

    • Recipients

    Some of the notable Rhodes Scholars include-
    • Wasim Sajjad- Former President of Pakistan
    • Tony Abbott- Former Australian Prime Ministers
    • Bill Clinton- Former President of the United States
    • Susan Rice- United States Ambassador to the United Nations
    • Rachel Maddow- MSNBC host and the first openly gay American to win a Rhodes Scholarship
    • Bill Bradley- Olympic gold medalist for basketball

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