Congratulations to our African Rhodes and Schwarzman Scholars!

December 12, 2017

We are proud to congratulate Shaan Desai and Terrens Muradzikwa, who will represent their home countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe as Rhodes Scholars, and Justus Uwayesu of Rwanda, who has been selected as a Schwarzman Scholar!

Shaan Desai - Rhodes Scholar, Zambia

Shaan Desai

Image credit: Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer

Shaan Desai will represent his home country of Zambia as a Rhodes Scholar next year.

Shaan is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s of Art in physics and a Master’s of Science in computational science. At Oxford, he plans to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy in Physics. “I’m interested in looking at how we can use tools from physics and computer science to aid the discovery of new materials for renewable technology, and in particular how those materials could help us generate affordable electricity in Africa," he told the Harvard Gazette. After the Rhodes, Shaan hopes to improve science education in Zambia and throughout Africa.

We got to know Shaan through his work as President of the Harvard Africa Business and Investment Club (HABIC). Along with the Youth Alliance for Leadership and Development in Africa (YALDA), the Center for African Studies (CAS) and HABIC co-hosted a speaker series designed to help Harvard students become change-makers in Africa. Earlier this year, Shaan hosted Nigerian entrepreneur Iyinoluwa Aboyeji as part of the speaker series. “I was really inspired by Iyinoluwa," Shaan said. "Speaking to him and learning more about his entrepreneurship was a clear indication to me that what might seem outrageous or impossible can actually be done.”

Shaan has also worked on research on using machine learning to discover novel materials for renewable technology at Harvard's Kaxiras Group, served as a Director of the Philips Brooks House Association (PBHA) Recent Immigrant Term Enrichment Program, and interned in the Investment Research Division at Goldman Sachs in New York and at Rankin Engineering Consultants in Lusaka.

Congratulations, Shaan!


Terrens Muradzikwa - Rhodes Scholar, Zimbabwe

Terrens Muradzikwa

Image credit: Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

Terrens Muradzikwa will represent his home country of Zimbabwe as a Rhodes Scholar next year.

A current Economics concentrator, Terrens will pursue a one-year Master of Science in economics for development and a one-year Master of Public Policy at Oxford. “I’m interested in development economics, and looking at how innovation is used to promote economic growth in developing countries,” he told the Harvard Gazette.

After the Rhodes, Terrens hopes to join the World Bank or International Monetary Fund. He plans to eventually return to Zimbabwe. “I really want to bring new ideas to the countries that the World Bank and IMF are working with. And long-term I would like to work for the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in Zimbabwe, and contribute to the economic growth of my country,” he said.

Terrens has been a consistent presence at the Center for African Studies (CAS) during his undergraduate career. He served as a mentor for our INSPIRE Pre-College Summer Program, worked with the Harvard Africa Business and Investment Club, and won a CAS J-Term Grant to research the impact of mineral​ ​discovery​ ​on​ ​job​ ​opportunities​ ​and​ ​fertility​ ​choices​ ​in​ ​Zimbabwe. Terrens also co-founded the African Exponent, an online news site for business news on Africa.

Congratulations, Terrens!



Justus Uwayesu - Schwarzman Scholar

Justus Uwayesu

Image credit: Tom Allen/Bridge2Rwanda

Justus Uwayesu will study at Tsinghua University in Beijing as a Schwarzman Scholar next year.

From Kigali, Rwanda, Justus will graduate from Harvard in May with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. At Tsinghua, he will pursue a one-year Master's degree in economics, with a focus on economic policy and education. "The role of China, as an economy that is growing fast and as a place that has a huge impact on the African economy, is very interesting to me," he told the Harvard Crimson. Justus is also interested in the role of education and infrastructure in accelerating the growth of emerging economies.

Justus founded Seven United, a youth-run non-profit in Rwanda with the dual mission of providing children from low-income families with access to quality education and of empowering young people to be servant-leaders in their communities. At Harvard, he has served on the Freshmen Council for Service to Society and participated in numerous volunteer projects. He was awarded the university’s Mack I. Davis Memorial Prize, given to one undergraduate student annually for commitment to diversity and community service.

Justus credits his successful transition to Harvard to the support he has received from faculty, students, and the Center for African Studies' (CAS) networks and mentoring. "I've had great advisors, great faculty, and great campus activities," he said. "Harvard is a great place for anyone interested in Africa."

Congratulations, Justus!