Dover AFB Foreign Language Committee hosts World Fare Week

  • Published
  • By Roland Balik
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The newly formed Foreign Language Committee hosted events promoting diversity and inclusion during Dover Air Force Base’s first ever World Fare Week Aug. 22-26, 2022.

The theme of the week’s events was “Multi-lingual Airmen in a multi-capable Air Force,” to highlight the importance of exposing Airmen to different cultures, cuisine and languages.

“The purpose of the National Foreign Language Observation week was to recognize the diverse culture that our Dover community is made up of,” said Tech. Sgt. Oscar Vazquez, 436th Force Support Squadron dining facility manager. “The significance of diversity among all civilian employees and military members helps reduce stereotypical behaviors and beliefs with [the use of] food, music and education.”

The Patterson Dining Facility staff prepared a global-themed lunch each day of the week, offering cuisine from around the world such as Asian, Brazilian, Filipino, German and “Around the World Fare Street Food.” This unique menu was months in the making.

“This week’s menu is not something we offer in our 14-day cycle,” said Vasquez. “There is a lot of planning that goes into a menu like this. Having the opportunity to offer meals from around the world challenged our culinary experts to honor and stay true to the cuisine.”

Team Dover members challenged their own culinary expertise through the Great Diversity Dessert Bake-off Challenge.

“To me, food can bring people together and be a catalyst for communication,” said Capt. Lyndi Minott, Operations Division Chief at the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations. “Desserts like flan and baklava, and ingredients like Ube which were included in the competition, carry with them their own history and tradition.”

Minott won the challenge with her Brownie Delight entry, a family favorite with a personal spin to the original recipe.

“When we share desserts with others, we not only share that background, but we also share the personal meaning behind them, like learning to make them from grandma or having it at family functions. It gives everyone an opportunity to open up and be a little more vulnerable in a safe setting, which fosters communication and inclusion,” said Minott.

Being of Cuban and Italian descent, Senior Airman Carly Torres, 436th FSS fitness specialist, has personally experienced language barriers.

“Growing up, my grandmother and grandfather were from different countries so Spanish and Italian were spoken a lot,” said Torres. “I've learned well to understand accents and through my experiences in the military, I've encountered airmen whose first language is not English.”

According to Vasquez, events such as World Fare Week create opportunities for learning and growth within Team Dover.

“It's important to promote diversity and inclusion so we can understand who we are as Airmen, where we come from and what values we bring to the Air Force with our diverse backgrounds.” said Vasquez.