To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans
— the Third Goal, Peace Corps Act
My Contribution to the “Third Goal”
I went to Botswana as a Peace Corps Volunteer in 1968 with a master’s degree in classical history – and I actually taught some history in the secondary school to which I was assigned. But I was also asked to teach English, and that became my passion and my main contribution to the young men and women of Botswana. When I returned to the United States in 1970, I enrolled in another MA course, English as a Second Language, at the University of Hawai’i, and then a PhD in Applied Linguistics at Edinburgh University in Scotland.
I didn’t begin “educating America” quite yet, though, as my wife (whom I had met and married in Botswana) and I spent several years traveling and teaching in other countries, including at the University of Khartoum, in Sudan, and Hiroshima University, in Japan. Finally, in 1985, we landed back in the U.S. and I spent the rest of my academic career teaching mainly American students at Iowa State University about communication with other cultures, particularly the testing of language use for specific academic, vocational, and professional purposes.
Last year, my 10th after retirement, I was the recipient of the Distinguished Achievement Award given by Cambridge University and the International Language Testing Association to “acknowledge distinguished service and/or scholarship in the field of Language Testing.” I’m still active in the field of applied linguistics and owe both my career and my contribution to educating America, to my Peace Corps service more than half a century ago.
Dan Douglas (Botswana 1968-70)
How did you fulfill the Third Goal in your life and career? Send me your story so we can show the way RPCVs have made a difference in the world. Thank you. — John