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kevin steele, jordan, 2015-2016

Kevin Steele looks forward to the day when he’s a volunteer in the Peace Corps, but by his own admission, he’s still got a ways to go before he’s ready to make that step.

The Stone Mountain native, who plans to graduate from UGA in May 2017 with degrees in international affairs and Arabic, intends to obtain a graduate degree in international affairs before joining the Peace Corps and hopes to have a career in the State Department’s Humanitarian Information Unit, “where I would assist in efforts to strategically predict where humanitarian aid is needed most.”

For the second time, Kevin will head overseas to intensify his study of Arabic. In 2014, he travelled to Morocco to study as part of the UGA Morocco Maymester, and for the first half of 2016 he’ll be at Qasid Institute in Amman, Jordan, taking courses in Modern Standard and colloquial Arabic.

While in Jordan on his Boren-funded trip, Kevin says he will also work for a local NGO that provides aid to refugees.

“Specifically, I will most likely be providing families with food and assisting families in finding an appropriate living space,” he says. “Here I would be confronted with firsthand experience with the issues that the United States’ main Islamic ally deals with and begin to gain insight into the logistics of humanitarian aid, as well as refugees’ most pertinent needs.”

Kevin believes it’s time the United States presents less of an “enforcer” image in the Middle East in favor of a more humanitarian front, and he adds that our country needs to continue to fortify its bonds with Jordan, “our most politically stable and strategic ally in the Middle East.

“The U.S. should place a higher emphasis on placing Americans supplying humanitarian aid to our allies in the Middle East, as well as people living in desolate regions throughout the Middle East, where jihadist ideology is usually planted,” Kevin, who is also minoring in TESOL at UGA, says. “It is essential that the U.S. strengthen its relationships throughout the Middle East, especially with our ally Jordan.”

While on campus, Kevin has served as a freshman board senator for the UGA Student Government Association and is a member of the UGA Student Alumni Council, a 36-person body chosen to serve as a liaison between UGA students and alumni. He is also recruitment chair for Georgia Daze, an 11-year-old organization that seeks to encourage talented, historically underrepresented students to enroll at UGA.

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