By Jasmine Bourgeois, AFCLC Outreach Team
/ Published February 26, 2019
Maxwell AFB, Ala. - Air University holds 3rd annual Language, Regional Expertise, and Culture (LREC) Symposium (U.S. Air Force photo by William Birchfield)
From interactive panels to the in-depth cultural discussions, Air University’s annual Language, Regional Expertise, and Culture (LREC) Symposium sets the tone for the future of LREC and the Air Force. Each year, some of the biggest names in the LREC community gather at Maxwell Air Force Base to share their research and ideas. If you plan on attending this year’s event, here are just a few things you can expect:
1) Hear from amazing featured speakers
For the 4th annual AU LREC Symposium, U.S. Marine Corps Brigadier General Robert Sofge and Assistant District Attorney for New York County and Chief of the US Antiquities Trafficking Unit, Matthew Bogdanos are slated to speak at the symposium in March.
“One thing that’s so exciting about the symposium is it’s an opportunity for language, regional expertise and culture experts to get together in a setting that discusses important and relevant issues in a real world way. We bring in experts from the Department of Defense, universities and other contexts to all talk about issues that important to both the DoD and the world” said Dr. Angelle Khachadoorian, AFCLC’s Culture and Region Division Chief.
2) Delve into groundbreaking research
Along with listening to the featured speakers, scholars meet at the symposium to participate in panels and working groups to discuss a variety of topics. During a cultural heritage and property protection panel discussion at the symposium last year, AFCLC’s Assistant Professor of Regional and Cultural Studies (Africa) Dr. Scott Edmondson talked about how this information can be used by the Air Force when making critical decisions in the field.
“This is important, it enables a relationship and demonstrates a resolve to protect what matters to them,” Dr. Edmondson said, “there’s been a lot of work done on this in the Middle East. But, there’s more work to be done”.
3) Meet some of the the Language Enabled Airman Program (LEAP) scholars
Throughout the symposium, members of AFCLC’s Language Enabled Airman Program share their experiences during small group presentations. LEAP scholar and 2nd Lt Levi Mburu presented at the symposium in 2018 and talked about his Language Intensive Training Event in Kenya. He said during his LITE there, service members of all ranks, backgrounds, and ethnic groups, worked together with the African Partnership Flight.
“When we talk about breaking cultural barriers, this is it,” 2nd Lt Mburu said, “to see black men, white men, Americans speaking in Swahili with the small children, it’s incredible. For me personally, I was born and raised in Nairobi. It was life-changing to be able to return to my home country and inspire children and share my story”.
4) Network with people who have shared interests
Whether you are a linguist, an intel officer, a pilot, a LEAP scholar, a military spouse or an academic professor, there is truly something for everyone at the annual symposium.
“Our symposium is a ‘family reunion’ where professionals from all services, the inter-agency, and civilian academia get together to share new research and celebrate the accomplishments of operators who used culture and language to accomplish their missions,” said Howard Ward, the director of the Air Force Culture and Language Center.
5) Learn more about AFCLC at Air University
Along with organizing the symposium, the Air Force Culture and Language Center creates language, region and cultural learning programs for Total Force Airmen; including distance learning courses, executive leadership education, expeditionary culture field guides, and the Language Enabled Airman Program (LEAP).
“We empower Airmen to operate seamlessly with air forces and populations around the world,” Mr. Ward said.
This year’s AU LREC Symposium will be held on Maxwell Air Force Base March 27-29. For more information on the event and registration, visit https://www.airuniversity.af.edu/AFCLC/AU-LREC/.
551 E. Maxwell Blvd, Bldg 500, Maxwell AFB, AL 36112