CSU, Chico News

International Relations Student Receives Fellowship for Study in Egypt

Date: 07-19-2011

Kathleen Mc Partland
Public Affairs

Jose Valdovinos, a graduate student in American Politics and International Relations at California State University, Chico, has won a Boren Fellowship for $24,000 to study in Cairo, Egypt, for one year. The Boren Fellowships, funded by the National Security Education Program (NSEP), allow U.S. graduate students to add an international and language component to their graduate education.

Valdovinos will study Arab language, politics and culture. His graduate thesis is on U.S. foreign policy in the post-containment era (after World War II to the present). He is looking at the need to adapt foreign policies to the realities of the current world. He has a special interest in the Mideast and has taken Arabic Language classes. He and other Arabic language students have organized a club that invites Middle Eastern foreign students to interact with Americans who are studying Arabic.

Valdovinos is the first student from CSU, Chico to receive this fellowship. Professor Diana Dwyre, his master’s thesis adviser, wrote, “Jose is an unusually thoughtful, intelligent and mature young man with a serious and realistic commitment to public service. I strongly urged him to pursue the Boren Fellowship as a program that could bring his current knowledge and experience together with advanced, targeted language and political science training in preparation for his ideal career choice, which is to work for the Department of State. This is a prestigious award, and we are very proud of him.”

Valdovinos has had experience in a variety of fields during his career at CSU, Chico. As an undergraduate, he specialized in legal studies and gained applied and academic experience while working at the Community Legal Information Center. He was selected as one of the few undergraduate directors of a CLIC program. In that position, he supervised other students while working under the guidance of a bar-certified supervising attorney/faculty member.

Valdovinos will study at the American University in Cairo and hopes to live with a host family during his year-long stay in Egypt. “At the end of the day, we are all people and want the same things,” said Valdovinos. “A host family will keep me in touch with the basic level of government—its people. It doesn’t matter what race or creed, it is family that makes up our nations, and it is important for me to keep in touch with that.”

Valdovinos believes that this fellowship will help prepare him to work for the State Department one day. He believes that he will not only be able to contribute to solving some of the problems of the world, but will also be able to travel and learn about different countries and cultures all over the world.

Boren Fellowships support study and research in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. NSEP focuses on geographic areas, languages and fields of study deemed critical to U.S. national security. NSEP draws on a broad definition of national security, recognizing that the scope of national security has expanded to include not only the traditional concerns of protecting and promoting American well-being, but also the challenges of global society, including sustainable development, environmental degradation, global disease and hunger, population growth and migration, and economic competitiveness.