A member of the inaugural graduating class at New York University Abu Dhabi has been selected as a 2014 Rhodes Scholar, a first for the school.
Alexander Wang, 21, who is majoring in social research and public policy, is one of 80 undergraduates selected from around the world for the prestigious scholarship programme.
Established in 1902 by the will of the late British businessman, Cecil Rhodes, the scholarship pays all expenses for up to three years at the University of Oxford in England. The annual value of the scholarship is about US$50,000 (Dh183,000).
The American joins the likes of the former US president, Bill Clinton, the prime minister of Australia, Tony Abbott, and the astronomer Edwin Hubble as scholarship winners.
“Many contemporary scholars and policymakers that I have admired over the past four years while studying in Abu Dhabi have been Rhodes Scholars,” said Mr Wang, who grew up in Pennsylvania and has studied at NYUAD since it opened in 2010. “Being part of this incredible network of scholars, and an intellectual pedigree that extends from the turn of the 20th century to now, feels incredible.”
Rhodes Scholar applicants are selected in a two-stage process that includes endorsement by their college or university, followed by in-person interviews. This year, about 1,750 students sought endorsement; 208 applicants from 91 schools reached the final stage of the competition.
Mr Wang was recognised for his high academic achievement, integrity, respect for others and potential for leadership. At NYUAD, he has promoted volunteerism in Abu Dhabi and focused on issues related to labour and migration. He plans to focus on migration studies once he enrols at Oxford next autumn.
“He has built a record of stellar academic accomplishment at NYUAD, both across the curriculum and in the area of his particular interest in global migration and labour issues,” said Al Bloom, NYUAD vice chancellor. “His exceptional intellect combines with the confidence and leadership skills of a historic agent of change, and his wisdom, compassion and humility ensure that his contributions will help advance a more inclusive, just and peaceful world.”