By Valerie Collins (Leonard Wood)August 31, 2017
More than 70 international officers gathered Friday for the 17th annual Know Your World event. This year, 33 countries were represented. Each culture was showcased with food, music, pictures and language, as part of the International Military Student Office sponsored event.
Amanda Koren, field studies program manager, said this event is impressive. "Here we are in the middle of Missouri and we have the entire world here," she said.
The students come to Fort Leonard Wood for the Basic Officer Leader Course and Captains Career Course. Their jobs include engineer, chemical and military police.
Charlie Rogers, IMSO supervisor, has been working with international military officers for the past 45 years. He has watched this event grow at Fort Leonard Wood over the past 17 years. At his first Know Your World event there were only five countries represented.
"I have experienced a lot of great things with this program," Rogers said. "It has been great to see this event grow in popularity as much as it has."
Capt. Ivan Bondzic of the Serbian armed forces will spend about six months at Fort Leonard Wood while he completes the Military Police Captains Career Course. He said he has enjoyed being here.
"It is a nice opportunity to share a common understanding of each other," Bondzic said about having the chance to participate in the event.
Among the many presentations, Saudi Arabia presented a booth full of food, balloons, traditional dress and a station for guests to have their name written in Arabic. The Philippines had plenty of coconut rolls, fried rice and pancit on hand to serve. Greece also brought some traditional food as well as a history lesson for guests. Other countries represented include Singapore, Latvia, Romania, South Korea, Malta, Chad and Pakistan.
Koren said the event was also designed to highlight the IMSO's Friendship Ambassador program. This program gives community members the opportunity to host international military students and treat them to the American experience. This can be a learning experience for all involved.
"There is so much more to the world outside of our little area here. We have so much of the world here," Koren said.
For more information on the Friendship Ambassador program contact Koren at 573.563.8015, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.