Shared Solutions for Common Problems

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Common Ground Across the ‘Language Enterprise’: Vision, Value and Ventures

The “Language Enterprise” comprises five sectors:  education, government, industry, heritage communities, and overseas partners, all of which together form a powerful force for action on behalf of language in the United States.  Notwithstanding current and projected budgets constraints at the national, state and local levels, burgeoning demand for language and unprecedented advances in science, technology, and best practice make this a time of action and optimism.  Recent reports and conferences provide strong evidence that there is now the will and the opportunity to establish common ground across these five sectors: first, in a vision of what the future of language can be; second, in how one defines and promulgates the value propositionof language; and third, in strategic planning and short-term actions towards implementation of that vision. 

Richard Brecht is Director of Language Policy Initiatives at the University of Maryland, having retired from his position as Executive Director of the Center for Advanced Study of Language (CASL) at the University of Maryland since its founding in 2003.  Having received his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard in Slavic Languages and Literatures, he is professor of Russian at the University of Maryland. In addition to CASL, Dr. Brecht has been a principal in the founding and development of numerous other national organizations and projects: American Councils for International Education/ACTR-ACCELS, where he served as Chair of the Board of Trustees for its first decade; the Language Flagship Group; LangNet, a major on-line learning objects system, developed with DLIFLC’s GLOSS; the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages and the National Foreig

n Language Center, where he has served as executive director.  He also was a member of the original Group of Advisors to the National Security Education Program, advised on the original proposal for the National Language Service Corps, and took a leading role in the National Language Conference of 2004. Dr. Brecht serves on the Boards of Visitors of the Defense Language Institute; the Board of Directors of the American Council of Teachers of Russian, the Language Flagship Group; and, the National Boards of Advisors of USED’s National Language Resource Centers for African, Heritage, and National Middle East Languages. He also served as a member of the Board of Visitors of the CIA University from it founding until 2012.  Dr. Brecht has testified in Congress before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor, the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, and most recently before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.  He has made hundreds of presentations and authored and edited dozens of scholarly books, textbooks, manuals, articles and reviews on language policy, second language acquisition, and Slavic and Russian linguistics.  Finally, Dr. Brecht has received numerous awards from national and international organizations in the language field.