Benjamin Orbach Wins NSEP’s 2008 Sol Linowitz Award
Award Ceremony Honors Author of Live from Jordan
Washington, DC – September 19, 2008 – Benjamin Orbach, the author of the acclaimed Live from Jordan, will receive the 2008 Sol Linowitz award from The National Security Education Program (NSEP) at a ceremony on September 22, 2008 in Washington D.C.
Each year NSEP honors a Boren fellow alumnus and/or alumna for outstanding service and achievement through the Sol Linowitz Award. NSEP is a U.S. government-funded program to strengthen national security through initiatives that improve critical foreign language proficiency and cultural expertise. Since 1992, NSEP has awarded David L. Boren Fellowships to support graduate students studying language and culture and conducting research in countries critical to US interests. The Boren Fellowship builds a broader and more qualified pool of U.S. citizens with foreign language and international competence.
Benjamin Orbach, a 2002 Boren Fellow, studied Arabic in Jordan and then Egypt after evacuating from Amman with the start of the Iraq war in 2003. Over a 13-month period, Orbach took his study of Arabic from the classrooms of universities and language institutes to the coffee shops, markets, deserts, and night clubs of Jordan, Egypt, Syria, and other parts of the Middle East. Along the way, he discovered everyday people with problems that he could relate to and a world more complicated and more beautiful than many Americans imagine. Live from Jordan: Letters Home from My Journey Through the Middle East (AMACOM, 2007) is the incredible story, told via his eloquent, thoughtful, and irreverent letters home, of Orbach’s 13-month journey through the Middle East.
Former Middle East envoy Dennis Ross called Live from Jordan “an extraordinary picture of attitudes in the Arab world.” Ross said, “Orbach is a wonderful observer.... and in reading his book—and absorbing his letters—it is possible to gain a better appreciation of our problems and possibilities in the Middle East."
Peter Bergen, author of Holy War Inc. called Live from Jordan, “humane, well-informed, and charming.”
Library Journal reviewed that Live from Jordan “is an optimistic work, one that informs Americans about the everyday problems experienced by Arabs and . . . that promotes the idea of real dialogue in and with the Middle East.”
Orbach, currently the Resident Country Director for Creative Associates International in the Palestinian Territories, said, “I’m honored to receive the Sol Linowitz award. The year I spent living, traveling, and studying in the Middle East was one of the formative experiences of my life. It led me to write a book, to serve in government, and to work in the field of development – all different paths that with the same dedicated goal of helping others on behalf of my country.”
NSEP will present the Sol Linowitz award to Orbach at a ceremony to be held on September 22 beginning at 6:00 pm at the Liaison Capitol Hill hotel located at 415 New Jersey Ave., NW, Washington, DC.
Media wishing to attend should contact Laura Porter, NSEP Communications Strategist at porterL2@ndu.edu or 703-696-9598.
Benjamin Orbach is available for interviews through The Rudy Agency. Contact Maryann at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970.577.8500.