Newsmaker

Richard Brecht

October 09, 2005|By BRADLEY OLSON

Occupation

Executive director of the University of Maryland's Center for the Advanced Study of Language

In the news

As the center was dedicated Thursday in a College Park office park , Brecht outlined some ambitious goals, such as research breakthroughs that will allow intelligence agencies to eliminate the translation backlog for classified documents and communication intercepts. With 75 researchers and staffers and an undisclosed budget from the Defense Department, the Center for the Advanced Study of Language is the largest language research center in the United States. The research is mostly classified, focusing on language training and learning potential.

Career highlights

Brecht is a Russian scholar and author or editor of more than 40 books about Russian and Slavic languages, language instruction, national security and language learning capacity. He helped found the American Councils for International Education; LangNet, The Language Network; the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages; and the National Foreign Language Center. Brecht served in the Air Force from 1959 to 1963, stationed in Berlin, after which he attended Pennsylvania State University. He holds a doctorate in Slavic languages and literatures from Harvard University.

Personal

Brecht, 65, grew up in Jeannette, Pa., and attended high school at St. Vincent's Monastery in Latrobe, Pa. He lives in Silver Spring with his wife. He has two daughters and two granddaughters, all of whom were at the dedication of the language center where CIA Director Porter J. Goss was speaking. Brecht runs between 40 and 50 miles a week.

Philosophy

"I was in the monastery when I was young, and I took Greek, Latin and German. In the military, I studied Russian. My whole life since I was a boy has been involved in languages and communications and frankly, making the world better by getting people to understand each other better through language and culture."

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