Dr. Robert Textor’s CD Selection Criteria


Joanne Roll (Colombia 1963-65) who blogs on the site at: Peace Corps: Public Records was kind enough to send me this email after we learned of the death of Dr. Textor. I thought you might like to see it. As you may know Robert, in the fall of 1961, then a graduate student consultant at the Peace Corps, wrote the original memo “In, Up & Out,” for his boss, Franklin Williams, who gave the memo to Shriver and it, almost overnight, became Peace Corps policy.

Robert Textor
photo: Don Messerschmidt

In that memo is this passage on the selection criteria for Peace Corps Representatives, i.e. Country Directors. It is, I think, generally agreed that the position of the CD is the most important one in the Peace Corps. Here’s what Bob thought.

The candidate . . . should be the opposite of ethnocentric. He should start out with a genuine humility toward other peoples’ way of life.

 It should be an article of conviction with him that he has much to learn from the culture of the host country. He should be prepared, at a level deeply within his psychological make-up, to learn as well as to teach . . .. The candidate should have a deep realization that the value judgment is a dangerous weapon and that the local culture must be carefully and sensitively learned first, before one has earned the right to prescribe change.

Well said, Bob!


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  • What? No room for a woman CD?

    New Subject: Has anyone had experience with the Peace Corps Response program? I have a friend, a newly retired college history professor (RPCV India 1966-68) who wants to serve again but not for a full term. Is Response a good thing? Is there room for someone with his career background? I would appreciate hearing from anyone who can provide some information.

  • To David Searles:
    David, I am a Response Volunteer now serving in Colombia as a Disaster Relief Specialist…I came up from beautiful Paraguay where I was working with the mayor of a small community along the Rio Paraguay to increase tourist trade and environmental activities for youth. Before Paraguay I Volunteered for a Response program in Panama…working with four Ag Co-Ops, one had me marketing oysters which I am not fond of. I am retired from Los Angeles County, was a Volunteer in Colombia when I was younger. Had a tour as a CD in Argentina and Uruguay when I retired, the next day in fact. In 2009 I felt the need to go back…the motto of Response is: “Once in a lifetime can happen more than once!” What I enjoyed, was the friendly and professional conduct of Peace Corps Response staff in DC and in the field. I had only planned to be away six months…but it has been almost four years, and I love every day. All of your questions will be answered…your friend can find the assignment best suited for him or her. Professionals with the appropriate skills and never a Volunteer can now join. I have some material to share if your friend is interested…Coyne can put your friend in touch with me. Also, go to Google and type: Bob Arias, Peace Corps/Response..This is a Peace Corps video about my work in Panama. Stay in touch…and check out the website: http://www.peacecorps.gov/response
    Oh, I complete my Colombia assignment in Feb, and have applied to be considered as a Response Volunteer in Mozambique as the Agriculture Marketing Specialist. Wish me luck…I had not mentioned this to Coyne as yet! Bob

  • Wow. Textor’s description of selection criteria for the position of CD also matches what should be expected of a prospective Volunteer, as well as being a statement of Textor’s own creed.

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