USA: National Security Language Initiative (NSLI)

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National Security Language Initiative (NSLI)

In 2006, the Secretaries of State, Education, and Defense, and the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) began an inter-agency partnership to dramatically expand critical foreign language education. This collaborative effort, called the National Security Language Initiative (NSLI), has provided a platform for coordinating programs, resources, and funding among the agencies. In August of this year, the U.S. Department of Education released "Enhancing Foreign Language Proficiency in the United States," a preliminary progress report on the first two years of the initiative.

Highlights of NSLI’s initial success include the following:

The Department of State has provided new opportunities for U.S. high school students, teachers, undergraduate and graduate students to study critical languages abroad each year. One program, the 2007 Intensive Summer Language Institutes for U.S. university students, received more than 6,000 applications for 363 scholarships to study NSLI languages overseas.

The Defense Department’s National Security Education Program has increased the number of grants to fund undergraduate centers, including three centers that support K–12 programs and involve nearly 3,000 students in 62 elementary, middle, and high schools.

The Department of Education’s Foreign Language Assistance Program (FLAP) has served more than 47,000 students in U.S. school districts, including first-ever grants for Hindi and Turkish instruction and new grants for Arabic, Chinese, Russian, and Korean.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence successfully launched summer language programs in 2007, reaching 1,322 students and teachers in 21 states and Washington D.C., greatly exceeding program goals.

The Department of Education funded a Teacher-to-Teacher Workshop at DePaul University to help prepare teachers in implementing a new K–12 language program. The university then responded by initiating a master of arts educator program in Arabic and Chinese language instruction.

The full report on the NSLI's programs and initiatives is available online.

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