Rhodes Scholars are women and men drawn from diverse backgrounds in many countries. They are leaders in extra-curricular activities, committed to promoting the public good. In Oxford, as well as focusing on their studies and related academic and professional activities, Rhodes Scholars are active in their colleges, departments, University clubs and societies, and their local, national, and international communities. Many take part in sporting, musical, theatrical, political, religious, and other activities. They are also deeply engaged in community service activities in Oxford and around the world, and the advocacy of causes they believe important for the world’s future.
The photo gallery below illustrates a selection of Rhodes Scholar activities:
Current Scholars in Oxford organise many groups and activities themselves, including those featured below. The listing of a group does not reflect a formal endorsement by the Rhodes Trust, nor do any opinions stated by them necessarily reflect those held by the Trust. They are independent groups, but are expected to demonstrate a sense of inclusivity and the scope for dialogue, debate and a diversity of views.
Rhodes Scholars are involved in the annual Global Scholars Symposium and associated Global Scholar Network. The Global Scholars Symposium (GSS) aims to generate dialogue between prominent world leaders and bright scholars. They believe the largest and most persistent global issues require a commitment to work across disciplines and generations to connect current expertise with ideas for tomorrow. In line with this mission, the Global Scholars Network (GSN) is a developing initiative aiming to promote a community of scholars dedicated to sustained action on these issues.
The Black Association of Rhodes Scholars (BARS) is committed to creating an environment that encourages a diversity of perspectives, identities, and experiences, in which we facilitate dialogue about issues concerning Black peoples around the world. We aim to foster unity among Black Rhodes Scholars, both past and present. Also, we aspire to impact the Oxford community at large through service, advocacy and effective representation on University commissions that promote racial awareness, equality and diversity. We host a welcome event at the start of each academic year, meet termly for themed discussions, and every October, host events that celebrate the history and traditions of Black peoples for Black History Month. Past events include lectures on black leadership in the 21st century by Ghanaian President John Kufuor and entrepreneur Mo Ibrahim, and a Black women’s forum. All are welcome to join the organisation or attend events. For more information, or to discuss the experiences of Black Scholars, email Josh Aiken or Aliyyah Ahad.
Since 2006, women Rhodes Scholars at Oxford have been meeting as part of a lunchtime series to share their personal stories and reflect on being women scholars. Established under the leadership of former Rhodes Trustee and Pro Vice-Chancellor, Professor Elizabeth Fallaize, Rhodes Women have created mentoring opportunities for female scholars in Oxford, organised seminars on issues such as building a career in academia and dealing with gender in fieldwork experiences. If you would like to get involved with Rhodes Women's activities, or would like to find out more, please contact Joanne Cave or Tara Paterson.
Oxford is generally considered to be a safe and welcoming place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, and other sexual orientation and gender indentity minority students. The Rhodes community is no exception. LGBTQ Scholars have an active, convivial association with a reception at the beginning of the year, informal gatherings and discussions on current affairs, events with guests like Justice Edwin Cameron of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, and a listserv for past and present members of the community. For more information about the group or LGBTQ life at Oxford, email Patrick Bateman, Spencer Lenfield, or Danielle Leonard, or ask Rhodes House to put you in touch. For a video prepared by current and recent Rhodes Scholars for the 'It Gets Better' campaign, click here.
The Rhodes Social Impact Group (RSIG) aims to provide a dynamic and supportive community that nurtures and inspires Scholars engaged in, or interested in, activities with social impact. The group’s official launch event took place in Trinity 2011 and offered Scholars the opportunity to learn about service going on in the Rhodes community and connect with others sharing similar social impact interests. RSIG also organises various showcase of Scholars’ work, interests, and passions, highlighting different projects and groups in which Scholars have actively participated. Upcoming events for Hilary term include discussions around gender-based violence and identity politics. For more information, please contact Mubeen Shakir.
Redress Rhodes is a group of Scholars dedicated to developing a more critical, honest, and inclusive reflection of the legacy of Cecil John Rhodes and a clearer understanding of how it relates to the image, mission, and purpose of the Scholarships. We believe that an appreciation of this legacy is an essential element of what it means to be a Rhodes Scholar, and that more awareness regarding this legacy would both benefit scholars and the reception of the Scholarship in a global context. Redress Rhodes is working in partnership with the Warden and Rhodes House on a variety of issues, including improving the institutional history of the Trust and on prioritising fundraising for the African scholarships. Our engagement with the Trust in the past has led to crafting a collaborative toast to raise at the Going Down dinner in 2015 (instead of raising an unqualified toast to the Founder), and creating avenues for Scholars going down, to divert their leavers donations to sustaining and expanding the Scholarships in African constituencies. Many Scholars who feel that reparative justice should be a more central theme of the Rhodes community chose to exercise this option. For more information on Redress Rhodes you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Rhodes Science Group provides a forum for Scholars, scientists and non-scientists alike, to talk and learn about interdisciplinary issues in science. The goals of the group are to: give scholars an opportunity to learn about each others' research areas, give scholars an opportunity to talk about science to a broader audience, and consider larger issues through the lens of various scientific disciplines. We invite scholars to speak about their area of interest or expertise at our discussion sessions. Sessions cover wide-ranging topics; from focusing on the role of technology in education and learning, to a consideration of cancer genetics. The range also spans themes such as string theory, psychology, chemistry and healthcare, to name a few! For more information, please email Katharina Behr, Nikita Kaushal, Clayton Aldern or Anna Zawilska.
The Rhodes Politics Society celebrates all things political, bringing together Scholars who want to exchange ideas about public policy, economics, and the future of international relations. Our events are a mix of book club discussion, debate, wine tasting and plain old-fashioned socialising. We do not have a particular ideological bent but we certainly welcome members who do, and the fun debate that then follows! Whatever your stripe, indeed whether you have one or not, this is a place for you to meet other Scholars who are interested in what public policy and politics can achieve for others. For more information, contact Patrick Bateman.
The Rhodes Christian Fellowship Group provides a community for Scholars of Christian faith to meet and fellowship together through dinners, bible study groups and various other activities. The group also seeks to dialogue with, and to learn from Rhodes Scholars of all backgrounds by hosting more general events and conversations at Rhodes House on faith and life's big questions. For more information, please e-mail Chrystelle Opope Wedi or Evan Szablowski. More information: http://rhodeschristianfellowship.wordpress.com/
The Rhodes Scholars' Southern Africa Forum (RSSAF) is a charitable organisation dedicated to enacting positive change in Southern Africa. RSSAF's mission is three-fold; to increase awareness of social, political and economic issues in Southern Africa, to raise and distribute funds to support small-scale community development (whilst also providing non-monetary support through a scholar-led consultancy program) and to stimulate discussion about the historical relationship between the Scholarship and the region. At the core of our work is our grants programme which supports at least 6 organisations annually. Recent funded projects have included the support of an urban community waste and recycling initiative in Kenya, a micro-credit funding scheme in Tanzania and a post-conflict counseling programme in eastern DRC. Our events are long-celebrated traditions within the Rhodes community and include our 'Welcome Day Auction', 'Rhodies and Friends Recital' and 'Promises Auction' (which in 2014 raised over £3,500). Please email the RSSAF Co-convenors Heloise Greef and Vinesh Rajpaul for more information. The RSSAF Grant Officers are Priyanka de Souza and Natasha Chilundika.
The Rhodes China Forum (RCF) is a fully inclusive organisation that convenes regular meetings to discuss the significance of China in the larger world, while highlighting current Scholars' relevant experiences and research. We will cover topics from various disciplines including history, politics, literature, and international relations and will strive to adapt discussion topics to participants' specific interests as well as current events. In addition to convening regular meetings, the RCF will build and maintain a network of Scholars engaged with China and facilitate communication between Scholars from different classes. Please contact Sam Galler for more information.
The Rhodes Wellness Group aims to help Scholars engage fully with their time in Oxford. Whilst coming to Oxford is exciting and a great privilege, the Oxford environment can be high pressure, and many Scholars experience periods of stress and difficulty. The Rhodes Wellness Group exists to support Scholars here in Oxford, promoting strategies for resilience, life balance, and wellness in general. To this end, we will be organising a number of events, including guest speakers, mindfulness courses, yoga sessions, running groups, wellness retreats, and mentorship/peer support programmes. Keep an eye open for emails throughout the year inviting you to events and come along! If you would like to get involved in the Rhodes Wellness Group, or have any ideas of other events, please contact Tenzin Seldon or Joshua Chauvin.
Annually, Rhodes Scholars are invited to join the one 'Team Rhodes Scholar' that exists - the Rhodes Cricket XI. During Trinity Term and the summer, this composite side of many talents and nationalities takes on established cricket teams in Oxford and touring part-timers from Australia, as preparation for the now traditional finale of the Rhodes season, the Rhodes-Commonwealth Scholar cricket match. The team showcases all levels of cricketing skill. Open to both men and women, it is common for a Varsity Blues cricket player to play alongside a total newcomer to the sport, and an Australian to shout in support of a South African team mate! A great spirit dominates the side, and there is a healthy competitive edge - especially in what has now become a traditional summer 'grudge' match up and against the Commonwealth Scholars. We're always looking for more players and setting up matches for the summer period. Please contact: Andrew Dean for more information or if you would like to arrange a match against the team.
Rhodes Chorus was formed in the spring of 2014 with the aim of joining scholars together in the appreciation of song. The group meets each week in Rhodes House to work on various a cappella SATB arrangements, and it maintains an informal atmosphere. Rhodes Chorus has performed at events at Rhodes House and looks to continue doing so in the future, expanding its repertoire along the way. For more information, please contact Phillip Yao.