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News > ODs Around the World > Ashley Pople - the first non-Bishops Bishops Rhodes Scholar

Ashley Pople - the first non-Bishops Bishops Rhodes Scholar

Ashley Pople, the first ever non-Bishops Bishops Rhodes Scholar spoke to UK ODs about winning the scholarship and her plans for after she's completed her DPhil at Oxford at the end of this year.

4 Bishops Rhodes Scholars all in a room: Steve Hofmeyr, Ashley Pople, James Gardener, Graham Thomas
4 Bishops Rhodes Scholars all in a room: Steve Hofmeyr, Ashley Pople, James Gardener, Graham Thomas
In 2015, the Diocesan College Rhodes Scholarship was opened to past pupils of Herschel, St Cyprians, St Georges and the LEAP Schools. Ashley Pople (St Cyprians) with an honours degree in economics (with distinction) from UCT wasted no time in being selected as the first non-Bishops Bishops Rhodes Scholar in its then 113 year history. So up to Oxford where she completed her MPhil (proxime accessit) in economics and, still at Oxford, is now completing her DPhil in Development Economics.

To celebrate these milestones, Ashley very kindly agreed to speak to ODs at our first lunch of the year (decade) on Friday 31st January. We were delighted to have join us three past St Cyprian's students, Eileen HeenanGiorgina King (who had two brothers at Bishops) and Zarina Olla. Also at the lunch were Richard Smith who runs a sustainable investment fund and who has mentored several UK-based ODs, Jane Rosenberg (who studies with Ashley and whose father, uncle and two brothers were at Bishops) and David Pople, Ashley's father. 

Not to be outdone, though, three of Bishops Bishops Rhodes Scholars attended the lunch and were (secretly) relieved that they were not against Ashley in their selection year: Stephen HofmeyrJames Gardener and Graham Thomas.

This diverse bunch made for an interesting and lively lunch with, possibly, more like it on the way.

After she was welcomed by the Patron of the ODU Raymond Ackerman (S, 1948) Ashley started by debunking the popular (mis)conception that economic was for data junkies who weren't able to make decisions ("on the one hand-on the other"). Economics, she told us convincingly was about people and the data, while it might provide evidence for understanding and predicting behaviour, was not where the value of this field lies.

She described her extensive travels around the world (Ethiopia, Uganda, Jamaica, India, Rwanda an Colombia among others) working with the most under-developed countries and communities. Through her projects she has highlighted examples of buried talent and potential blossoming against the odds and has provided support in helping with the creation of employment in these marginalised states.

Finally she talked of the opportunities she had personally benefited from since winning the "Rhodes" and some of the challenges - not least as she she arrived at Oxford, the #rhodesmustfall campaign - she has had to face.

We were thrilled to have her with us as a Bishops Rhodes Scholar and we will be watching her trajectory with interest and pride.

Stephen Hofmeyr (O, 1973) thanked Ashley on behalf of us all an in doing so encouraged us - and Bishops - to think of opening up the Bishops Rhodes even wider to include Zonnebloem College, founded in 1858 nine years after Bishops and thirteen years before St Cyps. The connection: all three schools founded by Bishop Robert Gray.

To see all the photos, please click HERE


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