RIYADH: This year again, three students from Saudi Arabia have been selected to join the 2022 global class of Rhodes Scholars. Ahmed Aljohani, Jood Al-Thukair and Mohammed Alghadeer will join a total cohort of more than 100 Rhodes Scholars who will travel to Oxford in October next year.
The Rhodes Scholarships are post-graduate awards supporting outstanding students, to enable two to three years of study, depending on the academic route taken, at the University of Oxford. The scholarship is not just a financial bursary, it is a life-changing opportunity for exceptional young people with the potential to make a difference for good in the world.
The scholars elect for Saudi Arabia demonstrated their energy and commitment to making a difference during a rigorous selection process, which included three rounds of reviews before the final virtual interviews of several shortlisted candidates with an international selection committee.
Aljohani currently studies biology at Emory University. Growing up next to the Red Sea has led him to pursue a career in biology research to explore the sea’s captivating natural beauty and its secrets. At Oxford, Aljohani hopes to pursue his passion in learning more about the Red Sea’s super corals and use them as a model to save dying coral reefs globally.
Al-Thukair graduated from King Saud University with a BA in English language and literature in May this year. She is passionate about honoring Arab literature, hence her founding of Sumou — one of the leading independent publications in the region. At Oxford, Al-Thukair will study the intersections between politics and literature that mark the features of Arab women’s literary works.
Alghadeer studied both physics and electrical engineering at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals. He is currently working in collaboration with the Quantum Nanoelectronics Laboratory at University of California, Berkeley. As a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, he plans to study condensed matter physics with research focus on quantum information technology.
The first endowed Saudi Arabia scholarship was established in 2018 and was funded by Muhammad Alagil, with a second endowed scholarship added in 2020, funded by Abdulrahman Alagil Sons. Both donors are co-founders of Jarir Bookstores. This funding was done with encouragement from the Ministry of Education, as education is one of the core elements of Vision 2030, the Kingdom’s ambitious blueprint for the future.
Dr. Elizabeth Kiss, warden and CEO of the Rhodes Trust, said: “Three years ago and thanks to Muhammad Alagil’s generous gift, we launched the first Saudi Arabia endowed scholarship to ensure that more of world’s diversity would be reflected at Rhodes House. It has been a pleasure to meet the exceptional young scholars from Saudi Arabia selected in these three previous years and witness their enriching contribution to Rhodes House — cultural diversity is a core value of ours and one that we see benefit our cohort of scholars every day, as they learn from each other in profound ways.”
The applications for the next round of admission for the Rhodes Scholarship will open in June 2022.