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Culture Team
March 14, 2016

Military professionalism has three main characteristics: responsibility, corporate unity and expertise, writes Col. Emmanuel Kotia, Ph.D, Chief Instructor at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Accra, Ghana. These should be at the core of all military functions. Their importance in peacekeeping dates back to 1948 when the military played a central role in the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization in the Middle East, the first modern peacekeeping mission. Today, the U.N. leads 16 peacekeeping operations worldwide. All depend on the efforts of professional...

January 19, 2016

Traveling to Japan? Here are some words that are great to know to help you understand the Japanese culture!

Jena Barchas-Lichtenstein, PhD, Alelo
December 10, 2015

It’s easy to assume that cultures correspond to countries, but the reality is much more complex, and the same is true for languages. You probably know, for instance, that Spanish is spoken in dozens of countries around the world, and that it is spoken a bit differently in each. But what you may not realize is that cultural and linguistic differences occur on a much more local level as well.

Think, for example, about English. If you’ve ever spent much time talking to people from different parts of the U.S., you probably know we don’t all speak the same way. In a recent post, I...

US Census Bureau.
November 13, 2015

U.S. Census Bureau released a set of new tables detailing hundreds of languages that U.S. residents speak at home. American Community Survey data on languages spoken at home were previously available for only 39 languages. These tables, based on American Community Survey data collected from 2009 to 2013, expand the languages and language groups tabulated to 350. These tables are among the most comprehensive data ever released from the Census Bureau on languages spoken less widely in the United States, such as Pennsylvania Dutch, Ukrainian, Turkish, Romanian, Amharic and many others. Also...

Jena Barchas-Lichtenstein, Ph.D. from Alelo
September 30, 2015

About twelve years ago, a friend yelled at me for what he saw as constant interruptions. “You never let me finish talking,” he said.

I was confused. When had I ever interrupted him?

After much discussion, I finally figured it out. What he considered an interruption — saying “right” or “yes” while he was talking — was the only way I knew to listen politely. In my experience, remaining completely silent while someone else was speaking meant you were checked out.

We were both from the same country — he’s from Minnesota and I’m from New York — but the difference between...

Steve Hammons
April 22, 2015

The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey, California, traces its roots to the secret World War II U.S. Army intelligence unit comprised of Japanese-Americans – the Military Intelligence Service (MIS). 

Then, as now, we needed to succeed militarily and also communicate with other cultures and nations. 

The MIS was started in late 1941 as a unit to train Japanese-Americans (Nisei) to conduct translation and interrogation activities. MIS men came mostly from Hawaii and the West Coast.

The missions of the MIS were highly classified and still...

Steve Hammons
March 23, 2015

Read any good books lately? How about a compelling TV drama or movie? We all like a good story, and good stories can affect us in significant ways.

As a result, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has been researching how storytelling affects you, me and other people around the world.

Throughout human history we have been telling and listening to stories. Ancient humans sat around the nighttime campfire and shared tales with the clan and tribe. Oral histories were passed on to the next generations, often in story form. And, of course, human societies...

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