A senior Morehead-Cain Scholar who is fluent in five foreign languages has been named the University’s newest Luce Scholar.
Joël Joseph Hage, who is majoring in global studies with a minor in Arabic, is one of 18 American students to receive a 2014-15 fellowship from the Henry Luce Foundation in New York and the 36th UNC student to earn the prestigious award.
Carolina continues to lead the nation in Luce Scholars, with six now selected in the past five academic years.
The program began in 1974 and funds a year of living and learning in Asia for recent college graduates up to age 30 who have limited prior experience with the continent. The foundation’s goal is to connect future American leaders with Asian colleagues in their fields. Selection criteria include outstanding achievement, leadership ability and clearly defined personal and professional interests coupled with potential for success.
“Joël’s approach to international development has emerged from his intense focus on marginalized communities,” said Raymond B. Farrow III, director of development and strategic initiatives for Carolina Performing Arts and chair of the UNC Luce selection committee. “His experiences with a variety of places where human constructs limit opportunity for economic growth, restrict mobility and deny freedom have led him to focus on urban planning as the key to his future career.”
Hage is the son of Lebanese immigrants who moved to the U.S. in the 1980s, eventually settling in Greensboro, where Hage grew up.
He has been named to the dean’s list, is a member of Honors Carolina and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in spring 2013. He is a Buckley Public Service Scholar with more than 300 hours of public service and is active in several campus organizations and programs, including Campus Y and TEDxUNC. He was one of 13 UNC students chosen to design and teach a course — his was “Beyond War and Luxury: the Unheard Tale of Lebanon” — through Carolina Students Taking Academic Responsibility through Teaching.
Hage is exploring Lebanese politics and religion in his honors thesis. He speaks Lebanese and modern standard Arabic, Italian, Spanish, French and basic Portuguese. He has studied, worked and traveled widely in South Africa, Lebanon, Turkey, Italy, Spain, Costa Rica and Guatemala. The Luce Scholarship gives him his first opportunity to immerse himself in Asia.
The value of the Luce award varies by assignment. The scholars will learn their assignments in June, spend part of the summer in the region for intensive language study and then start their 10-month internships in September.