Archive - December 2, 2009

1
The Peace Corps: A Wacky and Dangerous Idea
2
What The President Said About the Peace Corps
3
What Did Those Opinion Makers Think Of The Peace Corps?

The Peace Corps: A Wacky and Dangerous Idea

In 1960 not everyone thought the Peace Corps was a great idea. Many people (and some of them good people) thought it was a wacky and dangerous idea. Former President Eisenhower declared it a “juvenile experiment,” and Richard Nixon said it was another form of “draft evasion.” The Daughters of the American Revolution warned of a “yearly drain” of “brains and brawn…for the benefit of backward, underdeveloped countries.” In those first few years of the agency, we didn’t know if the Daughters of the American Revolution and the other critics of the Peace Corps might not be right. Our joining up with Kennedy’s new venture might mean a stain on our careers for the rest of our lives. And yes, it was a dangerous idea, but not in the way the Daughters thought. The Peace Corps changed us. It made us aware of the world in ways we never would have been if . . .

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What The President Said About the Peace Corps

“In the end, our security and leadership does not come solely from the strength of our arms. It derives from our people – from the workers and businesses who will rebuild our economy; from the entrepreneurs and researchers who will pioneer new industries; from the teachers that will educate our children, and the service of those who work in our communities at home; from the diplomats and Peace Corps volunteers who spread hope abroad; and from the men and women in uniform who are part of an unbroken line of sacrifice that has made government of the people, by the people, and for the people a reality on this Earth.”

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What Did Those Opinion Makers Think Of The Peace Corps?

I have had a few emails asking about my comment yesterday when I wrote, “By hiring these journalists and novelists, for short term assignments, they then became advocates, fans, constituents, and supporters of the Peace Corps as Shriver told Charlie, “Get the opinion makers on your side!”  What did those ‘opinion makers’  think and say about the Peace Corps? Here a few comments about the beginnings of the agency that I pulled from old files I have on the first year of the Peace Corps. “As a contribution to the solution of the world’s problems, it is still a tiny effort, but to dismiss it as just another form of public relations would be wide of the mark.” —London Times “Here is a movement whose express purpose is to overcome the disastrous barriers that have hitherto segregated the affluent Western minority of the human race from the majority of their fellow men and . . .

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