NPCA President and CEO Kevin Quigley (Thailand 1976-79) wants to align the Peace Corps with our “national interests”

You might have read Kevin’s testimony at the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee week on October 6, 2011 (I know you think you have more important things to do, but still…..). In his public testimony, Kevin’s second recommendation is that the agency should “Align Country Selection More Closely with Long‐term National Interests”

In other words, what’s good for the State Department is good for the Peace Corps.

Interestingly, former senator and early architect of the Peace Corps, Harris Wofford, made the point in his Q & A with Senator Menendez at this same Hearing that when establishing the agency Secretary of State Dean Rush told President Kennedy that “the Peace Corps is not an instrument of foreign policy, because to make it so would rob it of its contribution to foreign policy.”

As for Kevin’s idea of getting Peace Corps PCVs into Muslim countries, Wofford also tells the story of how back in the early ’60s, Shriver, responding to an essay by George Sokolsky in the Saturday Reviewthat PCVs should know how to present “an ideal that will… make it possible for a person to look toward Washington as a Muslim does toward Mecca.”…by answering: “Our purpose is peace-not salesmanship….Their (PCVs) mission is not to convert, but to communicate.”

So, I’d suggest that we get away from all this talk of making the Peace Corps into something that it was never meant to be, and forget what NPCA President is telling a Congressional Hearing: “this portfolio (Peace Corps countries) needs to weigh more heavily strategic countries important to our long-term interest….”

No it doesn’t, Kevin. This is Peace Corps, remember…

You can read Quigley’s testimony, as well as the others, at:

 http://foreign.senate.gov/hearings/hearing/?id=ec9e2606-5056-a032-521a-e9b8791a03c6