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Keeping up with Altmans: Congratulations to Amanda Verdi, Altman's First Boren Scholar

April 25, 2016 5:45 PM

Amanda Verdi Boren Photo

Congratulations are in order as the Altman Program celebrates rising junior, Amanda Verdi, who is the recipient of the Altman Program's first-ever David L. Boren Scholarship for study abroad. The Boren Scholarship Program, which is an initiative of the US Government's National Security Education Program (NSEP), provides funding for students who wish to pursue language and cultural immersion in a region that is critical to US interests. These areas are generally "off the beaten path," locations in which American study abroad students are underrepresented. Amanda, who will be awarded $10,000, won the scholarship in order to study in Dakar, Senegal on the CIEE Development Studies Program during the fall of her junior year abroad! Prior to studying in Senegal, Amanda will spend this summer in Gainesville, Florida at the fully-funded African Flagship Languages Initiative (AFLI) Domestic Intensive Summer Program, hosted by the Center for African Studies and the Department of Languages, Literatures, & Culture, University of Florida. During this eight-week summer program, she will study Wolof, the lingua franca of Senegal and mother tongue of 40% of the population of Senegal. 

Amanda's journey to Senegal began during her freshman year at Tulane. She initially entered the Altman Program with Italian as her target language, but she quickly realized that fluency in French would be beneficial for a future career the field of International Development. She spent the summer between her freshman and sophomore year doing an intensive French language program – after the Altman rising sophomore study abroad program! – in order to test into upper-level French courses in order to prepare for her junior year abroad. In addition to her Business and Liberal Arts degrees, Amanda added a coordinate major in International Development here at Tulane. She decided to study in Senegal for one semester in order to understand the hands-on "implications of economic and development policy and government in the country," before heading to France to study these topics at the prestigious Sciences-Po.  

In order to apply for the Boren, Amanda wrote about the importance of Senegal's stability to help advance the peace and security of the entire West African region. You can read the introduction to her essay below:            

The United States relies on Senegal as an essential West African ally in what is otherwise an unstable region. This powerful relationship is contingent upon Senegal's ability to maintain its economic well-being. Senegal has emerged as an influential trading partner and is a proponent of many fundamental United States values, which contributes to its importance to United States national security. Senegal's major foreign policy promotes peace and political stability, advocates for human rights, and aids in African economic development and regional integration. As such, Senegal often serves as a regional peacekeeper and as a key participant in the economic advancement of the West African region. The maintenance of Senegal's stability is essential to U.S. national security so that the country can continue to assist in the United States' goals of democracy-building in the region, while also offering invaluable economic and political opportunities to Americans and Senegalese alike. 


Congratulations, Amanda! And Ba ci kanam!

Read more about Amanda and her plans in the New Wave article about her!