Arabic Major Nets Boren Scholarship

Dominick Giovanniello will received a $20,000 scholarship to study Arabic in Jordan, and in exchange will work for the U.S. government for at least one year after graduation.

University of Virginia student Dominick Giovanniello will study Arabic for a year in Amman, Jordan, thanks to a Boren Scholarship, and in exchange, will devote time to government service.

Giovanniello, a second-year student double-majoring in Arabic and global security and justice, with a minor in French, will receive $20,000 for a year to study Arabic with CET Academic Programs in Amman. In exchange for Boren Scholarship funding, students commit to work in the federal government for at least one year after graduation.

“I am excited to be able to study overseas and cannot wait to do so,” Giovanniello said. “I want to spend the entirety of next year studying Arabic in Jordan, and the Boren award will make that possible. I also want to work for the government and the service component seemed like a natural fit.”

Giovanniello likes languages, particularly Arabic, and hopes to work on conflict resolution and political development in the Middle East.

“Study abroad is critically important in developing students able to thrive in the world ahead,” said Jeffrey W. Legro, vice provost for global affairs and Taylor Professor of Politics. “Even better if they can immerse themselves in the language and society of a different culture for a semester or a year. Dominick’s success with the Boren Scholarship provides an opportunity to dig deep into how others think and act – the type of understanding that will serve him and the United States well.”

Mohammed Sawaie, a professor in the Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Cultures, has taught Giovanniello in two courses.

“Dom is deeply committed to the study of the language and aspires to have a good mastery of it, which he sees as a prerequisite for his future career in diplomacy in the Middle East,” Sawaie said.  “He is hard-working, serious, intelligent and inquisitive.  He speaks the language at a good level; his writing is almost error-free.”

A 2014 graduate of James Madison High School in Vienna and an Echols Scholar, Giovanniello is a volunteer at Madison House and a research assistant at the UVA Initiative for Religion, Politics and Conflict.

“Receiving the prestigious Boren Scholarship is a testament to Dominick’s commitment to the Arabic language, both in and out of the classroom,” said Stacey Hansen, senior education abroad adviser and operations coordinator in the International Studies Office. “Studying abroad for the academic year will undoubtedly help him bolster his language abilities and develop skills to navigate a different culture with its implicit values and norms – the types of cultural skills and knowledge that employers look for.”

The Boren Scholarships, an initiative of the National Security Education Program, provide funding opportunities for U.S. undergraduate students to study less-commonly taught languages in world regions that are critical to U.S. interests, but underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe,  Latin America and the Middle East.

Media Contact

Matt Kelly

University News Associate Office of University Communications