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The University of Kansas has been educating U.S. Foreign Area Officers for more than 50 years. The interdisciplinary MA program in Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies at KU is one of the longest established in the nation, having trained over 150 Foreign Area Officers since 1968. Providing courses in over 40 foreign languages, KU offers one-year (12-month) MA programs for well-prepared FAOs in the Americas, South Asia, Europe, Eurasia, China, North Africa, Middle East, North Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. There are only 20 universities nationwide that have, or are developing, 12-month regionally-oriented MA programs. Of the 20 universities, only two have more than one regional focus – the University of Kansas will have eight.


KU’s commitment to international area studies is evident in the support it provides for an Office of International Programs governed by an Associate Vice Provost; four US Department of Education-funded Title VI National Resource Centers (NRC); five Title VI Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) programs, which annually award undergraduate and graduate FLAS fellowships in 28 languages; and six modern language departments. The NRC/FLAS programs comprise the University’s International Area Studies Centers, which include:

  • Center for East Asian Studies (CEAS)
  • Center for Global and International Studies (CGIS)
  • Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (CREES)
  • Center of Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS)
  • Kansas African Studies Center (KASC)

Admirable foreign area officer (FAO)program with a commendable goal: to create officers who “combine professional military skills with re-gional expertise, language competency and military-political awareness.” In theory, these skilled officers would serve the Army in a variety of impor-tant and sensitive positions on high. LEAP is a volunteer program open to Active Duty officer and enlisted Airmen & select Reserve officers in most Air Force Specialty Codes. LEAP deliberately develops language enabled, cross-cultural Airmen across the General Purpose Force (GPF) with working level foreign language proficiency per Air Force Instruction (AFI) 36-4001, Air Force Language, Regional Expertise and Culture Program. Foreign Area Officer Program chooses 57 new cadre The Air Force maximizes its ability to build partnerships with allied and coalition partners with the Foreign Area Officer program. The FAO program is a force development initiative intended to create a cadre of officers with in-depth regional expertise, and just added 57 new officers for 2018. Joint FAO Skill Sustainment Program (JFSSP) is a collaboration program provided by DLIFLC and NPS. It is a refresher course for practicing Foreign Area Officers (FAOs) on cultural, linguistic.

KU’s language departments collaborate with its area studies centers to offer 40 languages, the most of any institution between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains. The language departments include:

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  • Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures
  • Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures
  • Department of French and Italian
  • Department of Spanish and Portuguese
  • Department of Germanic Languages and Literature
  • Department of African and African American Studies

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Additional languages are housed in CGIS and CLACS. The Centers work synergistically and collaborate with KU language departments and other partners to advance the University’s international mission as articulated by KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little: “In the twenty-first century, a great university must be global in its outlook and aspirations. At the University of Kansas, our research and teaching focus on understanding an interconnected world where crises and capital flow as easily across borders as ideas and issues. Providing students with the cultural, analytical, and linguistic skills necessary to navigate a global world is central to KU's mission.”

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For more information about KU’s FAO programs, contact:

Download Joint Foreign Area Officer Program Requirements

Mike Denning
FAO coordinator
[email protected]