We consider the military to be one of the most important constituencies in our outreach efforts about the Middle East. As a National Resource Center of the Federal Department of Education, it is our mandate to conduct outreach and to provide access to knowledge and information about the Middle East. In addition, the director of our Center, Dr. Alam Payind, with native fluence in Persian, Pashto and Urdu, is scholar of Afghanistan and Middle East Studies. The Assistant Director, Melinda McClimans, is an expert on intercultural awareness and cultural knowledge acquisition.
After September 11, 2001, when requests for education and information about the Middle East increased exponentially, The Middle East Studies Center at The Ohio State University also re-doubled its military outreach efforts and began to develop an engagement strategy for military constituencies. By partnering with the Ohio National Guard, our local Lima Company of the Marine Corps, and university colleagues in military history and international security, and others, we began providing consultations with military and law enforcement leaders and trainers on an as-needed basis.He has served on the committees of 3 ROTC students, and regularly presents to our ROTC program. Dr. Payind took part in two major military conferences organized by the Army, one on “Social Organizations in the Operational Environment,” and the “Fort Drum Forum on Iraq and Afghanistan for Trainers of Trainers.”
In 2008 we further developed programs that would meet specific needs we had learned about through these interactions. On April 5, 2008, we presented to military families through "Operation Military Kids" in partnership with the Ohio National Guard. Since then we have trained representatives from U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), and are regular speakers for Central Command's Defense Institute of Security Assistance Management at Wright-Patterson Airforce Base. Below you will find links to an Afghan Culture Workshop for military and government trainers we conducted on July 21, 2009.
Selected activities we have hosted or co-sponsored include: a Pre-Departure Information Session for Officers (1/29/2009); An "Introduction to Afghan Culture" (4/4/2009) for the Ohio National Guard; A Pre-departure Orientation for the Lima Company of the Marine Corps (8/22/2009). In 2010, we organized or co-sponsored 3 activities: A "Workshop on Iraq" for 20 officers from the combined armed forces (05/28/2010); A Presentation on Afghan Culture at the Fort Drum Conference for Army Officers (07/13/2010); A presentation for military and teachers at the annual Law and Citizenship Conference hosted by the Ohio Center for Law Related Education (9/27/2010).
We partnered with the University of Texas in the following grant cycle to organize activities targeting military audiences. In 2011 we co-organized a workshop for Army Officers at Camp Mabry (November 4-6,2011). University of Texas Arabic students helped us stage a role-playing scenario as part of the workshop. The local press covered that story, and reported that it was the first of its kind. The workshop was funded by a grant from the National Security Education Program.
We continued to participate in the Law and Citizenship Conference by presenting on how cultural differences can impact teaching or “field operations” (8/18/2011), and again in the following year on Afghan culture. In September of 2012 we held a workshop on Middle Eastern Identities which was attended by military and Homeland Security personnel. The interview with our guest speakers can be listened to here: http://streaming.osu.edu/wosu/allsides/091912a.mp3
The video files below are in .rm format (RealPlayer) and will require you to download and play them with in the RealPlayer video software.
Video 1: Afghan01 (59:08 minutes)
Video 2: Afghan02 (60:11 minutes)
Video 3: Afghan03 (40:11 minutes)
Video 4: Afghan04 (60:32 minutes)
Video 5: Afghan05 (49:11 minutes)
Video 6: Afghan06 (62:22 minutes)
Video 7: Afghan07 (57:57 minutes)