West Virginia Guardsman graduates Arabic course in Qatar
By Edwin Wriston, West Virginia National Guard
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Capt. Allen Paul Jordan, bilateral affairs officer of the West Virginia National Guard’s State Partnership Program with Qatar, recently graduated a three-week basic Arabic course offered at the Qatar Armed Forces Language Institute in Al Sheehaniya, Qatar.
The course provides students an opportunity to spend three full weeks immersed in reading, writing and speaking Arabic, as well as Arabic culture. Instructors are native Arabic speakers, and students represent armed forces from around the globe.
Students are first tested on their written and verbal comprehension of Arabic and their writing proficiency. Emphasis is placed on their ability to utilize proper grammatical constructs in spoken and written formats, including focusing on masculine and feminine nouns and verbs, and present, past and future tenses.
The initial assessment helps instructors tailor the course to individual student strengths and weaknesses. Each day consisted of 2.5 to three hours of classroom instruction, followed by two to three hours of homework.
While Jordan went into the training with more than 16 months of Arabic training, he said the instruction was invaluable.
“Attending the course was a completely immersive experience,” said Jordan. “The course helped me focus on gaps in my previous formal education in Arabic and has made me a much more skilled and more confident practitioner.”
Jordan especially appreciated the cultural opportunities at the institute. “I was able to spend three full weeks not only studying the Arabic language, but also the various cultures that make up the Middle East. This combination of both language and culture added depth to the instruction and ensured each lesson was thoroughly engaging,” he added.
Jordan’s expertise in Arabic will be especially important as the West Virginia National Guard continues to build a strong relationship with the Qatari Armed Forces as part of the State Partnership Program.
“My hope is that I can use my Arabic skills to help strengthen our SPP relationship with Qatar and that my experience at the institute will help pave the way for other Soldiers to attend and have the same experiences I have,” said Jordan. “As our engagement and presence in the Middle East continues, having Soldiers that speak the native language and better understand the culture is a tremendous benefit and tool for us to have that hopefully can help strengthen regional ties and coalitions, and ultimately help keep our Soldiers and Airmen safe when deployed to the region.”
West Virginia and Qatar formally established their partnership in May 2018 through the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program. Through the partnership with Qatar, the WVNG seeks to increase military and diplomatic cooperation, develop and expand defense capabilities and mutually beneficial training. In addition, the two entities have collaborated the past two years to increase interoperability of forces and deter and disrupt criminal and terrorist activities in the region.