By: Matt Kelly | University Communications
Russell Bogue, a fourth-year honors politics student in the College who also is studying Mandarin Chinese, is the University of Virginia’s 51st Rhodes Scholar.
The Rhodes Trust announced Sunday that Bogue, 22, of Guilford, Connecticut, was one of 32 scholars chosen this year. The scholarships, valued at between $50,000 to $175,000, fully fund two or three years of study at the University of Oxford in England.
Created in 1902 in the will of Cecil Rhodes, a British philanthropist and African colonial pioneer, the Rhodes Scholarships are awarded on the basis of high academic achievement, integrity, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, potential for leadership and physical vigor.
Bogue – a Jefferson Scholar, Echols Scholar and Harry S. Truman Scholar at UVA – is planning to study political theory at Oxford, pursuing a master’s of philosophy in political theory, followed by a doctorate in philosophy. He plans a career in academia, as either a professor of law or politics.
As an undergraduate, Bogue combined his two disciplines in a research project on the political opinions of Taiwanese youth, especially in regard to reunification with China. He is writing a thesis on the possibility of forming a meta-constitution to govern both Taiwan and China.
“After studying some Chinese politics, I found the question of reunification with Taiwan to be incredibly interesting,” he said. “I can’t think of a precedent in modern politics for the relationship that currently exists between the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan. However, it struck me that this question probably wouldn’t be resolved by the current generation of political leaders, but rather by the next generation – i.e., today’s college students. So I wanted to hear their thoughts.”
His research in this regard led to his writing about potential political solutions to the “crisis across the Taiwan Strait.”
“If we reject military conquest on humanitarian grounds, and if China will never accept an independent Taiwan, then we’re stuck with the only available alternative: forming some sort of political compromise,” Bogue said. “I think this will look something like a meta-constitution.”
Bogue plans to use his time at Oxford to learn more about the topics he studied as an undergraduate – constitutionalism, studies of democracy, legal and political theory – but also to explore new areas.
“My degree will prepare me for a future career in academia, but I don’t want to lose sight of the opportunity I will have to learn for the sake of learning, simply to better understand the world,” he said. “For two years, I’ll try to take a break from planning the next step, and I’ll focus on taking full advantage of the unique communities I’ll be a part of.”
Bogue said he was in shock when he was told of his Rhodes Scholar selection, and expressed gratitude to those who encouraged him, recommended him and aided him throughout the process.
“I am also left with a deep sense of responsibility,” Bogue said. “I intend to use this opportunity to equip myself to be a public servant – to ‘fight the world’s fight,’ as Cecil Rhodes intended when he endowed the scholarship. I am honored by my selection, and I intend to live my life in a way that reflects the immense blessings I’ve been given.”