global-engagement

JMU to Host Project GO Annual Meeting


 

Harrisonburg, Virginia — James Madison University will host the Project Global Officer (Project GO) annual meeting from Sunday, April 24 through Tuesday, April 26. 

Project GO is an initiative sponsored by the Defense Language and National Security Education Office (DLNSEO) and administered by the Institute of International Education. Established in 2007, Project GO focuses on ROTC students to improve the language skills, regional expertise, and intercultural communication skills of future military officers through domestic language study and domestic and overseas language and cultural immersion. Project GO currently offers 11 languages through 25 partner institutions, of which JMU is one. Since its inception, Project GO has provided approximately 6,500 fully-funded scholarships to ROTC students from all 50 states plus Puerto Rico. 

Speakers will include Dr. Clare Bugary, Deputy Director of DLNSEO; representatives from Army, Navy and Air Force ROTC headquarters; JMU faculty; and program alumni. The annual meeting serves as an opportunity for participants to work and learn together to improve program impacts. 

JMU joined the Project GO community in the 2009-2010 academic year. The JMU program emphasizes Swahili language learning and cross-cultural communication skills, while building expertise regarding human-environment interactions (HEI) in East Africa and understanding the East African region within the larger global context. The program attracts students from across the nation, and the JMU cohort typically represents students from 20+ universities. At JMU, this program is led by Project Director Jennifer Coffman and Project Coordinator Carol Lena Miller, both of the College of Integrated Science and Engineering, and supported by the College of Integrated Science and Engineering, the Center for Global Engagement, and the Department of Military Science.

This year’s conference will feature an alumni panel including three JMU summer program alumni: CPT Andrew Rotolo, Army; 2nd Lt Elijah Green, Marine Corps; and 2nd Lt Kierenne Eadie, Air Force. Rotolo, recently returned from leading a Civil Affairs team in Kenya, is an alumnus of Duke University, where he majored in International Comparative Studies. He stated, “Project GO provided me with fundamental cross-cultural skills at a relatively young age, and they have translated across multiple environments throughout my military career. During my recent deployment in Kenya, I was able to utilize my Swahili language proficiency, as well as the numerous local connections formed as a Project GO student, to further my mission as a Civil Affairs Team Commander. These invaluable experiences enhanced my team’s ability to strengthen security cooperation and facilitate greater interoperability with our Kenyan partners in the region.” Eadie, a four-time Project GO Scholar who studied Mechanical Engineering at University of Colorado - Colorado Springs, described her experience as follows: “[This program] has done more to shape me into a culturally sensitive and globally aware leader than any other training I have received. The program forced me out of my comfort zone and pushed me to expand my worldview and confront biases I didn't know I had. I have fallen in love with the Swahili language, and my experience with Project GO inspired me to apply for LEAP and work towards becoming a Foreign Area Officer.” Green, another four-time Project GO Scholar, and alumnus of Iowa State where he studied history, stated: “Initially, I didn't realize how deep my interests in and commitment to the program and region would become. The program has been exceptional at not only developing my technical skills in speaking the Swahili language and understanding the region, but also my social and moral skills in interacting with a different area. The military officer has a great need to understand and apply not just the critical language skills but also cultural competence rooted in regional understanding to serve the military and its humanitarian mission. This program has provided me an incredible and durable foundation for doing just that.”

 

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For all press inquiries, please contact Carol Lena Miller (millercl@jmu.edu).

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Published: Friday, April 22, 2022

Last Updated: Monday, April 25, 2022

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