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Rhodes Scholar from University of Auckland

Media release 27 November 2008

Rhodes Scholar from University of Auckland

A political studies graduate from The University of Auckland keenly interested in global justice and migration from developing countries has gained a coveted Rhodes Scholarship for 2009.

Nina Hall was chosen as one of three Rhodes Scholars from New Zealand following interviews with shortlisted candidates at Government House in Auckland yesterday.

The scholarships, held at Oxford University, have long been among the most prestigious to which university graduates wanting to pursue further study abroad can aspire.

Nina, 23, recently finished an MA with a thesis on engendering democracy in Timor-Leste. She examined how the UN, international and local NGOs promoted gender equality in this new nation and post- conflict state. Her BA honours dissertation was on immigration policies in New Zealand and Chile.

She held undergraduate and masters/honours scholarships at The University of Auckland, and was top Senior Scholar in History in 2005.

At Oxford, where she will start next September, Nina plans to take a doctoral degree on how migration has become a global issue that needs a global response, rather than simply at the state level.

"Managing immigration is one of the major global challenges facing the world's leaders today," she says.

"While capitalism has led to the free flow of goods and services, it has not led to a free flow of labour. This is problematic for those fleeing conflict, persecution and a lack of economic opportunities."

Her DPhil thesis will examine how states "construct" certain immigrants as illegal in order to deport them.

Nina's interest in immigration stems from her experiences overseas. Aged 17 she lived for a year with an Italian family in rural Sicily close to where many African illegal immigrants were "literally washed up" on the coast.

In 2006 she spent six months studying at L'Institut de Sciences Politiques in Paris and wrote an essay on "les sans- papiers" (immigrants without official papers) who exert political influence in France.

In Auckland Nina has worked with the refugee community, and been active on campus in environmental and sustainable transport issues. She was also the co-ordinator of the Auckland regional Young Greens.

Last year she went on a course on Leadership in Global Society at the University of Virginia. Tomorrow she departs for Nepal where she will be volunteering as an intern with UNICEF. She has just completed a two-month internship at the Department of Political Affairs at the United Nations headquarters.

"I feel very honoured and humbled to be a Rhodes Scholar, and to be a part of such an extraordinary community," says Nina. "Studying at Oxford will be a great opportunity to bring together my academic work and my practical experience at the UN. I'm really looking forward to meeting students and academics from around the world.

"After Oxford my intention is to work for the New Zealand government or in an international organisation be it the UN or an NGO. I am committed to contributing to New Zealand's place in the world."


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