Ashwini Vasanthakumar ’04 and Silas Xu ’05 have won International Rhodes Scholarships to Oxford University in England, bringing to eight the number of Harvard students or alumni to win a Rhodes Scholarship this year.
Vasanthakumar, a social studies concentrator at Harvard who is currently pursuing an M.A. in political theory at the University of Ontario in Toronto plans to continue with an M.Phil. or D.Phil. in politics at Oxford.
“I will be interested specifically in understanding citizenship and asylum, both formally and substantively, in a transnational world,” she says. “Oxford is such an exciting place to be looking at these issues – it has a traditional strength in political theory, centers dedicated to refugee studies and legal ethics, and an extremely diverse collection of students and faculties.”
A Canadian citizen born in Sri Lanka, Vasanthakumar says she was “ecstatic and extremely surprised” upon learning she won the scholarship, Following her time at Oxford, she plans to return to North America to attend law school and ultimately work on asylum and immigration.
Xu, a native of China and permanent resident of New Zealand, is currently working in Paris. Fluent in Mandarin, he is a co-founder of the Harvard in Asia Project. He plans to use his Rhodes to complete an M.Phil. in economics at Oxford, according to the New Zealand Press Association
– Beth Potier