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Undated handout photo of Rhodes Scholar student Suzanne Newing. (Handout)
Undated handout photo of Rhodes Scholar student Suzanne Newing. (Handout)

Meet Canada’s 11 new Rhodes Scholars Add to ...

Do young Canadians have equal opportunity to access the same transformative educational experiences that made such a difference in my life and enabled me to pursue the Rhodes? Unfortunately, I think the answer is a resounding no. Nowhere is this more evident than on our First Nations reserves. So many communities don’t have high schools, and the ones that do often don’t have running water or heat. It’s inexcusable and embarrassing.

What are you most looking forward to about your time at Oxford?

I’m most excited about getting started in my degree of study. Oxford has one of the strongest international relations programs in the world, backed by world-class faculty. So this is a real opportunity to learn all I can about the key security challenges I think Canada will need to confront in the coming decades, and to try and think about how we as a nation advance a coherent strategy for addressing them. This is basically an intense incubation period for me as I prepare to enter the foreign service when I graduate, and I’m looking forward to soaking up all the opportunities both within and outside of the classroom to expand my thinking on these issues.

 

Saumya Krishna – University of Western Ontario

Ms. Krishna is among those leading a new wave of student entrepreneurship. As co-founder of the Youth Social Innovation Capital Fund, she has helped provide early-stage financing to young social entrepreneurs, and hopes to launch her own career in similar fashion. A Gold Academic Medal winner at Western, where she studied health and global society, she also volunteers on the board of Arts Starts, bringing professional artists and local residents together for community-building arts projects, and teaches and performs Indian classical dance.

How does one win the Rhodes?

An incredible support system of mentors, family and friends – I am so grateful to them – and the unyielding passion to engage in public issues and make an impact.

What is the one change you’d like to see in the education system so that students can reach their potential?

The world is changing at an unprecedented pace, and I believe we need to nurture leaders who can navigate through complexity and analyze issues from myriad perspectives. Whereas our education system tends to emphasize specialization and depth, I feel that breadth and exposure to a variety of fields is important.

What are you most looking forward to about your time at Oxford?

To be part of such a warm and dynamic community of scholars and change makers is what excites me most. Moreover, the opportunity to study at the oldest university in the English speaking world feels truly magical. It is a tremendous gift.

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QUEBEC

Simon-Pierre Chevarie-Cossette – Université de Montréal

When Mr. Chevarie-Cossette led his university’s philosophy student association into the massive Quebec student strikes of 2012, his passion for education was never in question. A master’s student in philosophy, he has worked in camps for blind children, spent five years holding homework clubs and reading circles for the literacy organization Frontier College, and teaches French to adult dropouts. A lover of cinema, music, video games and cycling, he plans to do a doctorate in philosophy at Oxford.

How does one win the Rhodes?

First, one has to be extremely lucky: having parents who focus on education, possessing certain abilities, having time to get involved in the community, having good professors and inspiring friends, etc. Second, one should be versatile. This doesn’t only mean to do a lot of different activities, but to link them together with a goal or an ideal. In my case, I chose to promote a conception of liberty as absence of domination (which focuses on giving people the right tools to avoid sexual, economical, and political domination). I was therefore involved in literacy organizations and political projects.

What is the one change you’d like to see in the education system so that students can reach their potential?

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