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Release No: 401-05
April 27, 2005

DoD Issues Call for National Foreign Language Capabilities

The Department of Defense announced today the release of its white paper that recommends immediate and long-term engagement by public, private and government agencies to improve the nations foreign language and cultural competency.


A Call to Action for National Foreign Language Capabilities also highlights the need for strong, focused leadership to move the nation forward in this important area of expertise.


The conference participants agreed that if the United States is to remain a global power in business, education and international affairs, we need to immediately and drastically change how we value and teach foreign languages.


It reflects the thoughts of more than 300 leaders and experts from federal, state and local government, academia, international institutions, language associations and business, who participated in the National Language Conference at the University of Maryland held last June.


DoD organized the conference because of its renewed interest in foreign language and cultural competence to meet the challenges of the early 21st century.


"We must identify the critical nodes in our culture that can be influenced most effectively, and we must identify the means to influence them to cause a shift, now, said David S. C. Chu, the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. We must find where and how we can best concentrate our effort in order to produce significant change."


DoD published this document, which is available at www.nlconference.org , in the hope of creating dialogue on the issue of expanding language capabilities and cultural understanding across the United States.

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