Monday, October 4, 2010

Rep. Dan Boren [D. OK] on the House Floor Speaking on the New NSEP African Language Initiative

While I was doing some research for my dissertation last night I came across a video on C-Span of Representative Dan Boren [D. OK] speaking on the House floor in support of H.S. 2701 Intelligence Authorization Act of 2010.  The primary focus of Mr. Boren's time on the floor focused on the new NSEP African Languages Intitiative which was very recently announced to the international education community here in the U.S. and to prospective Boren Fellowship applicants (Boren Scholarship applicants are not eligible for this new program).  I have embedded the video below:

In case you have difficulty viewing the video you can view it here.  Additionally, you can read about this new development from Representative Boren's press release last Friday, October 1, 2010.  You can read more about the new NSEP African Language Initiative here.  In case you have difficulty accessing the video I have copied and pasted the transcript of Mr. Boren below:

"Mr. BOREN. Mr. Chairman, I thank you for all the hard work you and the entire staff have done on this legislation.

Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 2701, the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2010. This bill is an excellent product and addresses many critical areas, including those that have previously received little attention. One of the most important provisions in the bill is the commitment to developing foreign language capability, specifically in African languages that have historically been underrepresented in the intelligence community.

The bill creates a pilot program under the National Security Education Program, or the NSEP. It expands the David L. Boren Scholars by requiring the Director of National Intelligence to identify five high-priority African languages for which language education programs do not currently exist. The NSEP would then develop intensive training programs for implementation in both the United States and in countries where the languages are spoken.

Let's not forget that 10 years ago, we didn't anticipate conflicts along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and the need for Dari, Pashto, and Urdu speakers. When the need arose, we didn't have the capabilities to meet immediate demands, and to this day, we are still playing catch-up. Similarly, we cannot predict from where the next crisis will emerge. But by recognizing the current instability in the Horn of Africa, Sudan, and Congo, we can anticipate crises that may impact U.S. national security interests in the near future. We should be training the linguists and translators in the relevant languages now so that, once again, we are not reactive in our efforts but proactive in our actions. I urge my colleagues to support this bill."

December 7, 2010 Update:  Information about the new pilot African Language Initiative Program now available at Funding is provided by the National Security Education Program (NSEP) and is administered by American Councils for International Education in partnership with participating U.S. domestic and overseas institutions.

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