Omani Praises Counterterrorism Course


Learning more about the English language brought a group of counterterrorism professionals closer together — and enhanced their understanding of their mission, said Royal Air Force of Oman 1st Lt. Mohammed Murad Kamal Han Murad al-Balushi. He graduated in July 2017 from the English Language Enhancement Course (ELEC) hosted by the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies.

“Yes, I improved my English language skills, but I also learned something I did not imagine: how to work as part of a solid network of counterterrorism professionals with varied backgrounds and experiences from different countries,” al-Balushi told his fellow graduates during a ceremony at the Marshall Center in Germany.

“My world is now smaller, closer and easier to make contacts and get assistance,” he said. “I feel that in these five weeks, I have become a more effective counterterrorism professional.”

Al-Balushi graduated with six other counterterrorism professionals from six nations, most of whom joined 76 other experts at the center’s Program on Terrorism and Security Studies (PTSS).

PTSS course director Jim Howcroft emphasized at the graduation ceremony that English has increasingly become the language of choice when interacting with the worldwide counterterrorism network.

“This course is an absolutely unique language program, because it combines language-skills development with the authentic counterterrorism content,” said Marshall Center instructor Peggy Garza.

The Marshall Center’s Partner Language Training Center Europe developed this five-week resident program to increase participants’ confidence and ability to communicate professionally in English. The learning atmosphere centers on discussions among the participants and counterterrorism presentations by Howcroft and his team.

The course should not be confused with a language class because all the students already speak English, said ELEC instructor Thomas Soule.

“They are learning the necessary vocabulary and terminology together, adding their own diverse background and [counterterrorism] experiences into the mix,” he said. “They begin to understand, analyze and think critically in English. Not quite as well, obviously, as in their native tongue, but much better than I think they ever thought they would.”  Source: Marshall Center