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W&L’s DJ Johnston ’22 Awarded Fellowship for Arabic Studies in Egypt Johnston was recently awarded a fellowship to the Center for Arabic Study Abroad at the American University in Cairo.

DJ-Johnson-1-scaled-512x400 W&L's DJ Johnston '22 Awarded Fellowship for Arabic Studies in EgyptDJ Johnston ’22

Washington and Lee University’s DJ Johnston ’22 has been awarded a fellowship to the Center for Arabic Study Abroad at the American University in Cairo (CASA@AUC). At W&L, Johnston is double majoring in economics and politics with a minor in Middle East and South Asia Studies. Johnston, a native of Lynchburg, Virginia, graduated from E.C. Glass High School.

The scholarship is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and the program is administered by the Institute of International Education. Established in 1967, CASA is a highly competitive, fully funded, one-year scholarship based on linguistic merit to study Arabic intensively at the AUC in Egypt. During the upcoming summer, fall and spring semesters, Johnston will be a full-time student and take advanced-level content courses in Modern Standard Arabic and Egyptian Colloquial Arabic to achieve near-native fluency. Numerous cultural excursions and opportunities for community engagements are also woven into the curriculum.

“This opportunity is a key stepping stone on my path to a career affecting positive international change as a steward of the American reputation,” Johnston said. “Communication is at the heart of diplomacy, and language skills are important in conducting good foreign policy.”

On campus, Johnston serves as one of the leaders of the Washingtonian Society and broadcasts to the greater Rockbridge County area every week on 91.5 (WLUR) Lexington. He also works at Campus Kitchen and the ITS Helpdesk in Leyburn Library.

Last academic year, Johnston was awarded a Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) to study Arabic in the summer and a Gilman Scholarship to study abroad with Middlebury Abroad at Mohammed V University in Rabat, Morocco. He believes these experiences helped prepare him for this upcoming period in Egypt and will support his future career plans.

“DJ is a hardworking and affable young man, as well as easily one of the strongest language students I have ever taught,” said Anthony Edwards, assistant professor of Arabic at W&L. “It’s incredible how quickly he picks up and remembers vocabulary and grammar. He approached Arabic with unbridled enthusiasm and now has won a competitive fellowship after just two years of intensive language study. It’s an incredible achievement. I couldn’t be more excited for him, and I can’t wait to hear about his experiences in Cairo.”

During the CASA@AUC program, Johnston also plans to further prepare for his future.

“While there, I will also apply to master’s degree programs in international relations with the hopes of eventually joining the federal government in a diplomatic capacity,” Johnston said.

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