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Kapaun hosts NATO professional development seminar
Members of the foreign service panel answers questions from the audience during the NATO Cross-Cultural Awareness Professional Development Seminar, Oct. 30, 2013, Kapaun Air Station, Germany. The panel discussed their experience with culture in the military and methods they’ve used to make decisions based on cultural differences. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jose L. Leon)
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Kapaun hosts NATO professional development seminar

Posted 11/1/2013   Updated 11/1/2013 Email story   Print story


by Senior Airman Jose L. Leon
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

11/1/2013 - KAPAUN AIR STATION, Germany -- U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa Kisling Academy hosted the annual NATO Professional Development Seminar, Oct. 30, 2013, at the Kapaun Air Station NCO Academy auditorium.

The seminar covered cross-cultural awareness providing an opportunity for leaders from allied nations to bring their cultural diversity and perspective to NATO members, including KMC service members.

The day-long interactive seminar included introductions, a cultural diversity brief, a NATO mission brief an ethics brief and a foreign service panel with a representative from the British, German and Italian air forces as well as the Canadian army.

"This seminar brings a perspective of understanding differences; being aware of them and being able to operate in a multinational environment," said Tech. Sgt. Lacey Brown, USAFE-AFAFRICA Kisling Academy instructor. "It is important to understand the differences and the way we all come together to get the job done, especially being over-seas."

Royal Air Force Warrant Officer Peter Polidano, NATO Headquarters Air Command senior enlisted leader, gave a few words to start the seminar and was a part of the foreign service panel.

"If each individual has taken just one thing from this seminar, we have made progress because they will have a better understanding of cultural diversity, ethics and NATO itself," said Polidano. "When individuals are educating themselves, they are making themselves better airmen, better sailors and better soldiers."

Understanding, awareness, patience and communication were key aspects covered during the seminar. According to Brown, these characteristics assist her in reaching international students.

"I've personally hosted Turkish, Bulgarian and Czech Republican students," said Brown. "The characteristics we went over today allow us to reach them, bring them into the fold and ensure they get the information they need, so they can take it back to their countries and strengthen their enlisted corps."

The topics explained help everyday Airmen to better understand how cultural differences affect working with allied nations.

"Listening to the panel speak opened my mind to a lot I had not known about, such as how NATO nations collaborate," said Tech. Sgt. Bartolo Medel, 86th Maintenance Group quality assurance inspector. "Being able to take a look at things from another perspective enables us to see the responsibility we all share as nations within NATO."

Personal stories were shared and scenarios were given in an effort to shine light on allied military relations. The seminar's attendees received tools enabling them to be a better fit in today's international culture.

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