Smithsonian Folklife Festival Peace Corps Event OnLine


The Peace Corps at 60 and Beyond
 A Towering Task Screening & Discussion



When: Thursday, March 4, 7–8 p.m. ET
Where: Streaming online
Accessibility: ASL interpretation, real-time captioning available


The Smithsonian Folklife Festival began in 1967, not long after the Peace Corps, with many similar goals—especially to promote a greater understanding and appreciation of world cultures. In 2011, the Folklife Festival commemorated the agency’s fiftieth anniversary with a program that featured Peace Corps volunteers and their partners from sixteen countries.

In 2021, the Festival once more explores the agency’s significance and impact through a panel discussion and a screening of the 2019 documentary film A Towering Task: The Story of the Peace Corps. Join us on March 4 at 7 p.m. ET for the discussion with Peace Corps acting director Carol Spahn, Rayna Green, Rahama Wright, and the film’s director, Alana DeJoseph, all Returned Peace Corps Volunteers.

We offer two ways you can watch the film
  • Register on Eventbrite to receive a link to watch at your convenience between Monday, March 1, at 5 p.m. ET through Thursday, March 4, at 11:59 p.m. ET.
  • Join our watch party on Facebook immediately before the panel, 5–6:45 p.m. on March 4.

The film screening will feature closed captioning. ASL interpretation and live real-time captioning will be provided for the discussion.

About the Participants

From 1992 to 1994, Peace Corps Volunteer Alana DeJoseph was an enterprise development advisor in a small town in Mali, West Africa. Being a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, she understood that as walls are being built and nations are turning inward, while at the same time global problems like climate change and pandemics are demanding global solutions, a comprehensive documentary of this internationally engaged American agency was urgently needed.

Prior to her retirement in 2014, Rayna Green was senior curator and director of the American Indian Program at the National Museum of American History. With a PhD in folklore and American studies from Indiana University, she served on university faculties, in public service institutions, and on nonprofit boards prior to her thirty-five years at the Smithsonian. From 1964 to 1966, she volunteered with the Peace Corps in Ethiopia.

As the acting director of the Peace Corps, Carol Spahn brings more than twenty-five years of public and private sector experience, and has worked in countries around the world on issues ranging from small business development to infectious disease prevention and women’s empowerment. Most recently, she served as the Peace Corps chief of operations in the Africa Region covering Eastern and Southern Africa. Her Peace Corps roots extend back to her service as a volunteer from 1994 to 1996 in Romania.

Rahama Wright is a political scientist and social entrepreneur who works at the intersection of policy and economic development. After serving in the Peace Corps in Mali from 2002 to 2004, she launched Shea Yeleen, a social impact company that creates living wage jobs for women in Ghana through the creation of shea butter-based body care products. During the Obama administration, she was appointed to the Presidential Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa and is currently serving her third term on the council.


This event is co-sponsored by the National Peace Corps Association and the Museum of the Peace Corps Experience. On March 3, the museum opens Peace Corps at 60: Inside the Volunteer Experience, an exhibition at American University Museum celebrating the sixtieth anniversary.

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