NORMAN – A University of Oklahoma alumnus is the only graduate student from a Big 12 university to be awarded a prestigious Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Foreign Affairs Fellowship.
Lester Asamoah, who this month earned a Bachelor of Arts in international and area studies from OU and will pursue graduate studies at American University, is one of 20 students nationwide to receive the fellowship, which is administered for the U.S. Department of State by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation.
“The university is extremely proud that Lester Asamoah, one of our own, has been awarded this outstanding fellowship,” said OU President David L. Boren. “This award is further evidence of the strengths of international studies at the University of Oklahoma.”
The Pickering Fellowship identifies and cultivates outstanding college students and recent graduates whose academic backgrounds fulfill the skill needs of the State Department and who are dedicated to representing America’s interests abroad. Pickering Graduate Fellows receive financial support toward a two-year, full-time master’s degree program in a field related to international affairs and diplomacy at one of nearly a dozen institutions nationwide. Additionally, Fellows participate in one domestic and one overseas internship. Upon the completion of their master’s degree, they commit to five years of service as a Foreign Service Officer.
The Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship Program is named in honor of one of the most distinguished and capable American diplomats of the latter half of the 20th century. Ambassador Pickering holds the rank of Career Ambassador, the highest rank in the U.S. Foreign Service. He served as ambassador to Nigeria, El Salvador, Israel, India and the Russian Federation, finishing his four decade-long career in the Foreign Service as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.