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UM Alumnus Wins Prestigious Qatar Scholarship

Program provides unrivaled opportunities for American students of Arabic

Qatar University Photo courtesy of Ole Miss Communications
Qatar University
Photo courtesy of Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Gideon Moorhead, a 2013 University of Mississippi graduate, has won the prestigious Georgetown University’s Qatar Scholarship for the 2013-2014 academic year.

With only seven recipients worldwide this year, the Qatar Scholarship Program offers dedicated Arabic language students from the United States an opportunity to master their skills in an intensive Arabic language program at Qatar University in Doha for an entire academic year.

Moorhead, an Oxford native, first had an opportunity to experience the Middle East during a trip with a childhood friend. That experience had a lasting impact and encouraged him to complete his bachelor’s degree in political science with minors in Arabic and public policy leadership in May.

“At this stage in my life, an academic year abroad will be incredibly beneficial to both my short-term and long-term linguistic and career goals,” Moorhead said.

The goal of the Arabic for Non-Native Speakers Program is to contribute to the continuing dialogue between nations and world cultures, to foster tolerance and open interaction among them, to promote the Arabic language, and to provide students with opportunities to learn about the role of Arabic in history and the development of modern society.

The scholarship provides tuition, room and board in university dorms, round-trip airfare, local transportation and books. Moorhead was notified of his selection for the intensive program in April.

“Gideon has a natural desire to read about, study and analyze world affairs and how they tend to play out in the Middle East,” said Allen Clark, director of the UM Intensive Arabic Program and assistant professor of Arabic.

The Intensive Arabic Program allowed Moorhead to study at Yarmouk University in Irbid, Jordan, and he returned with a renewed desire to reach the highest levels of proficiency in Arabic.

“A scholarship of this magnitude indicates not only the strength of Ole Miss’s programs, but the high quality of its student population,” Clark said.

Moorhead credits each of his professors, particularly Clark, and the Intensive Arabic Program overall for guiding him through his academic year.

“The Department of Modern Languages is increasingly proud of its young and highly successful Arabic-language program,” said Donald Dyer, chair of the department. “The students in this program, as exemplified by Gideon Moorhead, have succeeded in their study of the language to the highest levels. They and their teachers are deserving of great praise for their accomplishments. This is in fact an academic program the entire university is becoming known for.”

Moorhead is a graduate of Oxford High School. His mother, Sharron Sarthou, lives in Oxford, and his father, Kent Moorhead, lives in Stockholm.

For more information about the Department of Modern Languages, visit http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/modern_languages/. For more information about the Intensive Arabic Program, visit http://www.olemiss.edu/arabic/

— Misty Cowherd, Ole Miss News Desk

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