Boren Scholars to Travel to Morocco, Jordan

Published on May 16, 2014

Ida Sophie Winter

Ida Sophie Winter

The David L. Boren Scholarship funds study abroad opportunities to areas of the world that are critical to the future security of United States interests.

While the Kingdom of Morocco is not commonly discussed among the areas critical to the U.S. national security, many Boren Scholars visit the country and next year MU sophomore Ida Sophie Winter will join that list. Winter is one of two Mizzou undergraduates to receive the Boren Scholarship for the 2014-15 academic year.

In applying for the scholarship, Winter presented an argument on Morocco’s importance to U.S. national security. Her rationale included the possibility for economic instability due to a potential drain on resources depending on how much the Moroccan government contributes to its large sub-Saharan immigrant population.

In addition, Morocco, which has few women in its workforce, could see an increase in revenue and power by placing more women in jobs. Finally, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb recently gained influence in regions bordering Morocco, which could lead to more volatility.

“Those are all very interesting things that could happen to Morocco or that Morocco could make happen in the near future,” Winter explains. “I think that its role could really change.”

Sasha Gubina, a sophomore at Mizzou, also received the Boren Scholarship and will travel to Jordan next year.

“I hope to progress in my knowledge of the language both in formal and colloquial Arabic,” Gubina says. “I would also like to learn more about the cultural aspects of Jordan and other Arabic-speaking countries.”

Sasha Gubina

Sasha Gubina

Gubina plans to participate in an internship that would benefit the local communities through service work at schools or refugee centers, while also taking part in traditional cultural events and visiting historical sights.

Gubina was born in Lugansk, Ukraine, where she lived for 10 years and Russian is her first language. She speaks fluent English, some Spanish and hopes to become proficient in Arabic.

“I really love new languages,” she says. “It feels fantastic when you can go to a country outside of the U.S. and be able to comfortably converse with the locals.”

Winter is also looking forward to increasing her language skills, hoping to improve her knowledge of French and Arabic, while learning about Morocco’s culture.

“You can’t even talk about a culture until you live there and have observed how people think,” Winter says.

Boren Scholarships are funded by the National Security Education Program, which focuses on geographic areas, languages and fields of study deemed critical to U.S. national security.

In addition, the Boren Awards offers the Boren Fellowships to graduate students at both the master’s and doctoral level. Mizzou doctoral student Rebecca Miller has been awarded the Boren Fellowship and will study in South Africa, while Gary Glass, also a doctoral student, has been named an alternate for study in Armenia.