Skip to Main Content

​The Rhodes Trust Announces Major Strategic and Geographic Expansion for its Second Century

  • The Rhodes Trust is expanding its scope of supporting global leaders who will help create a more democratic, more just and more equal world.
  • The Rhodes Trust has joined with The Atlantic Philanthropies in a £75m partnership to support its new international network of Atlantic Fellows, including the establishment of an Atlantic Institute at Rhodes House in Oxford, as well as support for the Rhodes Scholarships.
  • The Rhodes Scholarships has embarked on a substantial global expansion, adding new Scholarships for Africa, Israel and the Middle East, and Southeast Asia.

Supporting dynamic leaders globally with the launch of the Atlantic Institute

The Rhodes Trust – the preeminent international scholarship programme established at Oxford University in 1903 – selects creative young leaders with a commitment to serving others. In the century since the establishment of the Rhodes Scholarships, the Trust has convened a community of extraordinary people who share a history of enriching their communities, pioneering in their chosen fields, and applying the knowledge and experience acquired as Scholars to the betterment of their societies.

Rhodes Scholars in OxfordThe Rhodes Trust has developed extensive programmes for current Scholars and alumni. Current Scholars undertake a comprehensive character, service and leadership development programme during their time at Oxford, and alumni gather at Rhodes House for global topic conferences. The Trust is now expanding its focus to convene new audiences who are part of addressing the world’s most pressing challenges.

As part of this widened focus, the Rhodes Trust is today announcing a £75 million partnership with The Atlantic Philanthropies, an international, limited-life foundation established by entrepreneur Charles F. Feeney. The Rhodes Trust will work with an interconnected set of Atlantic Fellows programmes to create the Atlantic Institute, a central convening and knowledge-sharing hub for the global network of Atlantic Fellows. Dynamic, accomplished leaders and thinkers, Atlantic Fellows are researchers, teachers, health professionals, activists, scholars, entrepreneurs, artists, writers, government officials and others dedicated to tackling global challenges to health, equity, opportunity and inclusion.

“From its inception, Atlantic has invested in people and in their vision and ability to realise a better world,” said Christopher G. Oechsli, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Atlantic Philanthropies. “In our final year of grantmaking, we are making our largest philanthropic investment ever, in people. Atlantic’s grant to the Rhodes Trust is one of a series of big bets to create an interconnected set of Atlantic Fellows programmes. Our vision for the Atlantic Fellows programmes is to connect and empower a new generation of people who are committed to working together, across disciplines and borders, to build fairer, healthier, more inclusive societies. The Rhodes Trust has built an unparalleled community of leaders with a commitment to serve others and better society. Their experience and their vision to amplify the impact of the existing network of Rhodes Scholars make them an ideal partner to connect and strengthen the new Atlantic Fellows programmes and their prospect for impact.”

Connecting Atlantic Fellows around the world, the Atlantic Institute will maximise their impact in addressing persistent challenges to societies locally and globally. The grant will also enable the Atlantic Institute to provide additional support to Fellows and alumni throughout their careers, including global convenings to allow participants and alumni across programs to connect, as well as annual innovation prizes for Atlantic Fellows and alumni to develop and implement particularly creative and effective ideas. Three Atlantic Fellows programmes - at the Global Brain Health Institute, the Health Equity Initiative in Southeast Asia, and the International Inequalities Institute - have already been announced. Several other Atlantic Fellows programmes will be announced in the coming months. The complete network of all Atlantic Fellows programmes and the new Atlantic Institute will represent an investment of over £400 million, making it The Atlantic Philanthropies’ largest in its 35 year history.

DSC 0897

The Atlantic Institute grant also includes a capital project at Rhodes House to allow for expanded convening and conferences in Oxford. It will expand the capacity of Rhodes House to 750, including a large presentation, arts and theatre space below ground level. The funding from The Atlantic Philanthropies is also fortifying the core Rhodes Scholarships and helping create a new award, the Rhodes Fellowships, which will support mid-career individuals with breakthrough projects. The Atlantic Institute will also benefit Rhodes Scholars, who will be able to participate in topic convenings and who may be candidates for Atlantic Fellows programmes in the future.

Sir John Hood, Chairman of the Rhodes Trust, said: “The Rhodes Trust is delighted to be announcing the launch of the Atlantic Institute. This is a significant development in the Trust’s 113 year history and allows us to advance our goal of promoting collaboration among global leaders. The Rhodes Scholarships are designed to inspire generations of talented young people to do good throughout the world.

Geographic expansion for the Rhodes Scholarships

The Rhodes Trust is today also announcing a major global expansion, adding Scholarships for Africa, Israel and the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. In partnership with the Saïd Foundation, the University of Oxford, and selected Oxford colleges, there will be new Scholars from Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine.

The Rhodes Trust is also announcing new Scholarships for Israel, supported by an international coalition of donors. Furthermore, the Rhodes Trust is announcing an increase in the number of Scholars from Africa, with the addition of a West Africa Scholarship supported by investor and philanthropist Miles Morland and the Cohen Charitable Trust. Africa will be a focus for further Scholarship expansion in 2017.

Announced at a gala event in London last week, the Rhodes Trust is partnering with the Khazanah Foundation for an expansion in Southeast Asia, with a Rhodes Scholarship for Malaysia. It has also partnered with the Stephen A. Schwarzman Education Foundation to enable Scholarship funding for China, Schwarzman and Rhodes Scholar exchange programmes, and leadership development collaboration.

Rhodes Scholars in the Rosebery Room at Rhodes House [insert image of scholars standing by table here above]The total number of Scholarships awarded each year will increase from 83 to 95, including the four new Chinese Scholarships announced last year. This increases the number of Rhodes Scholars studying at the University of Oxford at any one time to approximately 250. The expansion into these regions marks a historic moment for the Rhodes Trust, and further strengthens the opportunity for broader global collaboration and understanding. Further details on each geographic expansion will follow in subsequent country-specific press releases.

Charles Conn, Warden of Rhodes House, said: “Our aspiration is to identify and support innovative, energetic and ethical young leaders globally. The addition of these new Scholars from regions that have an important international role to play in the 21st century marks a substantial step in that direction. We see the value of additional cultural diversity in our cohorts of Scholars every day: they learn from each other in profound ways, leaving behind the narrow interests of individual nationalities. The new Rhodes Scholars will contribute significantly through sharing their skills, experiences and energy with their peers at Oxford and we look forward to welcoming them to Rhodes House.

Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, said: “I am absolutely delighted that there will now be Rhodes Scholarships for students from across Israel and the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and more Rhodes Scholarships in West Africa. Embracing global talent and diverse perspectives is a hallmark of pre-eminent universities and bringing more Rhodes Scholars to the University will enhance Oxford as a truly international community of scholars."