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LEAP Spotlight: Special Agent Rory Swafford

“A firm understanding of cultural nuances is critical for building international partnerships, and LEAP has undoubtedly been a vital cornerstone in greatly expanding my knowledge base,” Special Agent Rory Swafford said.

“A firm understanding of cultural nuances is critical for building international partnerships, and LEAP has undoubtedly been a vital cornerstone in greatly expanding my knowledge base,” Special Agent Rory Swafford said.

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --

“I am a Special Agent in the Office of Special Investigations and a dual language Scholar in the Air Force Language Enabled Airman Program. I began my language learning journey in high school by studying various languages. I attended the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps at Purdue University, where I graduated with an undergraduate degree in Foreign Language and Affairs in 2013. I then went on to complete an intensive language immersion program through Project Global Officer at Indiana University, and I’ve continued my study of languages and global affairs throughout my Air Force career.

“I first fell in love with foreign languages and cultures when I was 7 years old while watching travel documentaries. Coming from a low-income household, I became inspired by learning that the world was very different from what I was experiencing at that time in my life. I was surprised to learn at such a young age how many belief systems and cultures existed. Also, whenever my extended international family visited the United States, I was able to watch cross-cultural communication happen in real time. Witnessing this so early in my life left a significant mark on me, and LEAP has been an amazing extension from my initial childhood curiosity into my professional career.

“Thanks to LEAP, my thirst for knowledge has been taken to the next level, and I’m immensely proud to be associated with this incredible Air Force initiative. LEAP not only strengthens your language confidence but also emphasizes the importance of understanding the political and cultural dynamics in a country. This program has motivated me to keep building upon my understanding of international affairs as well. I have continued my postgraduate education through the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom and have sought new opportunities for further language enhancement. In addition to studying Politics at the university, I’ve joined the Cambridge University Society for my native language and am constantly looking for new ways to broaden my cultural and linguistic perspective.

“In my duties as a Special Agent, I have the amazing opportunity to directly engage with a variety of European law enforcement counterparts. A firm understanding of cultural nuances is critical for building international partnerships, and LEAP has undoubtedly been a vital cornerstone in greatly expanding my knowledge base. All aspects of LEAP, from the overall organization of the program to the highly experienced instructor staff, are exceptional!”

--Dual Language LEAP Scholar Special Agent Rory Swafford