An Initiative of the defense language and national security education office



Dr. Sam Eisen (Director of Programs) - Dr. Eisen is the Director of Programs in the Defense Language and National Security Education Office (DLNSEO).  Before coming to DLNSEO, Dr. Eisen served as the Director of the Advanced Training and Research Group in International and Foreign Language Education at the U.S. Department of Education, where he provided oversight for Title VI and Fulbright Hays programming designed to develop and maintain national capacity in foreign language and international and area studies.  Before joining the Department of Education, Dr. Eisen served at the U.S. Department of State (1999-2007) in the Office of the Coordinator of U.S. Assistance to Europe and Eurasia.  At the State Department, Dr. Eisen coordinated Freedom Support Act which funded academic and professional exchange programs with the former Soviet Union for over 5,000 participants per year and managed specialized institutional development projects.  Dr. Eisen also served in the Coordinator’s Office as the Democracy Programs Officer for U.S. Government assistance to Eastern Europe and Eurasia to promote civil society, independent media and rule of law in the region.  At the U.S. Information Agency (1998-1999), he managed university partnership programs for Russia and Central Asia. Before joining the federal government, Dr. Eisen taught Russian language, literature, and culture as Assistant Professor of Russian Studies at American University in Washington DC (1995-1998). Dr. Eisen holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Russian Language and Literature from Stanford University, and a B.A in Russian from Amherst College.

Ms. Shirley T. Rapues (Senior Program Manager) - Ms. Rapues is the Senior Program Manager for Project Global Officer (GO) and the Language Training Center (LTC) Program.  In her current position, she provides program management and oversight for Project GO and LTC programs which are designed to meet the present and future needs for language, regional, and cultural expertise for the Department of Defense (DoD).  Prior to her current position, Ms. Rapues served as the Foreign Language Training and Education Officer for the Defense Language Office (DLO) by providing oversight and integration of all learning programs for language, regional and cultural expertise across the training and education continuum throughout DoD.

Ms. Rapues retired from the U.S. Army in January 2011 after 25 years of service.  Her last military assignment was as the Associate Director for the DoD Foreign Area Officer (FAO) Program at DLO.  As the DoD FAO Program Manager, she provided oversight and support to the Service FAO Programs and advised the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness on the Joint FAO Program.  Ms. Rapues also served in various FAO assignments overseas and in CONUS. Ms. Rapues has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Hawaii – Manoa (UH-Manoa) and a Master’s Degree in International Relations from Troy State University.  She received her commission as a Second Lieutenant through the ROTC Program at UH-Manoa.  Ms. Rapues completed basic language training at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center for Japanese and Portuguese.  She also graduated from the advanced Japanese language training at the Foreign Service Institute in Yokohama, Japan.

Mr. David Edwards (Program Manager) - Mr. Edwards received his Master of Arts degree from the Naval War College, where his thesis focused on advanced language learners' cultural interactions in overseas environments. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brigham Young University in political science with significant coursework in the languages and regions of East Asia and Latin America.  While at Brigham Young University, Mr. Edwards worked in the International Study Programs office and coordinated study abroad activities across Asia and Europe.    


Dr. Leah Mason (Assistant Director) – Dr. Mason began working with the Institute of International Education in 2010, serving as a research officer for the National Security Education Program funded programs at the Institute of International Education, where she authored the report, Leveraging Language and Cultural Education and U.S. Higher Education Programs, on how the Department of Defense could better leverage higher education language and culture programs. She also managed a series of related institutional grants, and otherwise supported the Boren Scholarships, the Boren Fellowships, The Language Flagship, Project Global Officer, and the Language Training Center programs.  Prior to joining the Institute of International Education, Dr. Mason earned her Ed.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University in International Educational Development.

Ms. Lydia Hamilton (Program Officer) – Ms. Hamilton joined the Institute of International Education on the Project GO and Language Training Center Program team in 2015. Prior to joining the Institute, she completed an Alfa Fellowship at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. She previously worked as a Program Manager at the Harriman Institute at Columbia University.  Lydia holds a Master of Arts in Regional Studies – Russia, Eurasia, and Eastern Europe from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in Slavic Studies from Brown University.

Mr. Perry D’Amelio (Program Officer) – Mr. D’Amelio joined the Institute of International Education in 2015, as a Program Associate for the KAUST Gifted Student Program. He joined the Project GO and Language Training Center team as a Program Officer in March 2016. Prior to joining the Institute, he worked as a Program Manager for the Global Language Network. He has also served for two years in the Americorps program City Year, mentoring youth in Washington, DC public schools. Mr. D’Amelio holds a BA in International Affairs from The George Washington University, with concentrations in International Development, International Politics, and European and Eurasian Studies.

Ms. Lauren Kardos (Program Officer) – Ms. Kardos joined the Institute of International Education in July 2016. Prior to joining the Institute, she worked since 2011 within AMIDEAST’s Education Abroad Programs department to bring U.S. university students on study abroad programs to the Middle East and North Africa. Ms. Kardos holds a BA in International Affairs and Middle East Studies from The George Washington University. Currently pursuing part-time graduate studies, she plans to complete her Master of Arts degree in International Education from The George Washington University by the winter of 2017.