The Sailing Dinner

Each year the Association hosts a “Sailing Dinner” in honour of the 11 Canadian Rhodes Scholars selected from Canada. This event is held in Ottawa, just prior to the departure of the Scholars-elect for their first term at Oxford. This event is called the “Sailing Dinner” because it was traditionally held on the eve of the sailing by Canadian Rhodes Scholars by steamship to England from

either Montreal or Quebec City. Following the discontinuance of scheduled trans-Atlantic crossings from Canada, Canadian Scholars joined their American colleagues for a joint sailing from New York. During this period, the American Association of Rhodes Scholars graciously hosted the sailing event. The Americans continued to extend their hospitality to Canadian Rhodes Scholars even after the discontinuance of regularly scheduled liner service from New York. During this period, Canadian Scholars-elect joined their American colleagues in New York for farewell festivities and they flew to London together.

After a number of years of Canadian Scholars flying to England from New York, the Canadian Association of Rhodes Scholars thought that it would be appropriate to re-institute the “Sailing Dinners” in Canada’s capital – Ottawa. This event provides the new Scholars with an opportunity to meet former Scholars from across Canada and to learn more about the Rhodes tradition while getting to know

each other prior to commencing their studies at Oxford. It includes a reception and dinner in honour of the Scholars-Elect at which the Canadian Secretary of the Rhodes Trust, Arthur Scace, introduces the Scholars-elect to former Scholars in attendance. The British High Commissioner is also an invited guest.

The Sailing Dinner is part of a weekend of activities that include meetings with a Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and senior officials. A “pub crawl” in the Byward Market led by recently returned Scholars provides the new Scholars with some additional insight into life at Oxford.

Sailing Dinner 2006

The 2006 Sailing Dinner was a lovely evening hosted at the National Arts Center in Ottawa. Sixty Scholars from across the country had the chance to mingle with eleven outstanding Scholars-Elect. The attendees were privileged to hear from Dr. An-Wen Chan, the Sailing Dinner’s keynote speaker.

Dr. Chan’s speech resonated well with the audience. He spoke of his belief that being a Rhodes Scholar is about making a valuable contribution to society. He told the Scholars-Elect that their time at Oxford was about exploring and defining their sphere of interest in order to forge a meaningful path and way forward.

Dr. An-Wen Chan (MD, DPhil) is a policy scientist in the Department of Research Policy and Cooperation at the World Health Organization. He joined the WHO in 2005 after being seconded from the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto, where he currently practices medicine. He also holds an appointment as Special Advisor at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the premier federal funding agency for medical research.

Following his medical training at the University of Calgary, Canada, Dr Chan completed a doctorate in public health as a Rhodes Scholar in Oxford, UK (2000-2003). Dr Chan’s current work addresses issues of transparency and bias in drug development, particularly in low-income countries. He serves on the editorial board of the medical journal PLoS Clinical Trials, and has published over 20 articles in leading scientific journals, including Science, The Lancet, and the Journal of the American Medical Association – one of which was a finalist for ‘Paper of the Year’ in 2004. Dr Chan has also given more than 20 invited presentations on health research policy and medical evidence at national and international fora, including the European Union and the Asian-Pacific Conference on Evidence-based Medicine. He was a founding member of the Ottawa Group, a grassroots organization that advocates for the ethical conduct and reporting of drug testing in human subjects.

Sailing Dinner 2007

We are in the midst of planning the Sailing Dinner for 2007. It will be held in Ottawa, with date and location to be determined. Please check back soon – details will be posted here. Please check back soon!