The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded IU $100,000 to train 72 U.S. military officials on Afghanistans language and culture, said IU Center for Languages of the Central Asian Region Director Paul Foster.
The officials will learn Afghanistans two main languages, Pashto and Dari, through the Center for Languages of the Central Asian Region before they travel to the country doing humanitarian work, such as repairing school buildings or in hospitals.
The U.S. military realizes this type of training is incredibly important, Foster said.
The program will work to teach the officials certain aspects of the Afghan culture and a few key phrases. Foster said the goal is to correct miscommunication problems that have happened in the past between U.S. soldiers and Afghan citizens.
The grants announcement comes after the IU Reserve Officer Training Corps was given a grant of $481,630 last May to teach cadets the languages and cultures of countries they may be stationed at in the future. Both grants are part of the development of IUs Strategic Languages and Cultures Task Force, which was created last year, according to the release.
The Center for Languages of the Central Asian Region is part of the College of Arts and Sciences and is one of 15 Title VI Language Resource Centers in the U.S. Each center specializes in teaching the languages of certain regions of the world, from Middle Eastern to African languages, Foster said.