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Cherry Blossoms & Cultural Exchange: Rhodes Trust China Trip 2019

Dr Elizabeth Kiss, Warden and CEO of the Rhodes Trust, Mr Alasdair Maclay, Director of Strategy & Development and Ms Meijie Tang, Rhodes Programme Director for China, travelled to Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing from 17 -22 March to meet with long-standing supporters of the Rhodes Trust, potential investors, media, academics and other stakeholders. At the same time, 17 Rhode Scholars also travelled to China in order to spend two weeks in Shanghai and Beijing meeting with leaders in academic, civil society, business, finance and more. Countless ideas were shared and many friends were made. The Rhodes Trust looks forward to receiving many more applications from Chinese Scholars in the future.

Dr Elizabeth Kiss, Warden and CEO of Rhodes Trust, addressing Shanghai Technology University Photo – Dr Kumeren Govender

Rhodes Scholars Travel to Shanghai and visit the Bund, one of the most iconic sights of the city Photo – Dr Kumeren Govender

MARCH 2019 – This year’s Rhodes Trust China trip marks four years since the Rhodes Scholarships for China began and the start to an even more ambitious future. Within the next two years, the Rhodes Trust plans to double the number of Rhode Scholarships for China from four to eight, all the while ensuring the Scholars are representative of China’s diverse culture, geography, socio-economics and more. Realising this goal, on one hand, requires increased investment and commitment but, on the other hand, requires that more of China’s brightest young minds apply.

Dr Elizabeth Kiss speaking to top high-school and undergraduate students at Shanghai Technology University – Photos, Rhodes Trust

Addressing a full auditorium of students and professors at Shanghai Technology University, Dr Kiss shared the Rhodes Trusts’ long-term vision for China and encouraged the students to consider applying for what is known as the most prestigious academic programme in the world. Dr Kiss explained that educators and parents have their roles to play – they must support stellar students to apply and to contemplate difficult questions like ‘Who am I?’ and ‘What kind of difference do I want to make in the world?’

As Dr Kiss explained, when the China Scholarships were launched in 2015, the Trust had recognised that if the Scholarships were indeed going to be global, inclusive and focused on preparing the world’s future leaders, China had to be a priority. Moving forward, this is all the more true.

“We have had the pleasure to welcome sixteen courageous young Chinese Rhodes Scholars in recent years and witness their commitment to making a positive impact on the world. I sincerely hope that the Rhodes Trust will be able to expand the number of Chinese Scholarships we can award each year, thereby creating opportunities for more young people from all across China to join our Rhodes Scholar global community,” Dr Kiss said in a statement.

Dr. Elizabeth Kiss speaking with student journalists at Shanghai Technology University. During her trip she also met with journalists from China Daily, China Youth Daily, Caixin, FT Chinese and more. Photo – Rhodes Trust

Speaking to China’s top-tier media, Warden Kiss emphasised that the plan for China is a key element of the Rhodes Trust’s long-term strategic vision to champion young leaders from around the globe who stand up for their communities. She mentioned that the Trust is also growing the scholarships throughout Asia and Africa and South America, however, the specific focus on China is demonstrative of the Trust’s sincere commitment to past, present and future scholars from China.

Expanding the Scholarships for China is not a success in of itself, rather the Rhodes Trust celebrates how it must continue cultivating the diversity of ideas each day. Dr Kiss and the Scholar cohort shared the many ways that collaboration happens within the halls, grounds and classrooms at Oxford – from Chinese scholars hosting Spring Festival celebrations to dozens of Scholars filling Dr Kiss’ office to debate gender roles on modern society. Dr. Kiss emphasised that the Scholars themselves are helping the Rhodes Scholarships to grow and that Chinese Scholars are becoming spokespeople for the Scholarship in their home country.

Rhodes Scholars met with Gates Cambridge Scholars in Shanghai Photo – Emilie McDonnell

Dr. Elizabeth Kiss (centre), Alasdair Maclay (fifth from right) and Rhodes Scholars meet with the leadership of Shanghai Technology University including Provost and Vice President Yin Jie, Vice President Xionggang, Vice Provost Jiang Ge and other deans. Photo – Shanghai Technology University

Moving forward, Rhodes Trust is ever more committed to facilitating the exchange of China’s top-talents in the halls of the Rhodes House at Oxford University and looks forward to receiving stellar applications this year.

Applications for the Class of 2020 open in June 2019. Please find more information about applying here: https://www.rhodeshouse.ox.ac.uk/scholarships/apply/china.

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