Salzburg Global Chronicle 2015 » Profiles » Bringing the World to Salzburg

Bringing the World to Salzburg - All “Rhodes” Lead to Salzburg

Dedicated Scholarship Program enables Rhodes Scholars to participate in Salzburg Global programs

Hamish Tomlinson, Yan Yu, Alice Wang, Kate Niehaus, Kit Dobyns, Benjamine Liu and Michael Mackley 


The Rhodes Scholarship was established in 1902 to enable international students with “moral force of character and instincts to lead” to study at Oxford University, with the ultimate aim of “rendering war impossible” by promoting understanding between these future leaders. In 2013, recognizing the similarities in the missions of the Rhodes Scholarship and Salzburg Global Seminar, the HDH Wills 1965 Charitable Trust generously supported the establishment of a scholarship program to enable these exceptional young leaders to attend sessions at Schloss Leopoldskron.


Katlego Bagwasi

“Salzburg has been a truly life-changing experience for me”

As a Rhodes Scholar, Katlego Bagwasi studied for a M.Sc. in criminology and criminal Justice at Oxford, and was selected to attend Holocaust and Genocide Education: Sharing Experience Across Borders and 1814, 1914, 2014: Lessons from the Past, Visions for the Future in 2014 while she was based at the Appeals Chamber of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon at The Hague, The Netherlands, working closely with judges and assisting them in the research of fair judgments and the writings of their decisions. Now back in her home country of Botswana teaching Public International Law at the University of Botswana in Gaborone, Bagwasi feels inspired by her time at Schloss Leopoldskron. 

“Being in Salzburg has truly been a life-changing experience for me,” says Bagwasi, “Although, at my age – 28 – everything seems to be a life changing experience, the ‘magic’ of spending a week with 40 inspired, motivated people who are passionate about their work, and who genuinely strive to make the world better was, to say the least, humbling. I came back from the Schloss wanting to be a better person; wanting to give more of myself to the people around me; to my country, Botswana; driven to make my contribution and mark in the world.”

READ MORE: www.SalzburgGlobal.org/go/fellows/katlego-bagwasi  


Josh Chauvin

“The Salzburg Global experience has allowed me to see the phenomenal variety of experiences that there is”

Josh Chauvin has a great passion for reducing the stigma attached to mental health problems, and has worked to combat prejudice during his master’s and doctoral studies in psychology at Oxford and in his native Canada. At the Salzburg Global program New Paradigms for Behavioral and Mental Health Care  in December 2014, he shared his experiences of how his organization, Mind Your Head, is using video testimonies to help mental health patients share their stories and realize they are not alone. “It lets them know that they are not alone in their suffering,” he explains. “[The videos] make a statement of a community that wants to embrace them. To be a part of that, and to see that, is empowering.”

Mind Your Head drew inspiration from the It Gets Better campaign, which sought to help teenagers facing homophobic bullying. It Gets Brighter has a similar aim, tackling the stigma of mental health issues. So far contributors have included comedian Ruby Wax and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

“The effect is the cathartic feeling one gets from telling their story to someone else, and getting a response from another sharing mutual feelings. My best friend suffered from this as well, my mother, brother, sister, father suffered from this too,’ all builds a sense of community and goes to some miles in terms of transcending those barriers and those stigmas associated with mental health issues.”

Of his time in Salzburg, Chauvin says: “The Salzburg Global experience has allowed me to see the phenomenal variety of experiences that there is. The mental health issue in Canada is very different from the mental health issue Ghana, Uganda, or the UK. There are a variety of social factors that influence not only the way we see and interpret mental health issues, but also how we respond. I have become alive 

to the world of perceptions that is out there.”

READ MORE: www.SalzburgGlobal.org/go/fellows/josh-chauvin 


Phil Yao

“Fighting the world’s fight” 

“The Rhodes Scholarship cares a lot about what it calls fighting the world’s fight’,” says business and education graduate student, Phil Yao. “Essentially, it means addressing some of the thorniest but most important issues that face the world. What they look for in a Rhodes Scholar is someone who has a passion for furiously attacking those problems. I think there’s a very natural harmony…between the Rhodes Scholarship and Salzburg Global Seminar.”

With a background in physics, and experience with India-based education NGO Pratham and in the office of former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, the problem Yao is striving to tackle is the lack of creativity and innovation in K-12 education in the USA. Speaking during the February 2015 program The Neuroscience of Art: What are the Sources of Creativity and Innovation? Yao said: “The best mathematicians and physicists we have are very creative minds as well, but I think that’s being lost in the educational system.” 

Yao, who attended the session with fellow Rhodes Scholar Clayton Aldern, believes that creativity can be partly rediscovered through the phenomenon of teacher training through massive open online courses (MOOCs), the subject of his recent dissertation.“[Today’s] teachers are learning while they’re still teaching in the classroom. It’s a simultaneous process, and there’s a lot of feedback there too,” explains Yao. “It’s part of a more creative future of learning to teach, and that’s going to change how skilled the body of teachers out there in the world will be.”

READ MORE: www.SalzburgGlobal.org/go/fellows/phil-yao-clayton-aldern  


Hamish Tomlinson and Yan Yu

“The ideas can only expand”

New Zealander Hamish Tomlinson, currently studying for his Ph.D. at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Oxford, and Yan Yu, a Canadian medical doctor, now pursuing a master’s degree in public policy, came, together with five other Rhodes Scholars, to the Salzburg Global session The Promise of Data: Will this Bring a Revolution in Health Care?.

During the session the pair collaborated in a working group dedicated to medical education. 

“The future of the workforce [is] medical students; how can we teach them about how big data is a huge opportunity to improve the health care of patients? It’s been really interesting to discuss that and come up with some ideas as to how we might best achieve that with some great people who have some experience in education like Yan,” said Tomlinson at the end of his time at Schloss Leopoldskron. 

Yu is convinced the group of seven Rhodes Scholars are well positioned to continue their work upon their return to Oxford: “I think we’re going to leave here with an enriched understanding of the role of big data in health care. Because we’re all coming from different backgrounds, we’re going to be able to take our new found knowledge into our respective fields and then re-congregate for further in-depth conversations about these topics in the future. The ideas can only expand from there.”

On a personal level, Yu added: “This session was a truly eye-opening experience for me as a resident physician and public policy student at Oxford. I will take this unique educational experience with me throughout my career… I would recommend Salzburg Global Seminar to all those interested in making society a better place for all.”

READ MORE: www.SalzburgGlobal.org/go/fellows/hamish-tomlinson-yan-yu  


Recipients of the HDH Wills 1965 Charitable Trust Scholarship (2013 to May 2015)

Clayton Aldern, USA
Katlego Bagwasi, Botswana
Joshua Chauvin, Canada
Dave Chokshi, USA
Natalya Din-Kariuki, Kenya
Christopher Dobyns, USA
Nicholas Dowdall, South Africa
Brett House, Canada
Aneil Jaswal, Canada
Emma LeBlanc, USA
Benjamine Liu, USA
Michael Mackley, Canada
Sebabatso Manoeli, South Africa
Dakota McCoy, USA 
Elizabeth Murray
, Australia
Florence Ondieki-Mwaura, Kenya
Paolo Singer, USA
Harsha V. Singh, India/Switzerland
Hamish Tomlinson, New Zealand
Jingjing Alice Wang, New Zealand
Victor Yang, USA
Phillip Yao, USA
Yan Yu, Canada