Archive - July 21, 2022

Peaceworkers in Action — RPCVs from UMBC (Tonga)

Peaceworkers in Action — RPCVs from UMBC (Tonga)

Peaceworkers in Action Published: Jul 13, 2022 By: Catalina Sofia Dansberger Duque     Michael Hassett and Chiara Collette first met each other in 2014 at the Los Angeles International Airport before boarding a 17-hour flight to the Kingdom of Tonga in the middle of the southwestern Pacific Ocean. Hassett applied to the Peace Corps hoping to be placed in Eastern Europe focusing on rural development. As a certified teacher, Collette didn’t have a specific country in mind. She was more interested in being able to teach. Both were placed in Tonga in teaching positions. Little did they know that this shared placement would permanently intertwine their personal and professional lives. In 2018, the couple got married and co-founded an internationally recognized nonprofit, Friends of Tonga—which earned a 2021 Literacy Award from the Library of Congress. Since then, Hassett and Collette have used their literacy educational tools and public policy skills gained at UMBC, and connections . . .

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