The Foreign Service Journal - December 2017

44 DECEMBER 2017 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL The School of Language Studies. Foreign language proficiency has historically been one of the strong points of the Foreign Service, and a distinguishing trademark of American diplomats around the world. The School of Language Training, as this division of FSI was originally designated in 1947, went through a series of name changes during its first two decades. It was almost immediately renamed the Language Training Branch; then, in 1955, the School of Languages; and shortly after that, the School of Language and Area Studies. In 1966, Area Studies moved to the School of Professional Studies, and the School of Language Studies has stood on its own ever since. In its first year, SLS taught 31 languages to 559 stu- dents, delivering 34,361 hours of instruction. The largest language programs were in French, German, Spanish, Russian and Arabic. The Arabic course lasted six months, making it the longest program. Teachers were known as Native Informants, while language training supervisors were called Scientific Linguists. From the beginning, FSI has utilized state-of-the-art technology to facilitate learning. Under its first director, Henry Smith Jr., the School of Language Training incor- porated intensive methods of language instruction that only the armed forces used at the time. Smith acquired $10,000 worth of basic manuals and phonograph records from the U.S. Army, and invested $30,000 more in record players, SoundScriber tape recording machines and other equipment. The School of Language Studies is a co-creator of the speaking and reading language proficiency rating scales (0-5) used throughout the U.S. government, and a leader within the U.S. government’s interagency community of language trainers and testers. It currently offers instruc- tion in more than 70 languages, with course length and curricula targeted at a range of language proficiencies from basic to advanced. In 2015 the School of Language Studies delivered 1,659,190 hours of language training. In addition to training in Arlington, Virginia, advanced language instruction is provided at field schools in Seoul, Taipei and Yokohama, and via regional programs in the FSI’s Main Components Today Middle East and North Africa, as well as in China and Mexico City. The School of Professional and Area Studies. When FSI opened, a division known as the Specialized Training Branch administered all of what today we would call profes- sional tradecraft courses. In 1955 its name changed to the School of International Studies; then, less than two years later, to the School of Foreign Affairs. In 1966 the title was changed yet again to the School of Professional Studies, after FSI management decided to center all functional and substantive curricula there. FSI eventually merged the Area Studies program into the School of Professional Studies, where it has remained ever since. The School of Professional and Area Studies conducts job-specific orientation, tradecraft and area studies train- ing to empower foreign affairs professionals to advance U.S. interests and tackle the evolving challenges of 21st- century diplomacy. Toward that end, SPAS offers tailored programs in consular, economic and commercial work; management and office management; and political and public diplomacy, as well as new-hire orientation programs and in-depth area studies courses. SPAS currently encompasses 10 divisions: Area Studies, Office Management Training, Consular Training, Orienta- tion, Curriculum and Staff Development, Political Training, Economic and Commercial Studies, Public Diplomacy, Management Tradecraft and the Center for the Study of the Conduct of Diplomacy. The School of Applied Information Technology. FSI has long prided itself on being a catalyst for the evolution of U.S. diplomacy to meet new challenges and apply new tools. A vivid example of this approach is the School of Applied Information Technology, founded in 1996, which prepares Department of State employees for their foreign affairs mission by developing proficiency in the use of technology. Specifically, SAIT enables end-users to efficiently and effectively weave technology into their daily routines; ensures that the department’s information technology professionals have the up-to-date knowledge and skills required to operate and maintain the complex computer