Two University of Illinois undergraduates who are minoring in Arabic, Enddy Almonord and Barghav Sivaguru, are among 244 students nationwide awarded David L. Boren Scholarships, with a third Illinois student named an alternate.
Enddy Almonord, of Champaign, a 2018 graduate of Central High School, received $20,000 to continue her study of Arabic for eight months at Qasid Institute in Amman, Jordan. In 2017 Almonord enrolled in the 2-week intensive Elementary Arabic course offered as part of the Summer Institute for Languages of the Muslim World (SILMW) on the Illinois campus. The class is an introductory course in Modern Standard Arabic for high school students with limited or no prior knowledge of the Arabic language.
Almonord completed her freshman year as a political science and communication major at Illinois, with a minor in Arabic. During the school year, she works two jobs to help finance her education. Almonord also participates in the Program in Arms Control and Domestic and International Security and is active in the music service fraternity, Kappa Kappa Psi, and in the marching band.
Almonord hopes to pursue graduate studies after receiving an undergraduate degree from Illinois. “I want to help shape U.S. foreign policy so that in our pursuit of national security, we not only protect ourselves but assist in the stabilizing and developing of the countries where we foresee a threat,” she said.
Sivaguru, of Mahomet, Illinois, and a graduate of Mahomet-Seymour High School, has been awarded $20,000 to study Arabic for the 2019-20 academic year at Qasid Institute. A senior double majoring in communication and political science, and minoring in Arabic, Sivaguru was named a member of the Senior 100 Honorary. Sivaguru has taken advanced Arabic as well as Business Arabic at Illinois, with both courses taught by Dr. Eman Saadah, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Linguistics, and Director and Language Coordinator of Arabic at Illinois. Dr. Saadah also is Advisor for the Minor in Arabic Studies.
Sivaguru has served as a peer mentor at the LAS Life + Career Design Lab, as a project manager in Illinois Business Consulting, and as a member of the Program in Arms Control and Domestic and International Security. In summer 2018, he worked as an intern at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C., editing scholarly articles analyzing politics and international relations in the Middle East and policy papers discussing regional counterterrorism efforts.
Sivaguru attributes his foreign service career aspirations to his background as an immigrant. “It is my experience growing up as a first-generation immigrant that inspires me to serve in government,” he said. “I have grown up wanting to see diverse representation in the government, and now I see an opportunity to embody that diversity through government service.”
The National Security Education Program (NSEP) selects undergraduate students to add international and language components to their educations by studying overseas in world regions critical to U.S. interests. In the 2019-20 academic year, Boren Scholars and Fellows will live in 39 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East, studying 30 different languages.
NSEP is a major federal initiative designed to build a broader and more qualified pool of U.S. citizens with foreign language and international skills. NSEP’s Boren Awards program provides U.S. undergraduate and graduate students with resources and encouragement to acquire language skills and experience in countries critical to the future security and stability of the nation. In exchange for funding, Boren Award recipients agree to work in the federal government for at least one year.