The Legacy of Dr. Robert Textor (DC staff)
This was originally posted on Peace Corps Worldwide on February 2, 2014. Dr. Textor believed that RPCVs should ultimately be the ones staffing Peace Corps administration. Perhaps in this time of proposing improvement to Peace Corps, it would be good to revisit his ideas.
This is a good time to remember how very much Robert Textor contributed to the Peace Corps. He was one of the original Peace Corps staffers. He believed passionately in the Volunteer and just as importantly, the RPCV. Textor was the author of the “In, Up, and Out” policy or as it is more commonly known, “the five year rule.” But, he insisted that tenure should be eight years, not five. He envisioned a Peace Corps agency staffed 90% by RPCVs, arguing that the cross-cultural experience of the Volunteer was transformative and should be incorporated into every function of the Peace Corps agency. In the months before his passing, he was still fighting for that vision. When the Office of the Inspector General reviewed the impact of the Five Year Rule, in 2012, the evaluator, an RPCV(!), interviewed Dr. Textor. Dr. Textor wrote an essay elaborating on the development of the “In, Up, and Out Policy.”
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Dr. Textor also very involved with early training. He joined with Thailand I, whom he had helped train, as well as University of Michigan to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Peace Corps.
Dr. Textor edited the classic, “Cultural Frontiers of the Peace Corps.” It was published in 1966 and contained professional case studies of pioneer Peace Corps programs in the Philippines; Malaya; Thailand; Afghanistan; Somalia; Tanganyika; Nigeria; Sierra Leone; Tunisia; Jamaica; Peru; and Bolivia. His concluding chapter examined the culture of the Peace Corps agency, itself. In honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps, Dr. Textor made this book available, without cost.
Many of us, who did not know Dr. Textor in person, were privileged to communicate with him by phone and email as he discussed his philosophy and experiences, and urged us to pursue our dreams for the Peace Corps. Dr. Textor’s work as reflected in his publications is so valuable. But his greatest legacy may be that he always believed in us, the Volunteers.
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