BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The United States Department of Defense has awarded $1.26 million to the Indiana University Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies to further strengthen its Language Training Center program. Established in 2019, the center provides year-round language and culture instruction to members of the U.S. Special Operations Command and Indiana National Guard.
The grant expansion builds on a $970,000 award to create the program, which is administered by the Institute of International Education on behalf of the Defense Language and National Security Education Office.
“This extension is both an honor and a validation not only of Indiana University’s commitment to language and cultural fluency but also the strength of our faculty’s expertise and ingenuity,” said former Ambassador Lee Feinstein, founding dean of the Hamilton Lugar School. “We look forward to bolstering our partnership with 1st Special Forces Command and developing new and innovative approaches to language instruction.”
With the expanded funding, the center will add new instructors in French, Russian, German, Spanish and Portuguese. IU will also partner with 1st Special Forces Command to develop software and pedagogical templates for the use of virtual reality as a language training tool.
“I have watched our U.S. Special Forces work with host nation militaries around the world, and their mastery of both the language and cultures of those host nations gives them great credibility and quickly builds important relationships,” said retired U.S. Air Force Gen. Gene Renuart, president of the Renuart Group. “It is great to see the Hamilton Lugar School and the Language Training Center be such an integral part of our nation’s outreach to partners.”
The Language Training Center is housed in the Hamilton Lugar School’s Language Workshop, which is led by grant principal investigator Kathleen Evans. In its first year, the Language Training Center supported members of the Indiana National Guard who train security forces in the Sahel and members of the Slovakian Armed Forces. It also delivered language instruction in Arabic, Chinese, French, Korean, Russian and Spanish to personnel from the 3rd, 7th and 20th Special Forces Groups, as well as the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade. Additionally, the center developed asynchronous Regional Culture and Expertise modules on topics of strategic interest in regions around the world.
The cross-disciplinary and cross-campus effort engages resources from the Hamilton Lugar School’s four departments, 11 Title VI regional studies and language resource centers and Project GO program, as well as IU’s eLearning Design and Services.
The Hamilton Lugar School is named for former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton and the late former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, both revered Hoosier statesmen and foreign policy voices. The school is committed to creating leaders who celebrate differences and seek shared understanding.