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Auckland Arts student wins Rhodes scholarship

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Auckland Arts student wins Rhodes scholarship

University of Auckland Faculty of Arts student Marco de Jong is one of three young New Zealanders who have been awarded prestigious 2018 Rhodes Scholarships to carry out post-graduate study at the University of Oxford (UK).

Marco, 22, completed a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Pacific History. He is currently completing a Master of Arts in History and is writing a thesis on the nuclear free and independent Pacific movement.

“My Samoan ancestry has helped me find a passion for the Pacific and Pacific History and I hope through the Rhodes Scholarship I can inspire, empower and validate through telling Pacific stories. I am a firm believer history doesn’t exist in books but between people,” he says.

Marco began studying Pacific History in his second year at University. He is currently learning gagana Sāmoa, as well as French, and is helping his mother write a family history (Faumuinā Fa’aleaogā) stretching over 130 years and across the width of the Pacific Ocean.

Marco is a Tuākana, mentoring the 250 undergraduate Māori and Pacific history students. He is a co-founder of the University’s History Society and is the outgoing President. Through the schools outreach programme the Society has visited 50 schools in 2017 – Marco’s particular goal is to engage low decile schools and encourage Pacific students to study Pacific history.

At Oxford, Marco hopes to study a DPhil (PhD) under New Zealand historian and fellow Rhodes Scholar, James Belich. He proposes to focus on climate change diplomacy and wants to become a force for the Pacific through either education, academia or diplomacy, to ensure decisions are made by, and not for, islanders.

The Rhodes Scholarship provides transformative opportunities for exceptional all-round students to carry out postgraduate study at the University of Oxford. Today, 95 scholars are selected from 64 countries and go on to become part of the wider Rhodes Scholarship community while at university, and throughout their lives.

The 2018 Rhodes Scholars elect are: Jean Balchin from the University of Otago, Jamie Beaton from Harvard University, and Marco de Jong from the University of Auckland.

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