On Thursday, August 21, the PAIA department was happy to host Professor Susan Wadley to speak about the Boren Fellowship, the Critical Language Scholarships, and the Fulbright Scholarship programs. These opportunities, funded by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, are of primary interest to students pursuing work that will take them overseas, there is an increasing need for professionals working on domestic issues to be able to understand best practices among international policy professionals. Since the Application Period for 2015 -2016 Boren Fellowships just opened, it seems appropriate to speak about this now.
Each of these awards is intended for different international goals.
The Boren Fellowships are a funding opportunity offered through the National Security Education Program and are intended for graduate students who seek to study uncommon languages that are critical to U.S. National Security interests.
The fellowships offer up to $24,000 in funding for graduate students to pursue international language study in a critical language. These include languages as widely spoken as Hindi, Mandarin and Turkish, and unique languages such as Albanian, Moldovan and Slovenian. Successful applicants are encouraged to spend more than 6 months studying a language in-depth to gain significant competence in that language.
As the fellowships are geared towards students who are interested in working in the federal national security arena, the program focuses on students who can articulate the national security importance of the language.
In this regard the Boren Fellowship program has broadly defined national security beyond its traditional rubric of security studies and/or diplomacy. In the Fellowship’s eyes, national security can also include international trade, sustainable development, and global disease prevention, making it more representative of the emergent field of human security, rather than pure national security.
Critical Language Scholarships
Similar to the Boren Fellowship, the Critical Language Scholarship program is structured around intensive language education. The CLS focuses on summer language coursework in thirteen languages deemed critical by the U.S. government.
One of the primary differences between the two programs is that the CLS program is more amenable to students with a beginning level of language knowledge in the following important international languages, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Hindi, Indonesia, Korean, Punjabi, Turkish, and Urdu. Since these languages are spoken by more than 911 million people worldwide, this could come in handy.
Fulbright Grants & Programs
The Fulbright program is the U.S. Government’s flagship international exchange program, with more than 68 years of experience sending Americans overseas and bringing international citizens to the U.S. to build cultural bridges and advance international peace and understanding.
Fulbright offers a number of grants and fellowships that are of particular interest to graduate students, but the three that master’s degree candidates and holders would be most interested in are the English Teaching Assistant Grants, Study/Research Grants, and the new Fulbright-Clinton Fellowships (developed in part by Maxwell Alum Vince Pickett). In the past, Fulbright has offered Travel Grants, but these are now limited to Germany, Hungary and Italy.
For more information on these awards, please contact the Department of Public Administration and International Affairs, or the Syracuse University Campus Representatives for the Boren Fellowship, the campus Fulbright Program Advisors, or the campus advisors for the Critical Language Scholarships.