The Rhodes Scholarship, named after the British mining magnate and South African politician Cecil John Rhodes, is an international postgraduate award for students to study at the University of Oxford. It is widely considered to be one of the world’s most prestigious scholarships. Established in 1902, it was the first large-scale programme of international scholarships, inspiring the creation of a great many other awards across the globe.
As elaborated on in his will, Cecil Rhodes’ goals in creating the Rhodes Scholarships were to promote civic-minded leadership among “young colonists” with “moral force of character and instincts to lead”, for “the furtherance of the British Empire, for the bringing of the whole uncivilised world under British rule, for the recovery of the United States, for the making the Anglo-Saxon race but one Empire”. With the scholarships, he “aimed at making Oxford University the educational centre of the English-speaking race”. Since its creation, controversy has surrounded both its former exclusion of women (thus leading to the establishment of the co-educational Marshall Scholarship), and Rhodes’ Anglo-supremacist beliefs and legacy of colonialism.
Including the class of 2015, there had been 7,777 scholars since the programme’s inception, with more than 4,700 still living as of 2005.

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