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.    


Lawrence G. Mason (Senior Project Manager) - As Senior Project Manager for DoD programs at the Institute of International Education (IIE) Mr. Mason serves as the team lead for Project Global Officer (GO) and Language Training Center (LTC) programs in addition to working across the suite of DoD programs at IIE to support programmatic best practices specific to international programing.  In his over ten years with the Institute, he has served in multiple team leadership and program management roles spanning scholarly exchange to international development initiatives.  From 2014 – 2017, he was Assistant Director for Fulbright Visiting Scholar Programs at IIE where he responsible for program and team management for the core Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program, Junior Faculty Development Programs, and the Fulbright Arctic Initiative.   Other IIE management roles have supported the MENA Judicial Exchange Project for Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI); the USDA-sponsored Leadership Training Initiative for the Afghanistan Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock; the U.S. - Japan Fulbright Teacher Exchange for Education for Sustainable Development; and the USAID sponsored Egypt Development Training II Project.  Outside IIE he successfully launched and directed a U.S. Department of State J-1 designated sponsor organization and worked within the Investment Management Division of the World Bank prior to joining IIE.  Mr. Mason is a graduate University of California Santa Barbara with BA in Political Science/International Relations and a minor in Global Peace and Security Studies and has studied abroad in Spain and France.

Noelle Little (Program Officer) -  As Program Officer for the Project Global Officer (GO) and Language Training Center (LTC) programs, Ms. Little works directly with institutional grantees supporting the issuance of grant awards and award administration.  Prior to joining the Institute of International Education (IIE) she worked at the American Councils for International Education in Washington, DC on the U.S. Department of State sponsored Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program.  Her focus as CLS Program Officer was the support of programming for Turkish, Azerbaijani and Swahili languages.  Ms. Little received a BA in International Development Studies from University of California, Los Angeles.

Meredith Schumacher (Program Specialist) - In the role of Program Specialist for the Project Global Officer (GO) and Language Training Center (LTC) programs at IIE, Ms. Schumacher supports the management and administration of the Project GO Central Application system at and best practices for application and selection activities.  She also works extensively across both programs on the collection, analysis, and reporting of programmatic data. Prior to joining IIE she worked as a Senior Program Officer on the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders at IREX.  Ms. Schumacher has 20 years of experience working in international education and development programs, and received a MA in International Affairs from The George Washington University.

Laetitia Handal (Program Coordinator) - Ms. Handal provides administrative and programmatic support to the Project GO and Language Training Center programs team at IIE.  In this role she also supports the program team with the review and processing of institutional grantee award payments.  Ms. Handal was also a member of IIE’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) team when she first joined the Institute.  Prior to IIE, she worked as a Youth Development Specialist with the Peace Corps in Ouarzazate, Morocco; in addition to living in Haiti and Jordan where she pursued professional opportunities in the educational and non-profit sectors.  She received her BA in International Relations and Development from the American University and is fluent in French, Haitian Creole, and Arabic.