Archive - January 14, 2019

Afghanistan, First Peace Corps Staff

Afghanistan, First Peace Corps Staff

Robert Steiner, the only Vermonter at the time to direct a Peace Corps program overseas, insists that “Afghans are like Vermonters—both are proud, independent and frugal.” He notes that they are generally wary of foreigners, including, sometimes, Peace Corps Volunteers. “Afghanistan has only recently known foreigners other than invading armies,” he points out. “Experience has taught them to be wary—to see a foreigner in their country for other than military purposes is to many of them a novelty.” Information about the Peace Corps was first brought to Afghanistan by Cleo Shook, a Peace Corps program officer with extensive experience in that nation. On a two-month visit which began in December, 1961, Shook was told that Afghanistan wanted Volunteers. Afghan caution, however, resulted in a limited program—the nine Volunteers who arrived in Afghanistan on September 6, 1962, to inaugurate the program were all assigned to work in the capital city of . . .

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