RPCVs in Akron, Ohio host movie by Alana DeJoseph (Mali) — A TOWERING TASK

NORVA hosts free screening  of Peace Corps documentary
Akron Beacon Journal


JFK meeting first groups of Peace Corp Volunteers

What does “global citizenship” really mean? Since 1961, more than 200,00 American volunteers have collaborated directly with everyday people around the globe in the name of peace. Follow their story in “A Towering Task,” an award-winning documentary on the history of the Peace Corps. The Northern Ohio Returned Volunteer Association presents a free screening at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 17, at the main branch of the Akron-Summit County Public Library, 60 S. High St., downtown Akron.

Narrated by Annette Benning, the film chronicles the political machinations that led to an entirely new government agency during the height of the Cold War. It shows how idealistic American volunteers, past and present, work side-by-side with host country nationals to transform U.S. global relations.



A Towering Task puts a human face on the Peace Corps and makes sense of its history of idealism, improvisation, politics, and at times its failings, “ says novelist Paul Theroux. “It is the most coherent and satisfying documentary I know of the Peace Corps, and I can’t imagine a better one.”

A short Q&A session with a multi-generational panel of returned Peace Corps volunteers will follow the film.

Admission is free, but registration is required at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/a-towering-task-a-northern-ohio-returned-peace-corps-volunteer-event-tickets-636785270887.

To learn more about the documentary, go to https://www.peacecorpsdocumentary.com/.


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  • Kennedy had high hopes for the Peace Corps.

    “His primary interest always was the world,” says [Harris] Wofford, who recalls that on the eve of Wofford’s 1962 departure for Africa, Kennedy told him: “You know this Peace Corps is going to be really serious when we have 100,000 volunteers a year. Because in one decade, we’ll have a million Americans who will have had first-hand experience in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Then at last, we’ll have an intelligent foreign policy because there will be a big constituency of people who understand the world.”


    • Thank you, Tino, for reminding us of what Kennedy told Harris back in 1962. As our Director, Harris was very involved with our lives in Ethiopia. I was fortunate enough to be an Ethie One in-country back then.

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