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Historic Class of 101 new Rhodes Scholars

The Rhodes Trust today announces a record-breaking class of 101 new Rhodes Scholars.  This cohort, who will arrive at Rhodes House, Oxford, in October 2019, features young people from all fields of study who have exceptional leadership potential and share a commitment to positive change.

The Rhodes Class of 2019 will be the most geographically diverse in the Trust’s 116 year history.  Scholars were selected from two new Rhodes constituencies, East Africa (Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Sudan and Burundi) and Saudi Arabia, as well as from a reinstated Singapore constituency. 

For the first time, the Trust also offered two Rhodes Scholarships to candidates from anywhere in the world not otherwise eligible to apply, a significant step in its efforts to make the Rhodes a truly global Scholarship.  Applications for the new Global Scholarship were received from 32 countries. 

The two inaugural Global Scholars who will join the 2019 cohort are Olga Romanova from Russia and Adam Abebe from Ethiopia. Olga is currently studying bio-engineering at Harvard where she is developing a skin temperature correlation model, which will be incorporated in a wearable device for paediatric cancer patients. Olga was raised in Japan and represented Japan at four World Championships with a National Synchronized Skating Team. She hopes to bring together the fields of bioengineering, global health and social policy through her studies at Oxford. Adam is a student at University of Pennsylvania, majoring in Health and Societies with a Master’s in Non-Profit Leadership. Having lived in several African countries, Adam has focused on international development across different sectors, including conducting research on mitochondrial proteins, Malawi population affected by HIV and AIDS, and the impact of Chinese investment on Ethiopian infrastructure. At Oxford, he plans to conduct research in the area of international development.


Dr Elizabeth Kiss, CEO and Warden of the Rhodes Trust, commented: "All of us at Rhodes House are looking forward to meeting this new group of remarkable young people from all corners of the world. Their interests range widely, from genomics to poetry, human rights to nanoparticles. Many have overcome challenging life circumstances, from refugee status to foster care to navigating education as a first-generation college student. All of them demonstrate the power of the human spirit to strive and excel and give me great hope for the future. The Trust’s geographic expansion is critical to our ability to sustain the status of the Rhodes as the world’s most prestigious post-graduate fellowship. Even more importantly, it enables us to create a community of friendship and shared discovery that brings together young people from all over the world, ensuring that our Scholars are equipped to approach the world’s most complex questions with curiosity, a cooperative spirit and the ability to cross boundaries, challenge stereotypes and break down walls. I am extremely grateful to all the generous donors who have supported the launch of these expansion Scholarships and look forward to continuing our efforts to secure funding for additional Scholarships.”

The Trust’s efforts to ensure that the world’s diversity is reflected at Rhodes House have expanded the Rhodes Scholarship to new countries and regions in recent years, including China, West Africa, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Palestine, Singapore, Syria and the United Arab Emirates. The most recent expansion increases the number of Rhodes Scholars studying at the University of Oxford at any one time to more than 250.

Class of 2019 Collage

Class of 2019