MONTEREY, Calif. - The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center held Language Day 2015 at the Presidio of Monterey, California, May 8 to promote and encourage cultural understanding and customs found around the world.
Between 6,000 and 7,000 people from the local community and the Presidio attended the annual event, which featured cultural displays and activities as well as ethnic foods served by local international vendors on the Presidio's Soldier Field.
Many of the performances representing the 23 languages taught by the institute were provided by students and faculty members on the main stage area situated on Soldier Field.
"Each performance reflected the spirit and authenticity of each culture, demonstrated the dedication of all students and teachers involved," said Sameera Sharif, master of ceremonies for Language Day. "Overall the event projected the true colors of both DLI and its mission."
The event showcases the DLIFLC's excellence in foreign language study and the diversity of its faculty and students. Displays for visitors to see firsthand how language is taught at the institute were held in the classrooms adjacent to the festivities on Soldier Field.
Hadi Gardi, a former DLIFLC instructor, traveled from Fort Gordon, Georgia, to participate in the annual event by presenting visitors an overview of Kurdish holidays and traditions. Gardi teaches Kurdish, Modern Standard Arabic and the Iraqi dialect.
"I enjoy Language Day because people are very impressed," said Gardi. "This is a good day to share my culture and to see other cultures, behaviors or anything related to language."
Language Day has been a tradition at the Presidio for more than 60 years and every year it gets larger with more visitors and more cultural events. It is the one day a year visitors can enjoy access to the Presidio of Monterey and catch a glimpse of the daily life of service members who are striving to learn a foreign language.
"Without everyone's contribution and sincere dedication to both the planning and execution of the event, the largest and most successful Language Day in DLI history would not have been possible," said Sharif.
DLIFLC is regarded as one of the finest schools for foreign language instruction in the world. The Institute provides resident instruction in 23 languages to approximately 3,500 military service members, five days a week, seven hours per day, with two to three hours of homework each night. Generally, students spend between 26 and 64 weeks at the Presidio, depending on the difficulty of the language.