David L. Boren Fellowships Awarded to Graduate Students

Posted: August 21, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: August 4, 2011 at 4:22 pm

By Ryann Doyle

Vanessa Noël Brown and Salome Tewelde, graduate students in conflict analysis and resolution, have been awarded the prestigious David L. Boren Graduate Fellowship.

Sponsored by the National Security Education Program, the Boren fellowships support students pursuing the study of languages, cultures and world religions that are critical to U.S. interests in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the Caribbean.

Brown will be in Rabat, Morocco, from September 2007 to August 2008. There she will study Darija, a dialect of Arabic particular to North Africa.

Brown will also use the grant money to conduct observational research of local nongovernmental organization (NGO) conflict prevention initiatives, such as programs designed for at-risk youth in urban shantytowns.

“I plan to utilize my year of field work to produce a case study on how Islamic values have shaped ongoing democratic reforms throughout the Maghreb region,” says Brown.

Tewelde will travel to Damascus, Syria, to attend Damascus University from September 2007 to May 2008. She will study modern standard Arabic.

“My research area of interest is conflict prevention in the Middle East, and being able to understand Arabic gives me another tool in my toolbox to make it easier for me to understand conflict before it erupts,” explains Tewelde.

Having a better understanding of modern standard Arabic will give Tewelde a broader foundation so she will be able to pick up on other dialects of Arabic spoken throughout the region, such as Egyptian, she says. By taking her multilingual capabilities outside the classroom and incorporating them into her daily life in Syria, she feels she will be better equipped to understand the Arabic media and detect and follow emerging trends in the Arabic speaking world.

A requirement to be selected for the Boren fellowship is that the student must work for a U.S. federal department or agency with national security responsibilities upon completion of the fellowship. Participants will be expected to use the language or regional expertise acquired during their fellowship in their work for the U.S. government.

For more information about the fellowship, visit the National Security Education Program web site.

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