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Economics Student Named Boren Awards Fellow

Research: Youth Employment, Education in Oil-Based Economy


USF's Eric Fischer is a Boren Awards Fellowship for International Study winner for 2010-11.

The University of San Francisco’s Eric Fischer, a master’s student in economics, has been named winner of a Boren Awards Fellowship for International Study for 2010-11.

The prestigious $30,000 fellowship allowed Fischer to pursue advanced Arabic studies this summer, to be followed by nine months of economic research in Algeria where he’ll analyze the impact of an oil-based economy on youth education and employment.

Estimates put unemployment in Algeria at about 25 percent, with males under 30 most prominently affected.

David L. Boren fellowships are sponsored by the National Security Education Program, a 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 to acquire language skills and experience in countries critical to America’s future security and stability. In exchange for funding, Boren Awards recipients agree to work in the federal government for a period of at least one year.

“It is important for us as Westerners to understand the linkages between oil demand/supply and its impacts on developing countries,” Fischer said. “Youth are just one group of individuals in Algeria but one that I think is critically important for future development. There is a lot of work being done in Algeria and in the wider region to prepare future generations in the Middle East and North Africa for the globalized economy by using natural resources revenues efficiently and effectively.”

Fischer, who studied advanced Arabic over the summer at Middlebury Arabic Language School, part of Middlebury College in Vermont, will leave for Oran, Algeria for nine months for the research portion of his fellowship in December.

The fellowship will allow Fischer to combine his regional interest in North Africa with his expertise in economics and his Arabic language knowledge in preparation for a career in the U.S. government, where a shortage of Arabic-speaking economists persists.

“The Boren Fellowship in Algeria will give me an on-the-ground perspective on these issues that cannot be understood through data analysis alone,” Fischer said.

By extension, understanding the connections between Algeria’s oil-based economy and youth education and employment will help mold policies aimed at enhancing Algeria’s political stability, reducing its poverty, and increasing the population’s overall educational level, Fischer said.

Written by Edward Carpenter »usfnews@usfca.edu