MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --
Air University’s International Officer School hosted its annual Alabama Goodwill Ambassador Appreciation Night Jan. 24, 2019, at the Maxwell Club.
The event honored volunteers who have distinguished themselves in their service as sponsors, English teachers and family program volunteers for international officers attending Air University.
“Part of the Air University mission is to bring in a couple hundred international officers from throughout the world (every year), and the whole point is to build partnerships with them,” said Col. Scott Rizer, IOS commandant. “We have over 100 community volunteers that help us throughout the year with a variety of programs. This is a night where Air University, Lt. Gen. Cotton and our international officers and families get to thank all the folks from the local Montgomery area for all the things they do for us throughout the year.”
Dating back to 1978, the program has connected thousands of sponsors from the local area with international officers attending AU, in order to assist with their transition to the River Region. In 2018 alone, more than 150 international officers attended various schools and programs at Air University.
“We couldn’t do this alone,” said Lt. Gen. Anthony Cotton, Air University commander and president. “It takes a community to make this work and the River Region community has been a part of this for so many years and we’re blessed to have them.”
The program has brought benefits to the local community, not just the international officers. Volunteers have said that the opportunity to interact with these individuals from around the world, many of whom have gone on to become the chief of staff equivalent or higher in their home nations, has provided them with a truly unique experience.
“It gives everyone involved an incredible opportunity to meet folks from all different walks of life, as far as different countries are concerned, and creates an environment where we all benefit from understanding each other’s cultures,” Cotton added.
The Alabama Goodwill Ambassador Program is a great way for civilians to get involved and volunteers are always needed. If you are interested, contact the International Officer School for more information. https://www.airuniversity.af.edu/IOS/