Soldier-linguist and Afghan native fulfills his American Dream

Soldier-linguist and Afghan native fulfills his American Dream

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif. – Every Tuesday at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, Col. Phil Deppert, commandant of the Institute, and Command Sgt. Maj. Ryan Ramsey, the senior enlisted leader, meet-and-greet all the new personnel during the newcomers briefing. Most are fresh recruits straight out of basic training who are about to begin their language classes, while others are returning to serve as Military Language Instructors, or MLIs, within the language schools. During the briefing, Deppert has the new MLIs stand up, say their name and where they are coming from. One Soldier stood and said, “I’m Staff Sgt. Shekib. I’m coming from Fort Gordon.” Before moving on, Deppert said, almost without hesitation, “Wait. Stand up again. You’re a native speaker.” Deppert had guessed correctly. Staff Sgt. Mashal Shekib is from Kabul, Afghanistan, and a native speaker of Pashto and Dari. He just recently completed the MLI certification course in September 2017 and now shares his language and culture with his students, who look to him for inspiration as a subject matter expert. MLIs are qualified noncommissioned officers who teach students in their language and serve as an example to them. They bridge the gap between the military units and the civilian staff in all eight schools and languages taught at DLIFLC. Watching students study (and struggle) with Pashto reminds Shekib of his own experience, only the other way around, he said about his English studies in his home country. He believes it is more difficult to be an English speaker and learn Pashto rather than vice versa. “It’s a struggle to...
Korean students celebrate Hangul Day with alphabet contest

Korean students celebrate Hangul Day with alphabet contest

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif. – The Korean School at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center at the Presidio of Monterey held the 15th Annual Korean Alphabet Day Video Contest Oct. 12 and presented awards to students who participated in the 26th Annual Korean Language Writing Contest for Foreign Nationals. The annual contests are in celebration of Hangul Day, translated as Alphabet Day, which also takes place in October. The writing contest was hosted and judged by Yonsei University in Seoul. The overall winner of the writing contest was U.S. Army Pvt. Brennan Couch, a first-semester student. Couch’s award was presented by the DLIFLC commandant, Col. Phil Deppert. “Winning a difficult contest like this is motivating for me,” said Couch, who is still early in the Korean program with no prior experience in foreign language acquisition. “I can measure my learning and have a tangible product for my efforts.” The writing contest theme centered on the seasonal change from summer to fall allowing students to showcase their Korean writing ability and cultural awareness in a fun way. Couch wrote a poem and read it aloud in Korean. “Autumn is a pale horse wandering around the globe, a beautiful warning of the coming winter and her icy touch.” The video contest winner came from Department D, Team 3, for their rendition of the Beatles’ song “Let it be” parodying life as a student at DLIFLC. The ninth of October every year in Korea is Hangul Day, and is a holiday commemorating the gift of a simplified alphabet from King Sejong the Great to his people...
IWTC Monterey students visit San Francisco Fleet Week

IWTC Monterey students visit San Francisco Fleet Week

By Chief Petty Officer Jamie Barron IWTC Monterey   SAN FRANCISCO – Students assigned to Information Warfare Training Command (IWTC) Monterey, California, visited San Francisco Fleet Week, Oct. 7. More than 60 students who are attending various linguist programs at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, met with the crew of the amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) and received a tour of the ship’s operations spaces. Along with the public spaces, IWTC Monterey students were also able to get a glimpse inside the Ships Signal Exploitation Space, where they could potentially be assigned. “It was a great experience getting to see what we do in the fleet,” said Seaman Paul Greathouse. “Most people don’t know what goes into our job, so it was nice to get answers to some of the questions I’ve had since I chose this rating.” Cmdr. Andy Newsome, commanding officer for IWTC Monterey, requested the visit in order to provide operational context for the language training Sailors receive at DLIFLC. “Many of our newest Sailors are excited to deploy and utilize their new skills, but are unsure where they fit in the world of information warfare,” said Newsome. “We feel strongly that by giving our Sailors a glimpse of what their shipmates are doing, we can help increase their motivation to excel in language learning.” This is the second time IWTC Monterey students have visited San Francisco Fleet Week activities. In 2016, students had the opportunity to attend Fleet Week and were also able to see a Navy EP-3E Aries II aircraft and meet with a crew from Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron...
FAO program guest speaker discusses democracy issues in Africa

FAO program guest speaker discusses democracy issues in Africa

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   Editor’s note: This article is a feature from the Foreign Area Officer program’s monthly U.S. Army officer professional development series at DLIFLC. MONTEREY, Calif. – Nicholas Tomb, program manager of the Center for Civil-Military Relations Africa Program at the Naval Postgraduate School, in Monterey, spoke to U.S. Army Foreign Area Officers in language training at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, Sept. 20, about Africa. Tomb titled his talk “Beyond Democracy in Africa” and began by asking FAOs what is the definition of democracy. FAOs suggested ideas of government ruled by the people, equality and freedom. Tomb shared the lengthy United Nations definition of democracy, but dwelled on the concept of representative governance – the manner of governing in which the people determine their political, economic, social and cultural systems. He followed with an anecdote to show the low quality of representative governance in African countries. “Mo Ibrahim, Sudanese businessman and telecom magnate, offers the Mo Ibrahim Award to any African president that steps down from power at the end of his term,” said Tomb. Since 2006, only four African leaders have been honored with the $5 million award, proving the Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership to be one of the world’s most exclusive awards. Tomb continued, “The fact that so few African leaders have accepted the award and stood down demonstrates the fact of how much money is to be made by staying in power.” “There’s this perception that Africa is a very poor place and there are certainly a lot of poor people, but in reality, it...
Kiwanis Club gives awards to civilian and military faculty

Kiwanis Club gives awards to civilian and military faculty

By Patrick Bray DLIFLC Public Affairs   MONTEREY, Calif. – The Kiwanis Club of Monterey honored two Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center faculty at their monthly meeting in downtown Monterey Sept. 13. Dr. Gamal Kalini received the Civilian Instructor of the Year award and Tech Sgt. Ryan Best received the Military Language Instructor of the Year award. The awards are representative of the partnership between the Institute and the greater Monterey community. Kalini, originally from Cairo, Egypt, has worked for the Institute since 2007. “Dr. Kalini is so dedicated to his profession that he regularly shares his research and work with colleagues through workshops and presentations at various faculty development events at DLIFLC and beyond,” said Col. Phil Deppert, commandant of the Institute. Best, who joined the U.S. Air Force in 2006, studied both basic and intermediate Mandarin Chinese at the Institute before becoming the Chief Military Language Instructor at the Institute’s Asian School I, the Chinese School. “Aside from all his accomplishments, Tech. Sgt. Best also holds the highest DLPT score within the Air Force, with a 3+/3/2+ in Chinese Mandarin – which puts him in the top one percent of Air Force linguists,” said Deppert. Kiwanis International was founded in 1915 by a group of businessmen in Detroit, Michigan. The name “Kiwanis” was coined from an expression in a Native American language of the Detroit area, “Nunc Kee-wanis,” which means, “We trade.” In 1920, the motto of Kiwanis became “We Build.” It remained the motto until 2005, when members voted to change it to “serving the children of the world.” The Kiwanis Club of Monterey, founded...
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