Student Receives Boren Scholarship to Pursue Peace Studies in Japan

OGDEN, Utah – Weber State University English student Rob Goodwin has been awarded $18,400 in scholarship money from the National Security Education Program to fund an academic year of study in Nagasaki, Japan.

Starting in September, Goodwin will attend the Nagasaki Foreign University, where he plans to hone his Japanese language skills and learn more about peace studies. Goodwin first discovered peace studies during a two-month stay in Hiroshima last summer, when he had the opportunity to study under professor Mitsuo Okomoto, one of the founding members of the peace studies movement. Peace studies, a relatively new field that has emerged in the past 30 years, is expected to shape and influence future diplomacy. Goodwin said the discipline is not well represented yet in the United States.

“When I returned to Utah last year, I knew I wanted to find a way to get back to Japan as soon as possible,” said Goodwin, who lives in North Ogden. The NSEP scholarship caught his attention, especially because it includes a service component that requires working for the government. For Goodwin, who is considering a career in diplomacy, it was a perfect fit.

Goodwin also is excited about the home-stay component of his scholarship. While in Nagasaki, he will live with a Japanese family, offering him an additional opportunity to be immersed in Japanese culture.

“There’s a monumental amount of difference between our two nations, culturally,” Goodwin said, regarding the U.S. and Japan. “Yet both influence the other’s culture.”

That influence sparked Goodwin’s initial interest in Japanese culture. As a junior high school student, Goodwin discovered anime, which prompted him to learn more about Japan and its culture.

Goodwin will formally receive the scholarship on May 30 in Washington, D.C. While there, he also will attend an orientation session for the NSEP scholarship program.

Goodwin was one of only 141 recipients of the 2006-2007 David L. Boren Undergraduate Scholarship, selected from a pool of 720 applicants this year. A panel of university faculty from across the nation reviews applications, giving preference to strategic geographic regions, applicants with expertise in a foreign language and those interested in careers in federal service.  This marks the second consecutive year, and third time in five years, that a WSU student has been awarded a NSEP Boren Undergraduate Scholarship.

The National Security Education Program (NSEP) was created by Congress in 1991 in an effort to help increase the ability of U.S. citizens to communicate and compete globally by knowing the languages and cultures of other countries. NSEP focuses on geographic areas, languages and fields of study deemed critical to U.S. national security. It draws on a broad definition of national security, recognizing that the scope has expanded to include not only the traditional concerns of protecting and promoting American well-being, but also the challenges of a global society, including sustainable development, environmental degradation, global disease and hunger, population growth and migration, and economic competitiveness.

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Rob Goodwin, 2006-2007 NSEP Boren Scholarship recipient

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John Kowalewski, director of Media Relations
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