Peace Corps celebrates 50 years: Many international affairs alums part of the history
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps, the U.S. agency created in 1961 under President John F. Kennedy to promote peace and friendship around the world.
Many international affairs (IA) alumni have served in the Peace Corps since our first majors graduated in 1985, serving in many locations in Africa, Latin America and Asia. For Florence Reed ’90, a Peace Corps experience in Panama was a first step toward building Sustainable Harvest International, the non-profit organization for which she is founder and president.
Looking back on her experience in Paraguay, National Passport Center Customer Service Manager Susanne Delaney ’93 notes, “Peace Corps was, as they say, the toughest job I’ll ever love -- and I am a better person for having served.”
Nic Tanner ’07 recently returned from his 27-month assignment in Kyrgyzstan where he taught English to all ages, served as a teacher trainer, wrote grants, facilitated the construction and use of a resource/learning center, worked on a solar water heating project, and co-authored Cultural Communication in Kyrgyzstan, a book designed to help new volunteers deal with difficult situations such as bride kidnapping and alcoholism.
Currently IA alumnus John Foss ’09 is engaged in a community economic development project in Costa Rica. He is helping to plan and develop an organic banana vinegar plant, construct an internet cafe, market local artisan work, develop and promote rural tourism with an orchids association, teach English classes, and assisting with various infrastructure projects. In the next three months he hopes to offer computer classes, work with youth groups focused on entrepreneurship, and facilitate the creation of a community credit union.
Other alumni who volunteered include:
Christina Allen '89 - Benin
Lisa (Dague '91) Miller - Panama
Denise Wales ’92 - Eastern Europe
Russell Holden ’93 - Ivory Coast
Kathleen Blenk ’93 - Gabon
Christine (McFeeley ’94) Sprovieri - Togo
Shannon McGarry ’03 - Guyana
Rachel Olsen ’04 - Turkmenistan
Kathryn Daly ’07 - Madagascar.
For more information on opportunities with the Peace Corps, visit http://www.peacecorps.gov/.