David L. Boren is the principal author of the legislation that created the National Security Education Program and the Boren Awards, the scholarships and fellowships that bear his name. In arguing in the U.S. Senate for passage of NSEP, Boren expressed his view that the U.S. needed a large increase in experts in the languages and cultures of nations which were underrepresented in the number of U.S. students studying there. With changes in the world, Boren felt that the U.S. would work more and more through partnerships with other countries whose needs and perspectives needed to be more fully understood.
Boren Fellowships, an initiative of the National Security Education Program, provide unique funding opportunities for U.S. graduate students to study less commonly taught languages in world regions critical to U.S. interests, and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America, and the Middle East. In exchange for funding, Boren Awards recipients commit to working in the federal government for at least one year after graduation.