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AFCLC, Air University’s Sixth Annual LREC Centers around “Great Power of Culture”

AFCLC Director Howard Ward and Eric Lambert behind the scenes preparing for the Sixth Annual Air University Language, Regional Expertise and Culture Symposium at the Air University Teaching and Learning Center.

AFCLC Director Howard Ward and Eric Lambert behind the scenes preparing for the Sixth Annual Air University Language, Regional Expertise and Culture Symposium at the Air University Teaching and Learning Center.

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --

This October, the Air Force Culture and Language Center and Air University hosted the second virtual Language, Regional Expertise and Culture Symposium.

Scholars and practitioners from across the Department of Defense and the LREC community worldwide came together online to share ideas.

While COVID-19 continued to restrict travel, the pandemic did not dampen the spirits of the more than 1,600 registrants who attended online from points around the world for the three-day symposium from Oct. 13-15, 2021.

“There’s a discussion that needs to be had in our community. It’s a discussion that can’t wait, and no virus will stop the Air Force Culture and Language Center from leading that discussion,” AFCLC’s Howard Ward said during his opening remarks. “Our theme this year, great power of culture, allows us to spend three days exploring the roles of language, region and culture education and building the total force required to prevail in an era of strategic competition. Our Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown has specifically called us out like never before in his accelerate change or lose strategy to be game-changers in partner interoperability and adversary understanding, and we accept that challenge.”

The virtual event featured panel discussions and presentations much like the traditional symposium. It included an all-star lineup of guest speakers, including opening remarks from Commander and President of Air University, Lt. Gen. James Hecker, and Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall.

“I want to emphasize the important role language training and cultural understanding play in today’s global operations. Language is a warfighting capability. Our language-enabled Airmen and Guardians operate in foreign countries around the world, and their ability to communicate in a foreign language and understand cultural nuances is critical to their success,” Kendall said.

What began with Secretary Kendall’s opening remarks was equally peppered throughout all the featured speakers as everyone discussed variations of the symposium theme, “Great Power of Culture,” and the effects LREC training will have in planning and executing U.S. goals well into the future. Featured speakers included:
• The Honorable Frank Kendall III, Secretary of the U.S. Air Force
• Ms. Heidi Grant, Director of Defense Security Cooperation Agency
• Dr. Kyleanne Hunter, U.S. Air Force Academy
• Dr. Tim Winter, University of Western Australia
• Brig. Gen. (Ret.) David R. Stilwell, Former Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, U.S. Department of State
• Chief Master Sergeant Roger A. Towberman, Command Senior Enlisted Leader of the U.S. Space Force

With five active channels of content and 92 presentations spanning three days, each day of the symposium offered a new opportunity to learn and interact with Department of Defense professionals and academic experts from around the world. In separate break-out sessions, registrants could choose from a variety of topics and speakers. For example, there were sessions specific to the Language Enabled Airman Program, security cooperation, extremism, cross-cultural competence, allies and partners, and more.

Planning is already underway for the 2022 AU LREC Symposium and the theme is tentatively set as “Excel in LREC to Win.” For more information and updates, visit the symposium website: https://www.airuniversity.af.edu/AFCLC/AU-LREC/.