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Students Win Boren Awards for Security-Related Research

Valerie Oliphant (G

Boren Fellow Valerie Olphant (G'12), second from left, stands with her intermediate Yoruba teacher, left, and two other Boren Fellows at a summer cooking class in Nigeria.

August 15, 2011 – Georgetown is one of two universities receiving the most 2011 David L. Boren Fellowships, which provide up to $30,000 for graduate students to study language and research in countries crucial to American interests.

The university, with 14 applicants and eight fellowship winners, also had the highest percentage of successful applicants in the country.


Perfect Match

Four of the students are from the relatively new Master of Arts Program in Conflict Resolution.

“The Boren fellowship provides an ideal opportunity for the most talented Georgetown students to develop advanced language and cultural fluency in regions of the world that are critical to U.S. and international security,” says Craig Zelizer, associate director of the conflict resolution program. “Through intensive in-country language training and related activities including optional research and internships, fellows develop a level of expertise that will greatly contribute to U.S. policymaking.

The Boren fellowship and scholarship awards, part of the National Security Education Program (NSEP), are administered through the Institute of International Education.

NSEP requires recipients to pursue work in the U.S. departments of defense, homeland security or state, other federal agencies with national security responsibilities and the intelligence community.

Nigerian Women

Valerie Oliphant (G’12), a master’s degree conflict resolution candidate, will begin researching the involvement of women in peace processes in Yoruba, Nigeria, at the end of this month. She will be based at the University of Ibadan.

“The Yoruba are an interesting case study because the population is evenly split between those that identify as Christian and those that identify as Muslim,” Oliphant explains.  “I would like to see how and if women's status in these two groups affect their involvement and ability to mitigate violence and promote peace.”

After graduation, she hopes to work for either the Bureau of African Affairs at the State Department or USAID's Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance Bureau or Food Security Bureau.

Undergraduate Award

One undergraduate  ­– international history major Amanda Lanzillo (F’13) – won a Boren scholarship, which provides up to $20,000 for study in strategically important areas that are also underrepresented.

Lanzillo departs for Tajikistan on Aug. 29 to attend a Eurasian Regional Language Program sponsored by the American Councils for International Education.

Boren Scholarship recipients have a one-year government service requirement they must fulfill after graduation. 

Other Awardees

To read about students with Boren Fellowships, visit the  Master of Arts Program in Conflict Resolution website.

Other Georgetown graduate students winning Boren fellowships and their research areas:
Julia Famularo, Ph.D. candidate, history, China
Mapping the History of Chinese Communist Party Policies in Tibet and Xinjiang

Karen Rupprecht (G’17), Ph.D. candidate, political science, Morocco
Arabic Language and Natural Law Philosophy

Matthew Steele (G’13), master’s candidate, international affairs, Egypt
Revisiting al-Anbar: Tribal Engagement in the Global War on Terror

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