“Your Own Mistakes Are Your Best Teacher”: Lessons From An Arabic Interpreter And Professor

Khanna Mandzha


Khanna Mandzha grew up in Syria with his seven brothers and sisters. In 1994, he was married in Azerbaijan while in college. During the War in Iraq, he worked for the 412th Civil Affairs Battalion, teaching Arabic. He was stationed at the Victory Base Complex, located at the Baghdad International Airport. In addition to teaching Arabic, he translated Russian Documents. In 2007 he worked for the Department of Defense. Currently, he teaches Arabic at the United States Military Academy. In this interview, he talks about his background, working for the U.S. Army in Iraq, and being an interpreter / linguist. He gives advice for how to navigate complex cultural landscapes, and how to be respectful to those with whom we come into contact.


conflicts Iraq War
topics Leadership Teamwork West Point History Courage Civilians
interviewer David Siry
date 26 February 2016


name Khanna Mandzha
institution Belarus Poly Tech; Azerbaijan State Petroleum Academy
unit Department of Foreign Languages
specialty Interpreter Translator