Rhodes Trust is a prestigious Oxford University scholarship programme
A prominent scholarship program at Oxford University has faced criticism for its association with colonial history. The Rhodes Trust, established by Cecil Rhodes, an imperialist figure, organized an event discussing the Atlantic Slave Trade after a £38 million renovation of Rhodes House. Several speakers at the event described the experience as "difficult" and "uncomfortable."
Dr. Elizabeth Kiss, the Trust's chief executive, has stated the organization's commitment to becoming more inclusive and diverse. However, panel members pointed out that the event served as a reminder of colonialism's ongoing impact.
The Rhodes Trust has come under scrutiny for its historical ties to colonial figures. Cecil Rhodes was a colonialist who played a role in annexing land in southern Africa, leading to the creation of Rhodesia. In 2020, conversations about figures like Rhodes gained momentum, leading to protests and calls for decolonization efforts.
While the recent renovation of Rhodes House is aimed at creating a vibrant hub, some panel members found the space uncomfortable and symbolic of colonialism. Critics argue that the Rhodes scholarship program, originally intended for "young colonists," needs to address its colonial history and foster a more diverse and inclusive community.
The Rhodes scholarship program has been in the spotlight for its historical association with colonialism and its impact on diversity and inclusion. The report suggests that the scholarship program is reevaluating its historical legacy and its commitment to change and inclusivity.