White House Proposes Foreign Language Initiative

White House Proposes Foreign Language Initiative

President Bush is proposing a new initiative to train more teachers in languages such as Arabic, Farsi and Japanese to meet U.S. security needs worldwide.

The White House recently announced a National Security Language Initiative to be funded at $114 million in the president’s 2007 budget proposal. The goal is to produce 1,000 new teachers and 1,000 reserve linguists by the end of the decade.

“We need intelligence officers who, when somebody says something in Arabic or Farsi or Urdu, know what they’re talking about,” Bush said in an address to 120 college presidents in January. More diplomats also must have this knowledge, he said. Other languages cited in the initiative include Chinese, Korean and Russian.

Bush announced the plan at the U.S. University Presidents Summit on International Education in Washington, D.C. Administration officials say they also want to expand foreign student exchange programs and fellowship programs to encourage more dialogue between colleges in the United States and overseas.

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