Djiboutian students graduate language course

Ambassadors, Camp Lemonnier and Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa service members attend a graduation ceremony at the Institute of Diplomatic Studies in Djibouti June 14, 2015.  404th Civil Affairs soldiers taught Djiboutian civil servants English during the past academic year.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Maria Bowman) Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa Image Ambassadors, Camp Lemonnier and Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa service members attend a graduation ceremony at the Institute of Diplomatic Studies in Djibouti June 14, 2015. 404th Civil Affairs soldiers taught Djiboutian civil servants English during the past academic year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Maria Bowman)
Tom Kelly, U.S. Ambassador to Djibouti, speaks about the importance of learning multiple languages during a graduation ceremony at the Institute of Diplomatic Studies in Djibouti, June 14, 2015.  During the last academic year, the graduates have been studying English, Chinese or Amharic.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Maria Bowman) Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa Image Tom Kelly, U.S. Ambassador to Djibouti, speaks about the importance of learning multiple languages during a graduation ceremony at the Institute of Diplomatic Studies in Djibouti, June 14, 2015. During the last academic year, the graduates have been studying English, Chinese or Amharic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Maria Bowman)
Moussa Ali Meigague, Institute of Diplomatic Studies director, congratulates students on their accomplishments during the IDS graduation ceremony in Djibouti, June 14, 2015.  This ceremony marks the first full academic year of foreign languages at the institute.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Maria Bowman)
Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa Image Moussa Ali Meigague, Institute of Diplomatic Studies director, congratulates students on their accomplishments during the IDS graduation ceremony in Djibouti, June 14, 2015. This ceremony marks the first full academic year of foreign languages at the institute. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Maria Bowman)
Fu Huaginag, Chinese Ambassador to Djibouti, addresses honored guests and foreign language students during a graduation ceremony at the Institute of Diplomatic Studies in Djibouti, June 14, 2015.  The graduates have spent the last academic year studying English, Chinese or Amharic.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Maria Bowman)
Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa Image Fu Huaginag, Chinese Ambassador to Djibouti, addresses honored guests and foreign language students during a graduation ceremony at the Institute of Diplomatic Studies in Djibouti, June 14, 2015. The graduates have spent the last academic year studying English, Chinese or Amharic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Maria Bowman)
A Djiboutian student gives a speech in Mandarin during a graduation ceremony at the Institute of Diplomatic Studies in Djibouti, June 14, 2015.  The institute graduates have spent an academic year learning English, Chinese or Amharic.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Maria Bowman) Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa Image A Djiboutian student gives a speech in Mandarin during a graduation ceremony at the Institute of Diplomatic Studies in Djibouti, June 14, 2015. The institute graduates have spent an academic year learning English, Chinese or Amharic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Maria Bowman)
A Djiboutian student, Khadija Hassan, gives a speech in English during a graduation ceremony at the Institute of Diplomatic Studies in Djibouti, June 14, 2015.  The institute graduates are Djiboutian civil servants who will use their new language skills in their jobs.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Maria Bowman)
Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa Image A Djiboutian student, Khadija Hassan, gives a speech in English during a graduation ceremony at the Institute of Diplomatic Studies in Djibouti, June 14, 2015. The institute graduates are Djiboutian civil servants who will use their new language skills in their jobs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Maria Bowman)
Moktar Mahamoud (middle), an English student, receives his graduation certificate from Tom Kelly (left), U.S. Ambassador to Djibouti and Mahmoud Ali Youssouf (right), Djibouti Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.  Moktar recently went to the U.S., where he used his new English skills.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Maria Bowman) Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa Image Moktar Mahamoud (middle), an English student, receives his graduation certificate from Tom Kelly (left), U.S. Ambassador to Djibouti and Mahmoud Ali Youssouf (right), Djibouti Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Moktar recently went to the U.S., where he used his new English skills. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Maria Bowman)
Fu Huaginag, Chinese Ambassador to Djibouti, congratulates a language class student during a graduation ceremony at the Institute of Diplomatic Studies in Djibouti, June 14, 2015.  Some of the graduating students spent the last nine months studying Chinese-Mandarin.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Maria Bowman) Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa Image Fu Huaginag, Chinese Ambassador to Djibouti, congratulates a language class student during a graduation ceremony at the Institute of Diplomatic Studies in Djibouti, June 14, 2015. Some of the graduating students spent the last nine months studying Chinese-Mandarin. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Maria Bowman)

Djibouti has a diverse population, filled with people from all over the world who speak different languages.  Learning a new language opens up the possibility to talk to someone in their native tongue and bridge the communication gap.

Djiboutian civil servants, who dedicated the past 10 months to learning English, Mandarin, or Amharic, recently graduated from the Institute of Diplomatic Studies.

Tom Kelly, U.S. Ambassador to Djibouti, attended the graduation and talked about the importance of learning new languages and encouraged the graduates to further their knowledge.

“Learning a foreign language opens a door to the world,” Kelly said.  “It is a lifelong adventure; there is always more to know and discover.  If you can learn one foreign language, the next one is easier to learn.  I encourage you to keep going and learn more languages.  That is the best way to fully appreciate and enjoy all that our wonderful world has to offer us.”

Moussa Ali Meigague, Institute of Diplomatic Studies director, congratulated the students on their achievements during this past academic school year.  He also said the need for robust diplomats and civil servants grows daily, as the world continues to globalize.

“Throughout the year, you have demonstrated the commitment, creativity and talent needed to contribute to the development of our country,” Meigague said.  “I hope you will utilize your newly acquired language skills in your respective area of expertise.”

Moktar Mahamoud, a graduating student, recently went to New York to attend a legal seminar to learn from others how to set up an arbitration and mediation center, so he could bring that information back to Djibouti.  He said learning English helped make his trip a success, and he plans to continue using it in his job as an attorney.

“Learning English helped me to understand people in my work,” Mahamoud said.  “Our office receives people who only speak English, and we have to find a translator.  Now, I can help the judge understand a person who only speaks this language.”

U.S. Army Spc. William Robinson, 404th Civil Affairs Battalion healthcare specialist, spent the past few months teaching the students English, and said he is really proud of how far the students have come in their language-learning journey. 

“It’s hard to learn a new language,” Robinson said.  “It’s difficult to want to learn something new, especially since the students have families and go to work before class.  I applaud their dedication to learning a different language and congratulate them on opening up a new chapter in their lives.”

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