The Rush D. Holt

Language Service to the Nation Award


The Rush D. Holt Award for Language Service to the Nation is an annual honor bestowed upon a public servant in Congress during Language Advocacy Day in February for exceptional public service in advancing the national interest through language and international education, research and development, and practice. Scroll down to view the nominations process.

The Inspiration

Representative Rush D. Holt was one of the principal architects in the Congress, along with Senator Daniel Akaka, of the National Language Service Corps (, sponsoring the legislation that created the Corps and advocating for its funding. A leading voice for the programs under the David L. Boren National Security Education Act, and was the principal supporter in the House of Representatives for the creation of the National Language Flagship Program (

Representative Rush D. Holt (NJ-12)

He was the lead sponsor and author of multiple legislative proposals to improve our nation’s Foreign Language education in the Elementary and Secondary Schools including the Foreign Language Education Partnership Act and the Excellence and Innovation in Language Learning Act. Mr. Holt has received the highest honors from our profession, including the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language’s Edwin Cudecki Ward for Support of Foreign Language Education and the North East Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages’ James W. Dodge Award. 

Mr. Holt has long recognized that language skills are vital to responsible 21st century citizenship, critical to our national security and economic competitiveness, as important as STEM skills going forward. He has been a distinguished and thoughtful advocate, and has materially improved the language capacity of the US through his work.


In order to submit a nomination for the Language Service to the Nation Award, the nominating party must:

  1. Be a member of a JNCL-NCLIS member organization that is in good financial standing;

  2. Complete the online application requirements (see below);

  3. Submit only one nomination. Only one nomination per member organization may be submitted. 

Selection Criteria

Nominations will be considered based on the following areas:

  • Track record of robust support of issues related to languages (education, access, etc.) in the public sphere;

  • Personal record of language learning, work/study/travel abroad.

Selection Process

  • The nomination period will open the first week of August and closes in mid-September (see below for exact dates).

  • The selection process will be conducted by the Awards Committee, whose Chair is selected each year by the President of the Board of Directors. Per the Bylaws, the committee will be composed of three Board Members, excluding the President, and two JNCL staff members. The committee will review all nominations submitted prior to the stated deadline and select a recipient that best fulfills the award criteria.

  • The Awards Committee in consultation with staff will then select a group of finalists from which the Board of Directors will select one recipient.

  • The selection process will take place from mid-Sept. to early-Oct.

The Award includes...

The sponsored award will include:

  1. An award plaque, with an inscription of the awardee’s name and his or her affiliation, will be awarded in person (preferably at the annual Language Links Reception, held Thursday evening during Language Advocacy Day);

  2. Complimentary registration to Language Advocacy Day and the Thursday evening reception Language Links;

  3. A spotlight profile on the JNCL-NCLIS website with photo linking to the member organization’s website.

Application Deadline for the 2020 Award:

COB Friday, September 20, 2019

Please plan accordingly.

past recipients

  • 2019 – Representative Tom Cole (R-OK)

  • 2018 – Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI)

  • 2017 – Representative David Price (D-NC) 

  • 2016 – Representative Don Young (R-AK)

  • 2015 – Representative Sam Farr (D-CA)

  • 2014 – Representative Rush D. Holt (D-NJ)