Earlier this month, on December 5, 2019, the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) was in Atlanta, Georgia, for the graduation of Cohort 17 of the IAFC's International Fellowship Program (IFP).
Nine fellows from Saudi Aramco Fire Protection Department spent the last six months embedded with Atlanta FD. Our IFP places international firefighters in leading U.S. fire departments to learn best practices, strengthen core competencies, develop and expand knowledge, and better understand U.S. culture and values with the hope of fostering networking opportunities and forge international partnerships.
We were able to live-stream the graduation (watch it here), giving the families of the fellows to watch the ceremony, a first for the program.
The graduates left the U.S. with strengthened core competencies, new (or expanded) knowledge, skills, and abilities to help them responded and perform according to industry best-practices, as well as an understanding of the culture and values of the U.S. fire and emergency service.
Participating U.S. fire departments, in this case, Atlanta, also benefited from not only cultural exposure and networking opportunities, which led to life-long friendships, but the host department had the chance to be at the forefront of future international partnerships.
The IAFC looks forward to many more cohorts across the U.S.