A $480 thousand grant will allow Indiana University to provide training in strategic languages and cultures to future military officers. Paul Foster, director of the Center for Languages of the Central Asian Region, co-wrote the grant proposal. He says strategic languages are those the U.S. government deems critical to national security. Foster says the government is actively trying to increase the number of institutions offering strategic languages, as well as the number of students learning them.
The grant funds a two-year pilot program. It will provide scholarships to 25 ROTC cadets each year, allowing them to come to IU and study one of the strategic languages offered here. These consist of Arabic, Russian, and seven Central Asian languages including Azerbaijani and Uzbek. Foster says IU is the only place in the U.S. that one of these languages, Pashto, can be studied during the academic year. Foster says the demand for these languages is increasing in fields both in and outside of the military.
The strategic languages program will include both Indiana students and cadets from across the country. They will attend summer workshops for eight or nine weeks and stay in Bloomington through the following academic year.