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CIA Recognizes Foreign Language Excellence

In a recent awards ceremony, the CIA honored employees who have demonstrated outstanding use of foreign language skills in accomplishing their jobs, and in turn, the CIA’s global mission.

Former Secretary of State Albright at Foreign Language Excellence Awards ceremony.
Former Secretary of State Albright at Foreign Language Excellence Awards ceremony.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright delivered the keynote address at the ceremony and emphasized the importance and challenges of learning foreign languages. “The purpose of foreign policy is to convince countries to act in a manner that we would like, but we can’t do that if we are unable to talk to them, don’t understand them, and lack the means to learn more about them. There’s nothing glamorous about mastering Swahili verb tenses, the rules of Arabic grammar, or the infinite varieties of Chinese slang, but without such capabilities the CIA would be unable to navigate a complex world,” said Albright.

The CIA demonstrates the importance it places on foreign language skills on the job by giving out the Foreign Language Excellence Award yearly. An employee from the National Clandestine Service received this year’s award.

Prior to Secretary Albright’s keynote address, CIA Director Petraeus highlighted the unique language proficiencies of the nine nominees. “Their accomplishments demonstrate the powerful advantage gained by intelligence officers with true command, true proficiency in a foreign language. These are men and women who, because of their language ability, have an incisive understanding of what they see and hear in their assigned country,” Director Petraeus said.

The CIA is currently seeking candidates with strong foreign language skills. Visit the Language Positions page on CIA.gov for more information.


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Posted: Apr 20, 2012 02:34 PM
Last Updated: Apr 30, 2013 12:59 PM