FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- Sokhna Diagne Fatma Sèye Mbacké from Touba (Diourbel) in Sénégal, Africa greatly desired independence and academic enlightenment. For more than 20 years, she worked as an educator with the Defense Language Institute, teaching and coordinating language classes for DLI and other agencies within the Washington, D.C. area. She speaks French, Wolof, English, German, Spanish, a bit of Arabic, and some Japanese. She joined the Department of Languages at SWCS enthusiastic about the program and its opportunities.
On using personal experiences to enhance her classes:
Some students are not really as interested in learning the language, but every time I sit with them I explain that learning a language is for their protection and their life. Special-operations are not just about using force, it’s about using your brain in many circumstances. You need to know how to handle other people so you can be safe. They need to know the culture and get all the information they need without fighting.
On coming to the United States to teach:
I didn’t want to be married to my cousin whom already has other wives. I didn’t want to live that life. I wanted to learn. I wanted to be independent, not dependent on men like my sisters were. I was able to receive a scholarship and when I came I fell in love with the country. I didn’t want to go back and miss the opportunity, not having the ability to work for what I learned for. It was a struggle, but I’m proud of where I am now.
On the personal benefits of teaching:
I like working with people. I love teaching. In my country, when you are born you become a teacher of the younger ones. It comes naturally, interacting with people.
On the importance of language in special-operations:
Teaching and learning the language is extremely important because of the role of the U.S. in the world. The better we teach the military to learn the cultures of others, they will be able to use those other countries for support. It’s extremely important for them to be able to read, write, speak and understand the language, so they can be protected.
On coming to work at SWCS:
I really liked coming here and being part of the new ideas for the program. I have seen the ideas become improvements and the students are leaving the program with what they need.