December 14, 2010 – The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency hosted a foreign language summit at the Marriott Inn & Conference Center, University of Maryland University College on December 8. According to a Department of Education notice, the purpose of the summit was to highlight the value of foreign language education to the nation and to encourage America's educators to find innovative ways to teach languages -- especially, those less commonly taught in American classrooms like Mandarin Chinese, Hindi and Arabic. CIA Director, Leon Panetta, said that language skills are vital to success in an interconnected world and are fundamental to U.S. competitiveness and security. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, also spoke to the summit participants, focusing his remarks on the state of foreign language education in the U.S.
Other speakers at the summit included Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Clifford Stanley, and U.S. Representative Rush Holt of New Jersey. The University of Maryland’s Center for Advanced Study of Language and the CIA cosponsored the event. More than 300 foreign language experts and educators from the public and private sectors attended.