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ECU student awarded scholarship to study Arabic

GREENVILLE, N.C.   (May 4, 2009)   —   An East Carolina University graduate student has been awarded a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship to study Arabic in Tunisia during the summer of 2009.  

Nathan Lean, a native of Goldsboro, will travel to the Centre d'Etudes Maghrébines in Tunisia for an eight-week program of classes in both Modern Standard Arabic and Tunisian dialect.  

"I am honored to have received this scholarship," said Lean, a Master of Arts candidate in East Carolina’s International Studies program. "The opportunity to travel to Tunisia and immerse myself in the study of the Arabic language and North African culture is thrilling. This program will help fulfill the goals of my academic career."

While working on his undergraduate degree at ECU, where he majored in piano performance, Lean took a Global Understanding course that he says changed the direction of his life and made him more globally aware. In 2006, he won a Global Understanding Scholarship from ECU to live and study in Morocco. While in Morocco, Lean partnered with the United States Embassy to develop a music program that sent him traveling around the country giving concerts.

“There could not be a more critical time to study Arabic,” Lean said. “I not only look forward to learning this beautiful language but also to promoting cultural empathy and global understanding through the friendships I hope to make. I am grateful for this opportunity.”

The CLS is one of the most prestigious language scholarships in the world and is part of the National Security Language Initiative, a U.S. government interagency effort to expand dramatically the number of Americans studying and mastering critical need foreign languages.  

In 2009, from more than 5,400 applications, the Department of State is awarding scholarships to more than 500 U.S. undergraduate and graduate students for the study of Arabic, Indic languages (Bangla/Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu) Turkic languages (Turkish, Azerbaijani) Chinese, Korean, Persian, and Russian.

All program costs are covered by the scholarship, including travel, pre-departure orientation costs, applicable visa fees, room, board, group-based intensive language instruction, program-sponsored travel within Tunisia and all entrance fees for program activities.


Contact: Rosina Chia | 252-328-6277