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Tasmania’s 2017 Rhodes scholar is Bede jones

An arts graduate committed to tackling Indigenous disadvantage has been announced as the Tasmanian Rhodes Scholar for 2017.

The Scholarship, which recognises leadership, community service and extra-curricular activities as well as academic attainment, has been awarded to Bede Jones, 23.

A palawa man who was educated in Hobart, Bede won a Chancellor’s Scholarship in 2011 to study at the University of Melbourne, where he completed a Bachelor of Arts with first-class Honours in criminology and also majored in philosophy.

His Honours thesis focussed on the feasibility and usefulness of developing an Aboriginal Justice Agreement in Tasmania.

He was worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers Indigenous Consulting, a majority indigenous owned and led business that fosters positive change for Aboriginal Australians by advising corporate, government and community clients.

The Rhodes Scholarship will enable Bede to study at the University of Oxford, where he plans to take two degrees: an MSc in Global Governance and a Masters of Public Policy (MPP). Ultimately Bede hopes to bring his skills and knowledge back to Australia to work in the area of Aboriginal governance and policy.

Bede’s dedication to Indigenous social justice issues is evident in many of his activities, including his involvement in CareerTrackers, an Indigenous internship program for which he became a Student Ambassador; his volunteering in the Athletes as Role Models program; and his contribution to the inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan at Ormond College, where he lived while studying for his degree.

In 2015 he was selected for the Aurora Indigenous Scholars International Study Tour, which took him on a six-week tour of elite universities in the US and UK and gave him a taste of the Oxford experience.

An avid and talented sportsman, Bede played soccer for most of his school years before turning to AFL. In 2011-12, he represented the University of Melbourne at the National Indigenous University Games.

Clare Hawkes, who is currently completing an Honours degree in psychology at the University of Tasmania, has been chosen as the Tasmanian nominee to the Australia-at-large Rhodes Scholarship Round in Canberra later this month.

She will compete with candidates from other Australian states and territories for three further scholarship places.

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