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Release No: 582-04
June 18, 2004

The National Language Conference Announced

The Department of Defense announced today that it is co-sponsoring with the Center for Advanced Study of Language, University of Maryland, The National Language Conference: A Call for Action June 22-24 at The Inn and Conference Center, Adelphi, Md. The under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness is hosting the event.

The National Language Conference will bring together leaders of federal and state government agencies and academia, as well as industry representatives, international language experts, and language researchers to discuss and lay the foundation for an initial strategic approach to meeting the nations language needs in the 21st century.

Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao said, "The ability to communicate across languages is vital to the twin pillars of America's strength: national security and economic prosperity. The

National Language Conference is an important step toward meeting America's language needs in the years to come."

Robert Scott, president of Adelphi University and the keynote speaker on higher education's role, also commented: "National Foreign Language Week was created 25 years ago to promote the study of other languages and cultures, yet the study of language has declined. It is time for educators and policy leaders to renew their commitment to these aspects of our responsibilities as members of the world community."

Federal, state, and industry representatives will discuss the language skills needed to:

Maintain the United States as a secure nation and world leader.

Ensure cohesiveness, stability, wellness and economic standing of communities.

Sustain the economic posture of the United States.

National and international experts will present:

Best practices to recruit, train, and retain personnel with language skills, and partner with academia andassociations.

International school system models that have succeeded in inculcating multiple languages within their citizenry.

Proposals for changes in the U.S. education system that address emerging needs.

The conference proceedings will provide the foundation for a white paper recommending the initial steps toward a national language agenda. The document will outline reciprocal responsibilities within the federal and state governments, industry, education system, and research community for actions that would move the United States toward a language-competent nation.

Information about The National Language Conference, including registration procedures, is available online at http://www.nlconference.org . For news media interested in covering this event, please contact Rachel Miller or Jim Turner at (703) 697-5134.

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