Lefteris Kafatos will be one of three recipients of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies' Young Alumni Achievement Award from the Monterey, California school on May 16 this year, noted for his achievements and making an impact on the world in his field.
A graduate of the class of 2010, he is a Greek-American who went to Japan after graduating from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, taking part in the Japan Exchange Teaching (JET) Program and spent nine years living and working in Japan, primarily as a translator.
While working as a reporter, he had the opportunity to interpret for a pair of kamikaze pilots who had survived the war, and this experience led to his pursuit of studies at the Institute.
After graduation, he began interpreting for the Office of Language Services (LS/I) at the U.S. State Department on a freelance basis, then jumping to working in the automotive industry before coming back to the State Department, serving on many diplomatic assignments. He believes language is one of the most powerful and human ways of bridging cultural divides. He also likes learning languages, visiting Greece, and also working on his yoga.