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Kennedy Scholarships provide full funding for six to eight British post-graduate students to study at either Harvard University or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Susan Hockfield, the sixteenth President of MIT, described the scholarship program as a way to "offer exceptional students unique opportunities to broaden their intellectual and personal horizons, in ways that are more important than ever in an era defined by global interaction.”
The creation of the Kennedy Memorial Trust
Following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, Sir Alec Douglas-Home, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, set about creating a national British memorial in his memory. He consulted with Harold Wilson (the Leader of HM's Loyal Opposition), Sir David Ormsby-Gore (British Ambassador to the United States), Dean Rusk (United States Secretary of State) and the Kennedy family. It was agreed that Douglas-Home would establish a committee, chaired by Lord Franks (former British Ambassador to the United States of America), to make recommendations on the form of the memorial to President Kennedy.
The membership of the Franks Committee included:
- Lord Franks - (chairman)
- Lord Mayor of London
- Lord Mayor of Belfast
- Lord Mayor of Cardiff
- Lord Provost of Edinburgh
- Raymond Evershed, 1st Baron Evershed - Master of the Rolls (1949–1962), Law Lord
- Roger Makins, 1st Baron Sherfield - Former British Ambassador to the United States of America (1953–1956)
- Victor Feather - General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (1969–1973)
- Lord Harcourt - Chairman of the Harkness Fellowship Trust
- Sir Phillip de Zulueta - Foreign Affairs Private Secretary to Anthony Eden and Harold Macmillan
- Oliver Lyttelton, 1st Viscount Chandos - former Secretary of State for the Colonies (1951–1954)
- Margot Fontaine - Ballerina
- John Freeman - British Ambassador to the United States of America (1969–1971)
Following wide consultation, Franks wrote to the Prime Minister to recommend that the memorial should be in two parts:
1. A living memorial, in the form of a scholarship to attend either Harvard or MIT. This would assist to perpetuate the values and ideals of President Kennedy; act as a spur to closer Anglo-American relations; and develop future leaders in politics, academia, public service, business and law. Franks hoped that it would be “a Rhodes scholarship in reverse”.
These universities were selected for two reasons. Firstly they were located in Massachusetts, the State represented by President Kennedy when a junior Senator and the home state of the Kennedy family. Secondly, President Kennedy had attended Harvard.
The recommendations of the committee were agreed and the John F. Kennedy Memorial Act 1964 was passed into legislation to enact and manage the two memorials.
The Kennedy family have been strong supporters of the British Kennedy memorial since its creation. Jacqueline Kennedy and Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom unveiled the memorial at Runnymede in 1965. It consists of a Portland stone memorial tablet inscribed with the famous quote from his Inaugural Address:
|“||Let every Nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend or oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and success of liberty.||”|
Senator Edward Kennedy described the program as the most ambitious of all the memorials to his brother, and he was a passionate supporter of the Kennedy Scholarships until his death in August 2009.
Since 1964, all Kennedy Memorial Trust trustees have been appointed by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Various prominent individuals have previously served as trustees on the Trust. These include:
- Professor Sir Isaiah Berlin OM FBA - philosopher, President of the British Academy (1974-1978)
- Professor Sir David Cannadine FBA - the Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother Professor of British History at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London.
- Professor Peter Hennessy, Baron Hennessy of Nympsfield FBA - (chairman 1995 - 2000)
- Mervyn King - the Governor of the Bank of England (2003-)
- Professor Jack Lewis, Baron Lewis of Newnham
- Roger Makins, 1st Baron Sherfield GCB GCMG FRS - (first chairman)
- Professor Roderick MacFarquhar - Leroy B Williams Professor of History and Political Science, Harvard University.
- David Ormsby-Gore, 5th Baron Harlech KCMG PC - (chairman 1964 - 1984)
- Professor Anthony Quinton, Baron Quinton - (chairman 1990 - 1995), Master of Trinity College, Oxford (1978–1987)
- Professor Martin Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow - Master of Trinity College, Cambridge
- Andrew Stuart Winckler (1998-2003)
- Professor Emma Rothschild - (chairman 2000 - 2009), Director of the Centre for History and Economics at King's College, Cambridge
- Robin Russell, 14th Duke of Bedford - (chairman 1985 - 1990)
The current trustees are:
- Professor Tony Badger (Chairman) - Master of Clare College, Cambridge.
- Daniel Alexander QC - a former Kennedy Scholar, barrister at 8 New Square.
- Professor Kay-Tee Khaw - Professor of Clinical Gerontology at the University of Cambridge, School of Clinical Medicine.
- Professor Andrew Whittle (representing MIT) - A former Kennedy Scholar, Professor and Head of Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering.
- Johnny Grimond - Editor at large The Economist.
- Dr Peter Englander- Director of Apax Partners, CEO of the Apax Foundation.
- United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom - (representing the President of the United States).
- Professor Anthony Saich (representing Harvard)- Director of the Ash Centre for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Daewoo Professor of International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School
- Dr Martin Weale CBE, Monetary Policy Committee, Bank of England
In total, 488 individuals have been awarded a Kennedy Scholarship. The selection process is highly competitive, with a national competition which begins each autumn. Following a long-list and short-list process, around twenty-five individuals are invited to London for interview by the trustees.
When evaluating applications and interviewing candidates, the trustees take into consideration:
- intellectual ability
- personal and communication skills
- wider interests and attainments
- the focus and value of the candidate's proposed study at Harvard or MIT
- capacity for future influence and leadership
The selection aims, criteria and standards are comparable to the Rhodes Scholarship program. William Waldegrave, Baron Waldegrave of North Hill, the current chairman of the Rhodes Scholarship program and Provost of Eton College, studied at Harvard as a Kennedy Scholar. All successful applicants are invited to an annual reception in their honour.
Notable Kennedy scholars
Prominent former scholars include:
Politics, government and civil service
- Ed Balls - politician - Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer (2011 -), Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (2007-2010)
- Phillida Bunkle - politician - Minister of Customs (1999–2002), New Zealand Government
- Nicholas Boles - Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (2012 -), Chief of Staff to the London Mayor Boris Johnson (2008), Director of the Policy Exchange (2002–2007),
- Yvette Cooper - politician - Shadow Home Secretary (2011 -), Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (2009 - 2010), Chief Secretary to the Treasury (2008–2009)
- David Curry - politician - shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (2003–2004), Minister for Local Government, Housing and Urban Regeneration (1994–1997)
- Alan Duncan - politician - Minister of State for Department for International Development (2010 -), shadow Leader of the House of Commons (2009), shadow Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (2005–2009),
- Barry Gardiner - politician - Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office (2004–2005), Department of Trade and Industry (2005–2006) and DEFRA (2006–2007)
- Duncan Hamilton (politician) - politician - Member of the Scottish Parliament for Highlands and Islands region (1999–2003), youngest member of the Scottish Parliament, special advisor to Alex Salmond, First Minister for Scotland (2007 -)
- Kwasi Kwarteng - politician - Member of Parliament for Spelthorne (2010 -)
- Gordon Marsden - politician - Parliamentary Private Secretary to Lord Chancellor's Department (2001-2003) and to Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (2003-5)
- Ian Martin - United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Nepal, Secretary-General of Amnesty International (1986–1992)
- David Miliband - politician - President International Rescue Committee (2013-), Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (2007–2010)
- Chris Smith, Baron Smith of Finsbury - politician - Chairman of the Environment Agency (2008 -), Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1997–2001)
- Una O'Brien - Permanent Secretary, Department of Health (United Kingdom)
- Richard Tomlinson - Former MI6 officer, author of the Big Breach: From Top Secret to Maximum Security.
- William Arthur Waldegrave, Baron Waldegrave of North Hill - politician - Secretary of State for Health (1990–1992), Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1992–1994), Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (1994–1995), Chief Secretary to the Treasury (1995–1997). Chairman of the Rhodes Scholarship program and Provost of Eton College.
- Moira Wallace - Provost Oriel College, Oxford University (2013-), Permanent Secretary, Department of Energy and Climate Change (2008 - 2012)
- Anthony Wayland Wright - politician - Chairman of the Public Administration Select Committee (1999 - 2010)
Economics and finance
- Ros Altmann - economist, pensions expert, former member of Number 10 Policy Unit
- Linda Todhunter Bilheimer - economist, Assistant Director, US Congressional Budget Office
- Lord Eatwell - economist, President of Queens' College, Cambridge University
- Peter Englander - Director of Apax Partners, CEO of the Apax Foundation.
- Sylvia Ann Hewlett - economist, founding President of the Center for Work-Life Policy
- Charlotte Hogg - economist, Chief Operating Officer, Bank of England (2013-)
- Mervyn King - the Governor of the Bank of England (2003-2013)
- Emma Rothschild - economic historian
- Tim Sims - Founder and Managing Director of Pacific Equity Partners
- Camilla Cavendish - journalist - leader writer, The Times
- Stephanie Flanders - Economics Editor, BBC
- Zanny Minton Beddoes - Editor, The Economist
- Simon Kuper - journalist and author, the Financial Times
- Anatole Kaletsky - Author and columnist Reuters Chairman, Institute for New Economic Thinking
- Catherine Sampson - journalist and author
- Andrew Blake (scientist) FREng, FRS - Principal Research Scientist at Microsoft Research Cambridge
- Jon Blundy - Professor of Petrology, Head of Earth Sciences Department, Bristol University; Fellow of the Royal Society
- Professor John Craven - Vice-chancellor of the University of Portsmouth, founder and first chairman of the University Alliance
- Gareth Evans (philosopher) - philosopher
- David Edwards FMedSci (neuroscientist) - Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Centre for the Developing Brain, King's College London.
- Mark Ford (poet) - poet
- David Held - Professor, School of Government and Master, University College, Durham University; Co-founder of Polity Press.
- Peter Hennessy - historian, Attlee Professor of Contemporary British History at Queen Mary, University of London. Recipient of the Orwell Prize
- Simon Goldhill - classicist, Professor of Greek Literature and Culture at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of King's College, Cambridge
- Neil F. Johnson - physicist, Professor of Physics at the University of Miami, Florida
- Richard K. Lester - Professor of Nuclear Engineering at MIT and Director of the MIT Industrial Performance Center.
- Dominic Lieven FBA - Professor of Russian Government, the London School of Economics and Political Science.
- Peter Littlewood - physicist, Head of the Department of Physics, Cambridge University
- Christopher Peacocke FBA - philosopher, Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University
- Tony Purnell - engineer, principal of the Jaguar Racing and Red Bull Formula One teams (2002–2005), Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor at the Engineering Department of Cambridge University.
- Simon Schaffer - Professor of the history and philosophy of science, Cambridge University
- Chloë Starr - Assistant Professor of Asian Theology, Yale Divinity School
- Mary Arden, the Rt Hon. Lady Justice Arden - Court of Appeal Judge, Chairman of the Law Commission (1996–1999)
- Nicholas Hamblen, The Hon. Mr Justice Hamblen - High Court Judge
- Sir Bernard Rix QC, Arbitrator and former Lord Justice of Appeal
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