Carrie Hessler-Radelet for Peace Corps Director!

In the Peace Corps Director Sweepstakes, I’m casting my vote for the current Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet ( Western Samoa 1981-83). Carrie came to the agency as Deputy in June 2010, and she took over as Acting Director this fall when radeletAaron Williams returned to his old job. As Acting Director, Carrie is doing a great job. She is knowledgeable about what PCVs do overseas, she is well liked in the building and on the Hill, and she is already implementing an agenda for the betterment of PCVs and RPCVs. Unlike Congress, she is getting things done!

Carrie and her husband were both PCVs, leaving on their honeymoon for the Pacific and the Peace Corps. Carrie taught high school as a PCV and helped design a national public awareness campaign on disaster preparedness. Immediately after her tour she worked for Peace Corps Recruitment in Boston, then took her graduate degree and worked in global public health organization.

Prior to her confirmation as deputy director, she was the vice president and director of the Washington, D.C., office of John Snow, Inc. (JSI), a global public health organization, where she was responsible for overseeing the management of public health programs in more than 85 countries.

She has worked in the field of public health for the past two decades, specializing in HIV/AIDS and maternal and child health. She was actively involved in the establishment of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and was a primary author on PEPFAR’s first strategic plan. A Johns Hopkins Fellow with USAID in Indonesia, she assisted the Indonesian government in developing and implementing its first national AIDS strategy. The woman knows global health issues.

If there is anything like a ‘Peace Corps family’ it is Carrie’s family.  Her famous aunt Ginny was the 10,000th Peace Corps Volunteer and served in  Turkey from 1964-1966. Later Ginny was the CD in Thailand. Her grandmother served in Malaysia (1972-1973), and a nephew recently was a PCV in  Mozambique (2007-09).

What is important for the agency, I believe,  is some sort of consistency at the top of the administration. We have had Directors coming and going these last few years in D.C. There is more ETing among Peace Corps Directors than there is with PCVs.

What is also important for all of us is that Carrie is NOW focusing her attention and Peace Corps money and staff, to help RPCVs who have been long suffering due to illnesses and diseases contracted while serving overseas due to federal laws, lack of staff, and mismanagement within  the Labor Department. Carrie is trying to bring new laws into operation that will help past and future PCVs and RPCVs handle and treat their health issues. It is about time.

Finally we need a woman as Director of the agency because for the last decade or so more than 65% of all PCVs have been women. Lets help the Obama Administration with their ‘gender problem’ by selection Carrie Hessler-Radelet as the next Peace Corps Director.

White the White House. Tell them that Hessler-Radelet is your woman!


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  • Despite the fact that she in an RPCV, if you say she can work hard, maybe she will pan out. Bring about some needed changes and perhaps grow this “inconsequential Washington jewel box” into something of a player in town.

    But one can never underestimate the value of prior PC service in leadership or staff positions in Washington.

    Because RPCVs tend to be conservative when they hit PC headquarters—they get along with what has most always been a fairly reactionary–status quo–bureaucracy. Also, they simply don’t want to change the organization that means so much to them and to us.

    Tom Hebert, Nigeria 1962-64.

  • Being in the field as a Response Volunteer, I know having Director Carrie at the helm is an advantage to all of us…she is still a Volunteer at heart! She does not provide excuses, but takes charge and moves ahead. What we are missing is that Peace Corps needs a Director that represents the agency and is willing to stand firm. We have not had a female Director since 1995…too long and the majority of Volunteers are women…wake up Washington! And Peace Corps does need some political hack or contributor to be appointed…Mr. President we already have an outstanding Acting Director…stand up and appoint her Mr. President…for Peace Corps, the Volunteers, Staff, and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, and the country’s we serve! We need to make our voices heard on his appointment. RPCV’s Sam Farr and John Garamendi…stand with us!
    Bob Arias
    Peace Corps Response Volunteer/Colombia

  • I take FlacoBob’s corrected comment to be a resounding “Second!” for John’s nominating motion. In case another might prove useful, here’s my “Second!” as well.

    –Tino (Peru, 1963-65)

  • John Coyne:

    Do you know what high school Carrie Hessler-Radelet taught at, in Western Samoa, during her service as a PCV?

    I taught at the Teachers Training College, in Math, English, and some Science, during 1973-1974. If you see her, say: “Talofa” from Michael L. Driscoll Western Samoa/RPCV 1973-74
    Talofa: is the general greeting, in Samoan : – )

  • Carrie Hessler-Radelet has the combination of management experience and technical expertise in a the critically important area of public health. She weara her position well as Acting Director. I think she would be fabulous as Director. Could Peace Corps actually be lucky enough to get her?

    The only question I have is a cynical one. Would RPCV support help or hinder her chances?

  • Tino…were you a Volunteer with my brother Ron Arias, Peru 1963-65? Mike Beede was his site partner in Sicuani. We need to get RPCV’s behind Carrie’s appointment…thanks Tino!

  • Carrie is a pro-active and caring individual and is working hard to implement critical changes within Peace Corps to help those of us who have become sick or injured during or as a result of our service. She is actively working with our group, Health Justice for Peace Corps Volunteers to help us get the benefits we are entitled to but have often been unable to obtain. She would make a dynamic director!

  • Its hard to imagine someone better qualified to address the challenges that Peace Corps faces at this juncture. This includes a tenacious invisibility both in terms of public perception and budget.

    Carrie has solid management skills and a vision for Peace Corps. Given today’s Peace Corps’ needs, she’s ideal.

    Peace Corps needs to improve and grow!

    My vote goes to Carrie!


  • There are lots of RPCVs who can do a good job. The President of NPCA is good too. However, to stay innovative and open we may want to look outside our own RPCV community.

  • BOB: I worked in a children’s summer camp on the Pacific Coast near Arequipa. Maybe your brother served there, too. Otherwise, since I worked on Peru’s northern desert coast, I may not have met Ron.

    HDF: Sargent Shriver had, of course, never been an RPCV before he became the founding PC Director. He proved to be the best PC Director. Nowadays it would be hard to conceive of any non-RPCV who would understand what it takes to live and work as a PCV. Carrie’s not only an RPCV but is the third generation in her family to have served in the Peace Corps.


  • HDF,

    Please define “innovation”. Please define “open.” We should all be beyond tossing cliches around.

    If you mean improved administrative practices, that is already happening based on the 2010 Agency Assessment recommendations. If you are talking about programing in the developing world, then you must be specific. You have the obligation to show that you are not just suggesting that the people that we would serve should be guinea pigs for the latest fad – a “run it up on the flag pole and see if anyone salutes” mentality that is so trite it is not even used in “Mad Men.” Peace Corps is better than that.

    Peace Corps is already top heavy, in my opinion, with “people outside our own RPCV community”, The aforementioned 2010 Agency Assessment, as well as the FYR cite the preponderance of political appointees in decision-making positions. The Agency Assessment recommended that such appointees be given an “orientation” on the goals of the Peace Corps. OMG.

  • Carrie and I have worked together on a number of projects relating to Peace Corps outreach and the 50th anniversary. I am so impressed with her and her willingness to make things actually happen. She was an enthusiastic supporter of, for example, and was instrumental in getting it off the ground. She is creative, filled with great ideas and energy without affectation or being interested in taking credit. She is such a hard worker and cares so deeply for the Peace Corps from the ground up, not the other way around. She has gained great experience as Deputy Director and would make a superb Director–she won’t need a year to learn anything. Carrie should be Director period, her gender is just a plus.

  • I have known Carrie since 2000, worked for her from 2005-2008, and strongly support her candidacy to continue as Peace Corps Director. She is exceptionally smart, fair, valued and energetic. She has the Obama-like quality of seeing two sides of most issues, choosing to find value in each person and letting empathy trump judgments and competitiveness. Carrie has the background and persona to do this job and do it well. As a former PCV in Tonga and the HIV/AIDS specialist at HQ as well as a trainer in the Pacific, Peace Corps has been a part of my life at many junctures. I have seen Carrie remain committed to the Peace Corps with her work on the Board of the Association. She deserves this post and will perform well.

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