By Maj. George Gurrola and Capt. Antonio Elizondo (Chile)

As the U.S. Army continues to prioritize strengthening relationships and being the partner of choice, the U.S. Military Academy's Department of Foreign Languages remains at the forefront of educating cadets in linguistic, cultural and regional knowledge.

On Nov. 18, DFL hosted Chile's Ambassador to the U.S. Alfonso Silva Navarro as the keynote lecturer for the Spanish Program's Distinguished Lecture Series.

Accompanying Silva was his delegation comprised of the Chilean Defense Attaché Maj. Gen. Carlos Castillo and the Deputy Chief of Mission Carlos Moran Leon. The Chilean delegation also conducted an office call with the Dean of the Academic Board Brig. Gen. Cindy Jebb as well as gained insight into the West Point's history and culture.

Silva's lecture titled, "Security Challenges in the 21st Century: The New World Order," broadened cadets' understanding of challenges in the Western Hemisphere and abroad. With over 40 years of diplomatic experience, Silva is no stranger to the region as he has served in Canada, Brazil and the U.S., among other diplomatic posts. When asked what his most gratifying experience has been, the ambassador answered with "coming to events like this and shaping the future generations."

Chile is one of the United States' strongest partners in the region and engages frequently in academic, security and military cooperation.
Military exchanges between both academies trace back to 1962 when the first Chilean officer graduated from West Point. Nowadays, Escuela Militar (Chilean Military Academy) and USMA conduct a robust semester cadet exchange program led by DFL's Spanish section.

The exchange consists of two Chilean cadets serving in the USMA Corps of Cadets and four U.S. cadets attending the Chilean counterpart. For years, cadets from both institutions have participated in Military Individual Advanced Development such as the Chilean Mountain School and Cadet Summer Training.

The Department of Foreign Languages seeks to develop leaders of character, through education in the languages and regional knowledge.
The ambassador's lecture and visit strengthen the U.S.-Chile strategic partnership, which will undoubtedly help cadets lead in tomorrow's dynamic security environment.