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Drexel's 2020 Boren Awards Honorees

May 12, 2020

Two Drexel students have been designated as Alternates for the prestigious Boren Awards. These students were among 784 undergraduates from across the country who applied to the Boren Scholarship this year. The Boren Awards recognize students who demonstrate strong academic achievement and commitment to study language and work in regions critical to U.S. national interests.

We congratulate these students for their hard work during the application process and wish them the best for the future!

Amna Khalafalla
BS Custom-Designed Major - International Economic and Public Policy '22
Boren Scholarship Alternate to Egypt
Amna Khalafalla is an interdisciplinary student in the Custom-Designed Major program studying international economic and public policy. With a regional interest in the Middle East and North Africa, she has a minor in Arabic. She is interested in the fields of international development, political economy, and governance. In 2017, she was awarded the Gilman scholarship to take Middle Eastern Studies courses and improve her Arabic in the United Arab Emirates. The experience was incredibly enriching for her and she is seeking to study abroad again in North Africa to finish her Arabic minor. Amna is also a Dornsife Global Development scholar and was headed to Rwanda for the 2020 spring/summer co-op cycle to work with World Vision, but her program was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Catherine Kim
BA Global Studies ’22
Boren Scholarship Alternate to South Korea
Catherine is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Global Studies with a concentration in global justice and human rights and minors in Spanish and Korean. Though she grew up in a bilingual household, her interest in languages started when she took her first foreign language class in middle school. She carried this interest to college, where she has been taking Spanish and Korean classes since her freshman year. She hopes to attend law school, and apply her language skills in her future career.



The Boren Awards, an initiative of the National Security Education Program (NSEP), fund undergraduate and graduate US citizens to study less commonly taught languages in world regions that are critical to U.S. national security and under-represented in study abroad. The awards promote long term cultural and linguistic immersion in countries in Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Boren applicants are highly motivated individuals with an interest in serving in the federal national security arena. In exchange for funding, Boren awardees commit to working in the federal government for at least one year after graduation.

For more information, visit our Boren Awards page or contact



Official Press Release
2020 Boren Scholars and Fellows Awarded

The David L. Boren Scholarships and Fellowships are sponsored by the National Security Education Program (NSEP), a federal initiative designed to build a broader and more qualified pool of U.S. citizens with foreign language and international skills. Boren Awards provide 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 United States. In exchange for funding, Boren award recipients agree to work in the federal government for a period of at least one year. “The National Security Education Program,” according to Dr. Michael A. Nugent, Director of the Defense Language and National Security Education Office (DLNSEO), “is helping change the U.S. higher education system and the way Americans approach the study of foreign languages and cultures.”  

This year, the Institute of International Education (IIE), which administers the awards on behalf of NSEP, received 784 applications from undergraduate students for the Boren Scholarships and awarded 217; 268 graduate students applied for the Boren Fellowships and 119 were awarded. The selected Boren Scholars and Fellows intend to study in 44 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East.  They will study 46 different languages. The most popular languages include Mandarin, Arabic, Russian, Portuguese, Korean, French, Turkish, and Indonesian. Given the unprecedented global COVID-19 pandemic, IIE will work flexibly with 2020 awardees to ensure that as many as possible are able to proceed with their overseas language study when it is safe and feasible to do so.

Since 1994, over 7,000 students have received Boren Awards and contributed their vital skills to careers in support of 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 former U.S. Senator David Boren, the principal author of the legislation that created the National Security Education Program. “As we seek to lead through partnerships, understanding of other cultures and languages is absolutely essential.”

An independent not-for-profit founded in 1919, IIE is among the world's largest and most experienced international education and exchange organizations. Undergraduate and graduate students interested in applying for the Boren Awards should contact IIE at or visit