Caleb “C.J.” Pine, an Arabic and peace studies major with a minor in philosophy, politics, and economics(PPE), was named a 2016 Truman Scholar.
Established in 1975 as a living memorial to President Harry S. Truman, the prestigious scholarship includes $30,000 in graduate study funds, priority admission and supplemental financial aid at select institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and internship opportunities within the federal government.
Just 54 college juniors have been selected as Truman Scholars this year, based on leadership potential, intellectual ability, and a commitment to public service. The winners were chosen from 775 candidates nominated by 305 colleges and universities nationwide—a record number of applications and institutions.
Pine hopes to pursue a graduate program at the University of Oxford’s Refugee Studies Center. He plans to build a career working with nongovernmental organizations to improve the lives of families displaced by conflict.
“It is very encouraging that the Truman selection committee believed in me and saw my goals as aligning with their own,” he said. “And it is affirming that they appreciated the importance of the issues I am working on—namely, interfaith reconciliation and holistic responses to refugee crises in the Middle East.”
A Hesburgh-Yusko scholar and a member of the Glynn Family Honors Program, Pine grew up in China, where he witnessed the challenges facing Muslim ethnic minorities in a secular Chinese state.
At Notre Dame, Pine organized the student advocacy group Solidarity with Syria and served as a research assistant to Rev. Daniel Groody, C.S.C., an associate professor of theology examining the theology of migration. He has also tutored Iraqi refugees in the South Bend community and worked as a conflict-resolution teacher for the Take Ten public school program.
“C.J. is a successful leader because of the depth of his convictions and his powers of persuasion,” said Joseph Buttigieg, the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of English and director of the Hesburgh-Yusko Scholars Program. “His effectiveness stems from his care for and attentiveness to others, the ease with which he adapts to different contexts and environments, and his respectful, unassuming demeanor. C.J. embodies the qualities of a future transformational leader.”
Pine has spent the last two summers in Jordan, where he has conducted research and worked with Road to Mafraq, an NGO that supports Syrian and Iraqi refugees. He was appointed to the organization’s board of directors in 2014.
He studied abroad in Jerusalem in spring 2015 and volunteered as an English teacher at the Palestinian Aida Refugee camp there. This semester, Pine is studying abroad in Amman, Jordan, on a Gilman Scholarship.
“Notre Dame has given me an unparalleled opportunity to develop myself alongside wonderful peers who challenge me and through experiences around the world,” he said. “Notre Dame has given me the chance to embrace the kind of person I want to be.”