Stanford junior wins 2019 Truman Scholarship for graduate studies
Eva Borgwardt, whose academic and public service work has focused on Israeli-Palestinian relations, hopes to use the Truman Scholarship to pursue a joint degree program in law and global affairs.
The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation has named Eva Borgwardt, a Stanford junior majoring in history, as a 2019 Truman Scholar.
Borgwardt was one of 62 outstanding college students chosen from across the nation for the scholarship, which provides up to $30,000 students who want to attend graduate school in preparation for careers in public service.
Stanford nominated Borgwardt for the scholarship following a highly competitive process.
In its nomination letter, the Stanford Truman Nominee Selection Committee said Borgwardt’s public service work has already an effect on an issue of international significance – Israeli-Palestinian relations.
“Rarely have we seen an undergraduate wield such thoughtful and effective leadership on a national level,” the letter said. “The foundations of Eva’s leadership lie in her ability to think systemically (local to national and international), her charisma and communications skills, her capacity for critical reflections and analysis, and her talent for institution-building.”
President Marc Tessier-Lavigne told Borgwardt she had won the scholarship during a Tuesday afternoon phone call in which he offered his congratulations.
Borgwardt said she was excited and honored to receive the scholarship.
“I’m so grateful for this opportunity to pursue a graduate education that will give me more tools to keep fighting for the issues I care about, including a just future for both Israelis and Palestinians, and a U.S.-Israel relationship that is based in values of democracy and equality for all,” she said.
Borgwardt, 22, of St. Louis, Missouri, hopes to use the scholarship to pursue a JD degree and a master’s degree in global affairs, which she hopes will give her both theoretical and practical skills as well as the necessary national and international legal context to have a positive impact on U.S. foreign policy.
Currently, Borgwardt is working on an honors thesis about generational shifts in Israeli peace movements under advisor Steven Zipperstein, the Daniel E. Koshland Professor in Jewish Culture and History in the School of Humanities and Sciences.
Since her first year on campus, Borgwardt has been active in the Stanford chapter of J Street U, a student organization that educates and advocates for peace, security and social justice in Israel and Palestine.
Currently, Borgwardt is president of the National Student Board of J Street U.
At the end of her sophomore year, Stanford Politics, a nonpartisan student newsmagazine, named her one of the “Ten Most Influential Students in Campus Politics.” Its editorial board described her as “a champion of open-mindedness, collaboration and communication between different political identities” for her work on the Israel/Palestine conflict.
At the start of her junior year, the Haas Center for Public Service awarded Borgwardt a Jane Stanford Fellowship to work full time at J Street U’s Oakland office and its headquarters in Washington, D.C. She spent fall quarter working on the organization’s “Stop Demolitions, Build Peace” campaign.
She also served as a summer intern at J Street U in Israel, where she worked with Israeli and Palestinian peace activists and led dual narrative tours to the West Bank that presented the history and politics of the area from Israeli and Palestinian perspectives.
Borgwardt has been actively involved in Hillel at Stanford, whose mission is to empower Jewish students at Stanford to explore and deepen their Jewish identities. As a member of The Stanford Shakespeare Company, she designed and presented theater workshops with youth at local underprivileged schools.
She also helped found Stanford’s Jewish Social Justice Collective, a student group that engages with domestic social justice issues and Jewish values by holding teach-ins about Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, attending protests on and off campus, and holding monthly Shabbat services that integrate Jewish ritual and themes of social justice.
As a Truman Scholar, Borgwardt will participate in professional development programs designed to help her prepare for a career in public service leadership, including the Truman Scholar Leadership Week and an eight-week Summer Institute in Washington D.C.
For her internship, Borgwardt hopes to work with an organization such as the U.S. Institute of Peace, a nonpartisan organization that guides peace talks and advises governments, trains peace activists and supports community groups opposing extremism – all to help troubled countries solve their own conflicts peacefully.
“I am particularly interested in the interplay between the grassroots level and the diplomatic one,” Borgwardt said in her scholarship application. “The institute has a robust program in both policy and grassroots peacebuilding in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, and employs a diversity of approaches with which I would love to gain experience before entering graduate school.”