Skip to Main Content

​Retreat on Service & Leadership for First Year Scholars

Today and this weekend sees the Service & Leadership Scholar retreat for first year Scholars take place at Rhodes House. Over three days, Scholars explore in depth what service and leadership means to them, and consider ethical leadership, human nature, race, gender, visions of justice, and how to sustain a life of service. The format is based around a series of readings, talks and discussions, with sessions being moderated by Senior Scholars.


Day one considers issues connected to leadership and ethics:

  • What is leadership?Where our values come from
  • Ethical leadership and action
​Retreat on Service & Leadership for First Year Scholars

Day two explores identity and community:

  • Human nature: who are we?
  • Liberty, justice and community
  • Addressing difference: inequality, gender, race and redistribution
​Retreat on Service & Leadership for First Year Scholars

Day three looks at justice and service:

  • How do we think about justice, history and community
  • What enables powerful service
  • Practices of friendship, solitude and self-care

There are sessions for reflection, informal discussion and talks by speakers including Dr Bronwyn Tarr (St Andrew's College, Grahamstown & Hertford 2009) on science and social cooperation, Dr Elleke Boehmer (South Africa-at-Large & St John's 1985), and Dr Bill Lewis (Virginia & New College 1963).

The retreat forms part of a wider Service & Leadership programme at Rhodes House, which includes a retreat for second year Scholars on building a life of purpose, meaning and balance, and skills workshops on areas such as problem solving and leadership styles. In addition, it also formalises many of the events which have been happening in recent years such as welcome week, speaker talks, global challenges lunches and summer internships. Charles Conn, Warden of Rhodes House, commented: "The two year Service & Leadership programme provides a comprehensive set of events and training modules which provide opportunities for Rhodes Scholars in residence to develop practical leadership and life skills, as well as looking at the theoretical underpinnings of effective and ethical leadership. The retreats help build strong Rhodes cohort cohesion, and allow for a deeper examination of what it means to live a meaningful and purpose-driven life."