Boren Scholarship WinnerGAMBIER, Ohio (June 10, 2009) Sophomore Shaakira Raheem has been chosen as a recipient of the prestigious Boren National Security Education Program (NSEP) scholarship for the 2009-2010 school year. Valued at up to $20,000, the award is given every year to U.S. undergraduate students to assist in facilitating study in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests but underrepresented in study abroad. In 2009, 130 students received the scholarship out of a pool of 896 applicants to study less commonly taught languages, like Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Swahili.
Raheem, an international studies major, will head to Rabat, Morocco, for a year to study Arabic, specifically the Moroccan dialect called Darija. The dialect is spoken in the Maghreb region including Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Libya.
"As a Muslim American with a West African background, I am passionate about strengthening relations with this region," said Raheem, who hopes to work in a branch of national security, preferably in foreign service, after she graduates from Kenyon.
In addition to intensive language training, Raheem will study at the Mohammed V University-Agdal and live with a host family. She also plans to volunteer as a coach or youth coordinator at a local center in Rabat.
"I am so relieved that I got this scholarship," said Raheem. "I had many people helping me. I received great feedback from the internal review board we have at Kenyon, and they helped me strengthen my application a lot."
"Shaakira is an extraordinary young woman with a wealth of life experience well beyond her years," said Jane Martindell, dean for academic advising. "She is very articulate and passionate about international relations. Her understanding of the nuances in language, culture, and diplomacy shows a rare level of maturity. I believe she is destined for great things."
The Boren Scholarship is named after David L. Boren, University of Oklahoma President and former U.S. Senator. Boren is the principal author of the legislation that created the NSEP, which seeks to lead in development of the national capacity to educated U.S. citizens, understand foreign cultures, strengthen U.S. economic competitiveness, and enhance international cooperation and security.