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Strengthening alliances: AF Academy hosts partner nation cadets during International Week

A cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy (bottom right) sits next to Polish Air Force cadets during one of several regional seminars during International Week, Oct. 23, 2019. The annual event at the Academy exposes U.S. partner nation cadets from around the world to different cultures and perspectives, and gives the group several opportunities to team up and mingle. (U.S. Air Force photo/Trevor Cokley)

Story by Ray Bowden, Oct. 29, 2019

U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. — Service academy cadets from around the world gathered at the Air Force Academy for International Week, Oct. 21-24.

The Academy hosted cadets from Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, Honduras, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Mexico, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates and Uruguay

“International Week is perfectly aligned with the chief of staff of the Air Force’s priority of ‘strengthening alliances,”’ said Col. Dan Uribe, head of the Academy’s foreign languages department. “We’re hosting future air force leaders from our NATO allies and partner nations from around the globe.”

During the week, the cadets attended regional seminars, took on the ropes course, toured the airfield and the Airmanship Programs, and other activities.

“The relationships our cadets establish during this visit and during reciprocal visits to our partner-nation countries strengthens those bonds of friendship and facilitate cooperation and collaboration for years to come,” Uribe said.

International Week is hosted by the foreign language department’s International Program staff and cadets.

“It’s an excellent opportunity for cadets to be exposed to foreign cultures and different perspectives, which will better prepare them to serve and lead in the Air Force of the 21st Century,” Uribe said. “Regardless of the career fields our cadets pursue, they’ll be operating globally and may find themselves serving alongside some of the partner-nation cadets they met this week.”

Cadet 2nd Class Alexis Andros was among the cadets who organized this year’s event.

“The world is always changing and international relationships are so important,” she said. “The more we understand about our cultural differences, the better off we’ll be in the joint environment.”

Australian Air Force Flight Commander Matthew Keam said International Week is a boon to Australian cadets.

“This helps young Australian cadets and officers see the ‘big picture,’” he said. “They start to see the value of their relationship with multinational forces. My guys see the value – they’re really happy to be here.”