Marshall Center host first Language for Diplomacy Workshop
By Christine June
Public Affairs Office
George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies
GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (Aug. 14, 2015) – The George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies’ Partner Language Training Center, Europe and Non-Resident Programs designed and held the first Language for Diplomacy Workshop here July 28 to Aug. 13.
Participants of this inaugural workshop were six members of the Republic of Kosovo’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs since the idea for this workshop started during the visit of the Republic of Kosovo’s Diplomatic Academy’s staff visit to the Marshall Center in December, said Dr. Matt Rhodes, professor of National Security Studies and director of Central and South Eastern Europe at the Marshall Center.
“One of the issues they were interested in was strengthening the English language skills of their diplomats,” said Rhodes, who helped arrange this visit. “The ambassador and his team had a chance to meet with PLTCE and Marshall Center staff to talk about some of the skills that would be useful for them, and out of that, we were able to develop this three-week program.”
The aim of this three-week workshop was to assist members of the Republic of Kosovo diplomatic corps to develop highly-polished, executive-level professional writing and communication skills that are directly related to their jobs as embassy and consular officials, said Bonnie Mihalka, instructor at PLTCE’s English Language Programs Department.
“Taking into consideration that MFA deals with different types of documents, even sensitive ones, the language program enables us to properly use English in both written and spoken forms, as well as improve our vocabulary in drafting different documents or speaking about different topics,” said Dafina Bakija, administrative assistant at the Diplomatic Academy of Kosovo of the MFA of the Republic of Kosovo.
The participants also heard presentations from Marshall Center faculty on a wide-range of topics that dealt with South Eastern Europe, such as economic security, Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe, cyber security and fragile states.
“The combination of lectures and language program was very helpful, because there were lectures on very ‘hot topics,’ recent developments in the world, that have given us the opportunity to learn more about the new trends and the challenges that are threatening the international community,” Bakija said.
To practice what they learned, the participants gave a panel presentation on the Republic of Kosovo’s history, achievement and challenges to participants of the Countering Narcotics and Illicit Trafficking-Language Program, who will be attending CINT 15-8 Aug. 19.
“This will be an opportunity to inform an international audience about Kosovo and the process of becoming and challenges of being a "newborn" country,” Mihalka said.
PLTCE offers intermediate, advanced and specialized classroom instruction in 10 languages and dialects for about 400 U.S., NATO and Partnership for Peace military and civilian linguists each year.
The mission of the Marshall Center, as a vital instrument of German-American cooperation, is to create a more stable security environment by advancing democratic institutions and relationships; promoting active, peaceful, whole-of-government approaches to address transnational and regional security challenges; and creating and enhancing enduring partnerships worldwide.