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Forty Years of Rhodes Women: Programme

Explore the sessions and activities scheduled throughout the anniversary weekend. Details may be subject to changes over the coming weeks.

Thursday 14 September

4:00 – 7:00pm
Registration and Welcome Tea
7:00 – 9:30pm
Informal Dinners

Current Scholars will host social, pay-your-own-way dinners at local restaurants. Participants who signed up via the online survey will be contacted in advance by the Scholar hosting their dinner.

Friday 15 September

8:00am – 7:00pm
Registration is Open Throughout the Day
7:00 – 8:00am
Leisure Activities (Yoga, Jogging, Walks)
8:00 – 9:30am
Welcome Breakfast
9:30 – 10:00am
Welcome to Rhodes House

The Rhodes Trust and the Community of Scholars extend a warm welcome to all participants of the 40 Years of Rhodes Women celebratory weekend.

  • Charles Conn (Massachusetts & Balliol, 1983), Warden and CEO, Rhodes Trust
  • Karen Stevenson (Maryland & DC & Magdalen, 1979), Trustee, Rhodes Trust and U.S. Magistrate Judge, United States District Court
  • René Verma (India & Lady Margaret Hall, 2016), current Rhodes Scholar
10:00 – 11:15am
Opening Plenary

Standing Up for the World: Rhodes Women addressing the world’s problems

Rhodes Women have been a force of change in all disciplines and geographies throughout the 40 years that they have been eligible for the Scholarship.

  • Penelope Brook (New Zealand & Nuffield, 1985), Executive Director, The Atlantic Institute
  • Maria Sachiko Cecire (Virginia & Keble, 2006), Assistant Professor of Literature, Bard College
  • Shahana Rasool (South-Africa-at-Large and St Cross, 1998), Associate Professor of Social Work, University of Johannesburg 
  • Roopa Unnikrishnan (India & Balliol, 1995), Head of Strategy, HARMAN & Connected Car Division, HARMAN International
  • Denise Thal (Michigan & Jesus, 1977), Executive Vice President, Planned Parenthood of Michigan
  • Moderated by: Nadiya Figueroa (Jamaica & St Catherine’s, 2007), Dean and Director for Leadership and Change, The Rhodes Trust
11:15 – 12:30pm
Sessions in Parallel

1. Standing Up For the World: Politics, International Cooperation and Security

This session will examine how Rhodes Women are making a difference in this realm from the North American perspective.

  • Laurel Baig (British Columbia & St John’s, 1994), Senior Appeals Counsel, United Nations Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals
  • Jennifer Haverkamp (Ohio & Somerville, 1979), Former Ambassador & Special Representative, US Department of State
  • Michelle Johnson (Iowa & Brasenose, 1981), Lieutenant General, US Air Force
  • Jennifer Welsh (Prairies & St Anne's, 1987), Professor and Chair in International Relations, European University Institute; Former Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect to the UN Secretary General
  • Moderated by: Noorain Khan (Michigan & St. Antony's, 2006), Program Officer, Office of the President, Ford Foundation

2. Standing Up for the World: Technology

  • Joy Buolamwini (Tennessee & Jesus, 2013), Founder, Algorithmic Justice League and Code4Rights; Graduate Researcher, MIT Media Lab
  • Fiona Herring (Bermuda & Brasenose, 2003), Product Manager, Google
  • Bonolo Mathibela (South Africa-at-Large & New College, 2009), Robotics Engineer, IBM Research
  • Anasuya Sengupta (India & St Peter’s, 1996), Co-Founder & Coordinator, Whose Knowledge?
  • Moderated by: Jade Leung (New Zealand & Linacre, 2016), current Rhodes Scholar
12:30 – 2:30pm
2:30 – 3:45pm
Panel: The Trailblazers

Rhodes Women from early classes will share their perspectives on the meaning of the Scholarship and how it has evolved throughout their lives.

  • Barbara Grewe (Michigan & St Hilda’s, 1978), Manager International Strategy and Policy, MITRE Corporation
  • Lissa Muscatine (California & Wadham, 1977), Owner, Politics and Prose Bookstore; Former Speechwriter to Hillary Clinton
  • Sheila Niven (South Africa-at-Large & Hertford, 1977), Former Advisor to the Governor, Bank of Canada
  • Catherine Sweet (Virginia & St Antony's, 1977), Senior Lecturer, Southampton Solent University  
  • Moderated by: Sanya Samtani (India & Magdalen, 2015), current Rhodes Scholar
3:45 – 4:15pm
Coffee Break
4:15 – 5:30pm
Afternoon sessions in parallel

1. Standing Up for the World: Health

  • Ann Colbourne (Newfoundland & Corpus Christi, 1980), Clinical Transformation Officer, Alberta Health Services
  • Angel M. Foster (Oregon and St. Antony’s, 1996), Endowed Chair in Women's Health Research and Associate Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Ottawa
  • Christine Kennedy (Newfoundland & Trinity, 1997), Medical Officer of Health & CEO, Grey Bruce Health Unit
  • Heidi Stoeckl (Germany & Nuffield, 2006), Director, Gender Violence & Health Centre, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • Moderated by: Emily Mediate (Colorado & Magdalen, 2016), current Rhodes Scholar

2. Standing up for the World: Rule of Law and Justice

  • Bee Chen Goh (Malaysia & Lincoln, 1984), Professor & Former Head, School of Law and Justice, Southern Cross University
  • Elizabeth Hollingworth (Western Australia & St Edmund Hall, 1984), Judge, Supreme Court of Victoria
  • Chimène Keitner (Maritimes & New College, 1996), Alfred & Hanna Fromm Professor of International and Comparative Law, UC Hastings
  • Mary Murphy (New York & St Catherine's, 1981), Partner, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher 
  • Moderated by: Sarah Yerima (California & New College, 2015), current Rhodes Scholar

3. Standing Up For the Word: Sustainability and Climate Change

  • Sara Bronin (Texas & Magdalen, 2001), Thomas F. Gallivan Chair in Real Property Law and Faculty Director, Center for Energy and Environmental Law
  • Charalee Graydon (Prairies & Wadham, 1982) Author and Faculty Member at EUCLID University
  • Jennifer Haverkamp (Ohio & Somerville, 1979), Former US Ambassador and Special Representative for Environment and Water Resources, US Department of State
  • Clarke Knight (Nevada & Wolfson, 2014), PhD Candidate, Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, UC Berkeley 
  • Moderated by: Hila Levy (Colorado & Exeter, 2008), Scholar, University of Oxford 
4:00 – 5:30pm
In parallel: Visit to Ashmolean Museum
5:30 – 6:30pm
Free and Social Time
6:30 – 7:30pm
Welcome Reception
7:30 – 10:00pm
Welcome Dinner

Saturday 16 September

7:00 – 8:00am
Leisure Activities (Yoga, jogging and walks)
8:00 – 9:00am
9:00 – 9:20am
Special Address by Lord Patten of Barnes, Chancellor of the University of Oxford
9:20 – 9:30am
Special Video Message by Hillary Clinton, 67th United States Secretary of State
9:30 – 10.45am
Panel: Gender Equality and Empowerment
  • Michelle Norton (South Africa-at-Large & Magdalen, 1984), Advocate
  • Claudena Skran (Michigan & Magdalen, 1983), Edwin & Ruth West Professor of Economics and Social Science and Professor of Government, Lawrence University
  • Jessica Teich (Connecticut & Magdalen, 1981), Author
  • Annick Routhier Labadie (Quebec & Wadham, 2008), President, Mobius Bias Project
  • Moderated by: Kirsten Rowe (South African College School, Newlands & Linacre, 2016), current Rhodes Scholar
10.45 – 11:15am
Coffee Break
11:15 – 12:35pm
Ted-Style Talks with…
  • Nanette Fondas (West Virginia & Brasenose, 1981), Scholar, activist, author and mother
    "Who Cares? Standing up for mothers and other caregivers"
  • Kathleen McLaughlin (Arizona & Balliol, 1987), Senior Vice President, Chief Sustainability Officer for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.; President of the Walmart Foundation 
    “Fighting the world’s fight: the role of business in society”
  • Sandy Fredman (South-Africa-at-Large & Wadham, 1979), Professor of Law, University of Oxford
    "Educating for Empowerment"
  • Ann Olivarius (Connecticut & Somerville, 1978), Senior partner, McAllister Olivarius
    "What Rhodes Women Want"
12:35 – 2:00pm
2:00 – 3:30pm
Afternoon Sessions in Parallel

1. Standing up for the World: Business, Economics and Finance

  • Neeti Bhalla (Kenya & Templeton, 1998), Chief Investment Officer, Liberty Mutual Insurance Group
  • Jennifer Howard-Grenville (Alberta & New College, 1990), Diageo Professor in Organisation Studies, Director of the MPhil in Management Programme, Cambridge Judge Business School
  • Dara MacDonald (New Brunswick & St Antony's, 2008), Director, Corporate Banking, Scotia Bank
  • Muloongo Muchelemba (Zambia & Harris Manchester, 2002), Director, Standard Chartered Bank
  • Moderated by: Ashley Orr (Ohio & St John's, 2016), current Rhodes Scholar

2. Standing Up for the World: Science             

  • Bethany Ehlmann (Missouri & Keble, 2004), Professor of Planetary Science, Caltech; Research Scientist, NASA-JPL
  • Astrid Guttmann (Quebec & New College, 1987), Chief Science Officer, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences; Physician, SickKids
  • Caroline Huang (Delaware & Merton, 2010), Bioethics Fellow, The National Institutes of Health
  • Pamela McElwee (Kansas & Wadham, 1993), Associate Professor, Department of Human Ecology, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey 
  • Moderated by: Yichen Dai (Serena) (Hong Kong & St Catherine's, 2016), current Rhodes Scholar

3. Standing Up for the World: Humanities and the Arts:

  • Sarah McNamer (Montana & Merton, 1988), Associate Professor of English and Medieval Studies, Georgetown University
  • Siofra Pierse (Ireland & Trinity, 1994), Associate Professor of French, University College Dublin
  • Banuta Rubess (Ontario & St Antony's, 1978), Theatre Artist/Teacher, Centre for Drama, University of Toronto
  • Julie Taylor (Zimbabwe & St Antony's, 2003), Founder & Director, Guns & Rain Art
  • Moderated by: René Verma (India & Lady Margaret Hall, 2016), current Rhodes Scholar
2:00 – 3:30pm
In Parallel: Oxford Walks

3:30 -4:00pm
Coffee Break
4:00 – 5:00pm
Oxford University Meeting Minds: 40 Years of Rhodes Women

This session will explore and celebrate how Rhodes Women have made, and continue to make, a difference across the sectors and regions and will discuss the path ahead.

Please note the walk to the Mathematical Institute takes around 20 minutes. Staff will be in the Rotunda from 3.30pm to accompany delegates to the session.

  • Nancy-Ann DeParle (Tennessee & Balliol, 1979), Founding Partner and Partner at Consonance Capital; former  Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy in the administration of President Obama and Director of the Office of Health Reform
  • Menaka Guruswamy (India & University, 1998), Advocate, Supreme Court of India and Columbia Law School
  • Sylvia Mathews Burwell (West Virginia & Worcester, 1987), President, American University; 22nd United States Secretary of Health and Human Services
  • Jennifer Robinson (Australia-at-Large & Balliol, 2006), Barrister, Doughty Street Chambers, London
  • Moderated by: Ngaire Woods (New Zealand & Balliol, 1987), Inaugural Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government and Professor of Global Economic Governance and Trustee, Rhodes Trust
5:00 – 6:30pm
Free and Social Time
6:30 – 7:30pm
Drinks Reception

Please gather in Milner Hall at 7.00pm for a group commemorative photograph

7:30 – 8:00pm
Unveiling of Rhodes Women Portraits
8:00 – 10:00pm
Celebratory Dinner

Sunday 17 September

(* Indicates speaker yet to be confirmed)

7:00 – 8:00am
Leisure Activities (Yoga, jogging and walks)
8:00 – 9:00am
9:00 – 10:15am
Closing Plenary

Standing Up for the World in the Next 40 Years; Reflecting on the weekend and thinking about the future. What role will Rhodes Women play in tomorrow’s world? 


  • Elleke Boehmer (South Africa-at-Large & St John's, 1985), Trustee, Rhodes Trust; Professor of World Literature in English; Fellow of Wolfson College, University of Oxford
  • Ramona Doyle (Alabama & Somerville, 1981), CMO, Blade Therapeutics
  • Debi Ogunrinde (Maritimes & Keble, 2016), current Rhodes Scholar
  • Naying Ren (China & Linacre, 2016), current Rhodes Scholar

Closing Remarks:

  • Elleke Boehmer (South Africa-at-Large & St John's, 1985), Trustee, Rhodes Trust; Professor of World Literature in English; Fellow of Wolfson College, University of Oxford
  • Ashley Orr (Ohio & St John's, 2016), current Rhodes Scholar
10:15 – 11:45am
Office Hours

Rhodes women will have the opportunity to engage in mentoring according to interest and expertise in 15-minute slots

10:15 – 11:45am
In parallel: Unconference

During the unconference sessions, attendees have the opportunity to decide what topics will be discussed and will convene the individual breakout sessions. Additionally, participants will also have the opportunity in informal mentoring and networking.

11:45 – 1:00pm
Memorial Service for Lady Williams

Gil, Lady Williams, widow of Sir Edgar (Bill) Williams, Warden of Rhodes House 1952–1980, died on 14 March 2017. The Williams’ time at Rhodes House saw the extension of South African Scholarships and the introduction of women as Rhodes Scholars.

11:45 – 1:00pm
In parallel: Unconference

During the unconference sessions, attendees have the opportunity to decide what topics will be discussed and will convene the individual breakout sessions. Additionally, participants will also have the opportunity in informal mentoring and networking.

Closing Lunch
2:30 – 5:00pm
Rhodes Open House: Alumni Weekend Tea

All 40 Years of Rhodes Women participants are welcome to join the Rhodes House afternoon tea that may be attended by all alumni participating at the Oxford Alumni Weekend