Ty Joplin '16 Receives Boren Award
The grant from the National Security Education Program will fund the political science major's intensive Arabic study at the Oasid Arabic Institute in Amman, Jordan, over the next academic year.
Ty Joplin '16 is no stranger to the Middle East. The political science major was first inspired by Associate Professor Barak Mendelsohn's "Evolution of the Jihadi Movement," class to start studying that part of the world. And last summer, Joplin interned at the Moshe Dayan Center in Israel, conducting research for a senior thesis on ISIS and radicalization thanks to funding from the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship. So his upcoming move to Jordan seems like a natural one.
Joplin is one of only 165 undergraduates who has been chosen for a Boren Scholarship, a federal program sponsored by the National Security Education Program and designed to build a broader and more qualified pool of U.S. citizens with foreign language and international skills. (This year more than 800 undergrads applied to the prestigious program.) Boren Awards provide American students with resources to acquire language skills and experience in countries critical to the future security and stability of the United States. In exchange for funding such study, the award recipients agree to work for the federal government for at least one year.
Joplin will use his $20,000 grant for 10 months of intensive Arabic study at the Qasid Arabic Institute in Amman.
"Learning Arabic is, for me, the next step forward in actually understanding the issues of the Middle East and knowing what the U.S. can do," says Joplin. "The narratives and struggles of the Middle East are spoken in Arabic, and so I think to really grasp them, I need to speak that language. Trying to engage in the region with only English does not seem to do the region's complexity justice, and will most likely miss something subtle but important."
Joplin also notes that the dialect of Arabic spoken in Jordan, specifically, is politically relevant right now.
The former captain of Haverford's cricket team, who also minored in philosophy, was drawn to the Boren Awards Program not just because it represents an opportunity for crucial language acquisition, but also because of its governmental service component.
"I want to work in the government," says Joplin, "helping to analyze [Middle Eastern] issues better so we can engage in the region as productively as we can."
Since 1994, over 5,500 students have received Boren Awards, and the program's alumni are currently contributing to the critical missions of agencies throughout the federal government.
"To continue to play a leadership role in the world, it is vital that America's future leaders have a deep understanding of the rest of the world," says University of Oklahoma President David Boren, who as a U.S. Senator was the principal author of the legislation that created the National Security Education Program and the scholarships and fellowships that bear his name. "As we seek to lead through partnerships, understanding of other cultures and languages is absolutely essential."