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Air University and AFCLC hosted the fourth annual AU LREC Symposium

Cara Aghajanian, Air Force Language, Regional Expertise and Culture Program director, speaks during the LREC Symposium, March 29, 2019, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Aghajanian’s session was titled “The View from the Tower of Babel: A retrospective and Look Ahead in the Air Force LREC Program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexa Culbert)

Cara Aghajanian, Air Force Language, Regional Expertise and Culture Program director, speaks during the LREC Symposium, March 29, 2019, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Aghajanian’s session was titled “The View from the Tower of Babel: A retrospective and Look Ahead in the Air Force LREC Program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexa Culbert)

Attendees of the Language, Regional Expertise and Culture Symposium listen to Dr. Paul Fox, New Castle University’s School of Arts and Cultures principal research associate, March 28, 2019, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Fox educated the attendees about The Cultural Property Protection Estimate and how it can be used as an interoperability planning tool. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexa Culbert)

Attendees of the Language, Regional Expertise and Culture Symposium listen to Dr. Paul Fox, New Castle University’s School of Arts and Cultures principal research associate, March 28, 2019, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Fox educated the attendees about The Cultural Property Protection Estimate and how it can be used as an interoperability planning tool. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexa Culbert)

Dr. W. Lewis Johnson, president and CEO of Alelo Inc. leads one of the many sessions provided by the Language, Regional Expertise and Cultural Symposium, March 28, 2019, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. The title of Johnson’s session was Virtual Cultural Awareness Trainers (VCATs): Partnering to Deliver Mission-Critical Cultural Awareness Training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexa Culbert)

Dr. W. Lewis Johnson, president and CEO of Alelo Inc. leads one of the many sessions provided by the Language, Regional Expertise and Cultural Symposium, March 28, 2019, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. The title of Johnson’s session was Virtual Cultural Awareness Trainers (VCATs): Partnering to Deliver Mission-Critical Cultural Awareness Training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexa Culbert)

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --

Air University’s Air Force Culture and Language Center welcomed more than 300 participants to the fourth annual Language, Regional Expertise and Culture Symposium here, from March 27 – 29.

This year’s theme was “inter {culture} operability”, which was taken from the 2018 National Defense Strategy to focus on strengthening alliances and attracting new partners.

“The AU LREC Symposium provides people in the LREC community with the opportunity to gather together almost like a big family reunion and catch up on and share innovative thoughts and unique ideas with experts from all over,” noted Gregory Day, AFCLC director of staff and event coordinator. “AF LREC skills can prove critical to accomplishing the Air Force mission in a world that is becoming more global and more partnership driven and the symposium is the place to come face to face with those skills.”

Brig. Gen. Jeremy Sloane, Air University’s Air War College commandant, provided the event’s opening remarks.

“As the commandant of the Air War College, our job is to prepare senior Air Force, sister service, inter-agency and partner nation leaders on how to go out and lead and influence the national and international global security environment, and that’s not an easy thing to do. We don’t teach people what to think, we teach them how to think…,” said Sloane.

During his remarks, Sloane offered insight on when he learned the importance of understanding how others think. While he himself was a student at AWC, all of his classmates viewed the same operation from different angles and it changed the way he thought as a leader.

“It wasn’t what we were discussing, it was how we were discussing. It was the different lenses in which we viewed the same event and taught us a little bit more about how each other thought,” said Sloane. “This year’s theme of ‘inter {cultural} operability’ is one that this group is uniquely qualified to tackle, handle and add to. …I think we all know cultural interoperability is going to be the key to us moving forward.”

The symposium invited three key speakers, Maj. Gen. Michael D. Rothstein, Curtis E. LeMay Center for Doctrine Development and Education commander and the vice commander of Air University, U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Robert Sofge, Jr., Pacific U.S. Marine Corps Forces deputy commander and U.S. Marine Corps Col. Matthew Bogdanos, chief of the Antiquities Trafficking Unit of the New York County District Attorney.

Apart from the key speakers, participants also had more than 60 different panels and sessions they could sit-in on with topics varying from building relationships to understanding different cultures. The symposium also provided ample time for attendees to network with one another.

Day noted that one of the strengths of the symposium was the opportunity that attendees had to learn from global experts, make contact and share ideas with academics and practitioners from diverse organizations.

“It’s not enough to just teach, think or research about cultural interoperability," said Walter Ward, AFCLC director. “The charge is for us to lead and what is the best way to lead? By example! …If you don’t remember anything else from your time here, remember it is up to us to lead. The future is going to be built through cultural interoperability and the world is only becoming more global, connected and a coalition is at the core of everything that we do.”

 Next year’s symposium is already in the works and the theme is scheduled to be “Hindsight 2020,” and will focus on looking to the future by using the lessons learned from the past.

 

551 E. Maxwell Blvd, Bldg 500, Maxwell AFB, AL 36112

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