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April 2016 update from the MRF

The astonishing growth in the number of expressions of interest in the Mandela Rhodes Scholarships is continuing this year, and with a vengeance! As of today, more than 8000 (eight thousand) potential applicants had registered on our website – and that with still a week to go before we close off this initial stage of the process for selecting the Class of 2017. (Last year’s number was a then-record 5500.)

‘Team MRF’ is, as you can imagine, stretched to the limit with these kinds of numbers, and my colleagues are fielding calls and queries from applicants without being able to draw breath. It is a thrilling time at the Mandela Rhodes Building.

After the ‘round one’ cut-off date our team has two weeks to process the applications for our first-stage reviewers, who then in turn have until mid-June to assess the candidacies and forward them for consideration for ‘round two’ – which leads to the determination of a long list. ‘Round three’, running up until mid-September, brings into play the MRF’s shortlisting team, which is responsible for selecting those applicants who will go through to the final interviews for the Scholarships.

Those interviews take place in Cape Town and Johannesburg in late October, and the announcement of the new Class follows shortly thereafter. From small beginnings the Mandela Rhodes Scholarships applications, nominations and selections process has become of truly significant scale and sophistication – I am proud to say we believe it is a match for similar processes anywhere in the world.

… And lots of other activity

·         Julia and I are working on a proof of Yearbook 2015: Keep an eye on our website www.mandelarhodes.org for news of electronic and other publication timing

·         We hosted colleagues from the Nelson Mandela Foundation on their visit to Cape Town

·         We are preparing for the 15th meeting of the Trustees, to take place in Oxford in June

·         Planning for the Mid-Year Workshops is well under way

·         Judy, Ernst, Pam and Gigi launched regional Scholar Group Pods in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Gauteng, and visited several campuses

·         I will be representing the MRF at a leadership development consultation convened by the Graça Machel Trust in Johannesburg

·         All good wishes, and please look out for my next Mandela Rhodes update in August