Lahlou ’24 Earns Boren Scholarship

June 27, 2024

By Jessica Firpi ’11

Boren Scholar Adam Lahlou '24

Adam Lahlou ’24 has earned a Boren Scholarship, a prestigious award reserved for students who intend to pursue careers in federal national security.

Adam Lahlou ’24 has earned a highly esteemed Boren Scholarship to study French in Senegal, West Africa, as part of the African Flagship Languages Initiative (AFLI).

The David L. Boren Scholarship provides funding for U.S. undergraduate students to study underrepresented languages in international regions critical to U.S. interests. In exchange for funding, Boren Scholars commit to work in the federal government for at least one year after graduation.

The scholarship is a natural fit for Lahlou, an international relations major who plans either to join the Foreign Service or go to graduate school to pursue a career in academia.

“Rollins has helped me grow into a global citizen, and I learned the importance of cultural immersion,” shares Lahlou, who developed his passion for international relations through cultural exchange and global advocacy, gaining full scholarships to intern in Uganda advocating for youth empowerment and completing an international leadership course in Strasbourg, France.

His interest in French swelled during his time at Rollins. “I cannot say enough kind words about the Rollins French department—the faculty did a wonderful job of turning me into a linguaphile,” says Lahlou. “They truly motivated me to learn and perfect my French, and now the passion for my heritage has blossomed into intellectual and professional goals.” The Boren’s AFLI program requires a French proficiency of intermediate-high or greater.

Adam Lahlou on study abroad

Lahlou also pursued an immersive Francophone experience in Africa, studying for a semester in Tunisia last year. Lahlou’s time in Tunisia kick-started his research on how Amazigh groups across North Africa were stifled from economic opportunities due to their unrecognized dialects, which ignited a passion for language policy in governance and helped him earn a Fulbright research fellowship at Al Akhawayn University, Fes University, and Institut Royal de la Culture Amazigh, Morocco.

But he’s only getting started. Lahlou was drawn to pursue the Boren since the program will refine his French to full fluency while also giving him the opportunity to learn about the indigenous languages and cultures of another African country.

“I’ll get to interact with speakers of Senegalese ethnic languages such as Pulaar, Diola, or Mandinka and hear stories of how endangered languages affect communities,” shares Lahlou. “The battle to preserve endangered languages is transnational, and I believe Senegal’s mix of Islamic, Francophone, and African culture intersects with the plight of the Amazigh language. Learning from Senegalese ethnic language advocates will empower me to advocate for Tamazight in professional settings in North Africa.”

The Boren, which carries a maximum award of $20,000, is also a gateway to a career in the federal service, one of Lahlou’s career aspirations.

“A position in the foreign service in the MENA region will allow me to do what I love most: advocate for those who feel misrepresented and for peaceful policies globally while proudly serving my country,” says Lahlou. “I am specifically interested in public diplomacy positions, where I can use my interpersonal skills to better understand pain points during national crises and my creative problem-solving skills to adapt to challenges.”

Professor and students in a class discussion at a Rollins outdoor classroom

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