Alumnus Adriel Taslim Awarded Boren Fellowship to Study in Thailand


MACON – Mercer University alumnus Adriel Taslim has been awarded a Boren Fellowship to study the Thai language in Thailand during the 2016-2017 academic year.

Taslim, from Redding, California, is currently pursuing his Master of International Affairs at the University of California, San Diego, as both a Robertson Fellow and a Rosenthal Fellow of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs.

As an undergraduate at Mercer, he studied in the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings within the Townsend School of Music. He earned his bachelor's degree summa cum laude in May 2014 with majors in violin performance and French literature. Additionally, he minored in Asian studies, earned University Honors and departmental honors in French, and was a finalist for both Marshall and Fulbright scholarships.

“At Mercer, we claim that everyone majors in changing the world. Adriel's commitment to improving economic and political relations between the United States and Southeast Asia is an excellent example of how Mercer students live out this slogan,” said Dr. David A. Davis, director of fellowships and scholarships and associate professor of English.

Following his graduation from Mercer, Taslim spent a year teaching in Thailand with Service First, a program based in the University's Institute of Life Purpose.

“I hope to use this opportunity to add a formal depth to the already formidable informal Thai language skills I acquired while living in Thailand last year,” Taslim said of the Boren Fellowship. “This further cultural and linguistic assimilation will be invaluable towards my future in which I hope to focus on enhancing U.S. diplomatic relations abroad through culture and public policy.”

Taslim's graduate work at UC San Diego includes specializations in public policy and Southeast Asia. He has a strong interest in political and economic affairs throughout Asia, particularly as they relate to policy affecting populations and economies in the southeast region of the continent. He is fluent in French and proficient in Mandarin, German, Thai and Bahasa Indonesia. Also a concert violinist, he has performed at festivals in the U.S. and Europe.

While at Mercer, Taslim was heavily involved in international programs and campus organizations, including French club Le Cercle Français, the German Club and Mercer International Affairs Organization. He was also a founding member of Mercer Asian Society and Interest Association (ASIA). He received awards for academic and general excellence in music, as well as the University's L.P. Irvin Award for Outstanding Achievement in Foreign Language for his studies in French, Mandarin, German and Italian.

David L. Boren Scholarships and Fellowships are sponsored by the National Security Education Program (NSEP), a major federal initiative designed to build a broader and more qualified pool of U.S. citizens with foreign language and international skills. Boren awards provide U.S. undergraduate and graduate students with resources and encouragement to acquire language skills and experience in countries critical to the future security and stability of our nation. In exchange for funding, Boren award recipients agree to work in the federal government for a period of at least one year.

This year, the Institute of International Education (IIE), which administers the awards on behalf of NSEP, received 820 applications from undergraduate students for the Boren Scholarship, and 165 were awarded. An additional 350 graduate students applied for the Boren Fellowship, and 105 were awarded. Boren Scholars and Fellows will live in 41 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America and the Middle East. They will study 36 different languages.

Since 1994, over 5,500 students have received Boren awards. Boren Scholars and Fellows represent a vital pool of highly motivated individuals who wish to work in the federal national security arena, and program alumni are contributing to the critical missions of agencies throughout the federal government. An independent not-for-profit founded in 1919, IIE is among the world's largest and most experienced international education and exchange organizations. For more information, visit