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AFSA Scholarship

American Foreign Service

Protective Association

Clements Worldwide

Embassy Risk Management

The Hirshorn Company

McGrath Real Estate Services

WJD Management

Afghanistan and Iraq to Somalia and

Nigeria, and even Mexico and the Philip-


—Maria C. Livingston,

Associate Editor

Decline in Foreign

Language Study



ince 1958, the Modern Language

Association of America has con-

ducted regular surveys of enrollment in

foreign language studies at U.S. higher

education institutions. Enrollment has

typically fluctuated over the years. But

in the most recent survey, MLA reported the first decline in 20 years.

According to the 2015 report,

“Aggregated results for enrollments in all

languages show a decrease of 6.7 percent

from the 2009 survey, thus ending a

steady rise since 1980.” The study was

based on data as of fall 2013 gathered

from 2,616 institutions.

Spanish and French remain the two

most-studied foreign languages, with

Spanish exceeding that of all other

languages combined. Yet Spanish enroll-

ments nonetheless fell for the first time

ever, declining 8 percent over the survey

period, reports

ICEF Monitor

, a market

intelligence resource for the interna-

tional education industry.

Some languages did experience

significant growth—Chinese, Arabic,

Korean and American Sign Language all

accounted for a larger percentage of total

language enrollments than ever before.

Despite the 6.7 percent drop overall

in enrollments, many sectors in many

institutions experienced stability and,

indeed, growth in enrollment. Interest-

ingly, the largest growth was in programs

of advanced undergraduate or graduate


Thus, while there may be fewer

students taking courses in languages

other than English overall, the ones who

are enrolled are often going farther, and

presumably gaining greater proficiency,

than ever before.

Those thriving foreign language pro-

grams need to be studied as models of

effective teaching, MLA notes.

To view the full report, visit




—Brittany DeLong, Assistant Editor

New Film Showcases the

Foreign Service


merica’s Diplomats,” a new film

that explores the role of diplo-

macy in shaping American history, will

air on PBS in early 2016.

From the nation’s first diplomat,

Benjamin Franklin, through Consular

Officer Fiorello LaGuardia to diplomats

who have lost their lives in the service of

their nation, the one-hour documentary

places their compelling stories in the

context of major events in American his-

tory, and shows the work and challenges

of the Foreign Service today. The film is

narrated by Kathleen Turner, a Foreign

Service “brat.”


Foreign Policy Association,


nonpartisan educational organization,

in conjunction with AFSA members

Ambassadors Bill Harrop and Ed Marks,

other active-duty and retired diplomats

and the Delavan Foundation have pro-

duced the film.

A premiere showing in Washington

for AFSA members and others in the

Foreign Service community is planned

for the first week of November as a fund-

raiser for the Diplomacy Center Founda-

tion. Stay tuned for further details.


—Susan B. Maitra, Managing Editor