Fifty Years of Peace Corps

I joined the Peace Corps right out of college in 1977. There was never any question about that for me, and it seemed that the idea of the Peace Corps had always been with me. I think that the first actual volunteer I ever spoke with was Paul Tsongas, the late senator (and congressman at the time) from Massachusetts who I worked for on Capitol Hill.  Paul had been a volunteer in Ethiopia in the early days of the Peace Corps, and often (to me, at least) referred to his experiences there.

It's been a time to reassess the Corps.  This article in The Nation (which mentions me) is very thoughtful.

The only person on the dais who expressed any uncertainty about the value of the Peace Corps was Mary Jo Bane, the Kennedy School academic dean and an early volunteer in Liberia. She commented that the Peace Corps probably helped President William Tubman maintain power longer than he would have otherwise (as Tubman grew increasingly dictatorial before his death in 1971, the efforts of volunteer teachers and rural advisers arguably helped him create an appearance of government concern for the poor), which she said "might or might not have been a good thing."

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