News: DLIFLC commandant awarded Danish medal
Story by Natela Cutter
PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - The commandant of the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, Col. Danial D. Pick, was awarded the Danish Armed Forces Medal for Special Meritorious Service by the Danish Royal Army Jan. 30.
The award was presented by Lt. Col. Nicolas T. Veicherts, the foreign language program director of the Royal Danish Defence College. The medal is typically awarded to civilians or military personnel who have done meritorious service to the betterment of the Danish Defence Forces.
Veicherts visited DLIFLC with his colleague, Maj. Astrid Bjerregaard, to present the medal and tour DLIFLC facilities where four Danish soldiers are attending a 63-week Pashto language course, and seven others are attending a two-week special exchange Pashto immersion program.
"This medal is given to Col. Danial Pick for his exceptional support to the Danish armed forces in facilitating and accomplishing the enrollment and integration of Danish military linguists into the Pashto language training program at DLIFLC," said Veicherts.
In 2007, as director of the Foreign Area Officer Program at DLIFLC, Pick was instrumental in supporting the Danish armed forces in their efforts to collaborate with the Institute to establish a Danish presence.
As commandant of the Institute in 2010, Pick worked to solidify the relationship, which has led to the graduation of 24 Danish students from the Dari and Pashto courses since the inception of the program.
"It is a pleasure to have Danish linguists study here especially because they are so talented and attain very high scores. I like to challenge our students by saying they have to learn Pashto or Dari just as well as the Danes because they are learning a foreign language while using a foreign language, which is twice as tough," said Pick.
In addition to attending the Basic Pashto or Dari courses, Danish linguists have come to the institute for a special two-week immersion program to take advantage of native instructors, practice speaking, and gain better cultural understanding of Afghanistan.
"It is a wonderful opportunity to be able to come to DLI because of the native instructors and world class facilities," said Sgt. David Pontoppidan, who also fluently speaks French, German, Italian, and Spanish, in addition to Pashto and English.
"We are able to immerse ourselves in the language and culture here and it is almost like being in Afghanistan," Pontoppidan said.
"We are actually looking for immersion possibilities in countries neighboring Afghanistan, but for now, I think out students enjoy working with their American counterparts, and Monterey is not a bad place, after all," said Veicherts with a smile.
Veicherts and Bjerregaard spent two days touring the Institute to find out more about the production of curriculum through technology integration, faculty development, and testing.