THREE of 11 students chosen for the internationally prestigious Rhodes Scholarship for 2014 are South Asians: Aravind Ganesh of the University of Calgary, Joseph Singh of Ontario (Dartmouth College, U.S.) and Saumya Krishna of the University of Western Ontario.
In total, 83 Rhodes scholars have been chosen from around the world for two years of postgraduate studies at Oxford University, the oldest university in the English-speaking world.
The scholarships were established in 1903 under the will of Cecil Rhodes. A class of 83 Scholars is selected each year from Australia, Bermuda, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Jamaica and the Commonwealth Caribbean, Kenya, New Zealand, Pakistan, Southern Africa (including South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia and Swaziland), United States, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Rhodes’s vision in founding the scholarship was to develop outstanding leaders who would be motivated to fight ‘the world’s fight’ and to ‘esteem the performance of public duties as their highest aim’, and to promote international understanding and peace.
Aravind Ganesh – University of Calgary
Ganesh came to Canada from India in 2005. By 2007, he was one of the top 10 graduating high school students in Alberta. From there, he studied biological sciences, medicine and neurology at the University of Calgary, and now plans to study public health at Oxford, researching strategies to improve care for those who have suffered strokes and, ultimately, preventing them altogether. But Ganesh has a lighter side: He also performs as a stand-up comic and enjoys cartooning.
When the Globe and Mail newspaper asked him what he is most looking forward to about his time at Oxford, he replied: “I’m looking forward to forming strong bonds within not only the Rhodes and Oxford scholarly communities, but also within the U.K.’s National Health Service, which has a unique set of strengths and challenges that Canada can learn from.”
Joseph Singh of Ontario – Dartmouth College (U.S.)
Singh has his sights set on a career in Canada’s foreign service, having studied international security policy at Dartmouth, in New Hampshire. He has already made his voice heard on security and defence matters, publishing pieces with Foreign Policy, Time and CNN, and has done research as an intern at the OECD and the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis. But he also sings for the Dartmouth Aires – an all-male a cappella group that was a runner-up on NBC’s The Sing-Off. When the Globe and Mail asked him what he is most looking forward to about his time at Oxford, he said: “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.”
Saumya Krishna – University of Western Ontario
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. When the Globe and Mail asked her what she is most looking forward to about her time at Oxford, she replied: “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.”