The Peace Corps in a Smaller World

Thanks to Kevin Lowther (Sierra Leone 1963-65) who later went onto work in Washington, D.C. and with C. Payne Lucas wrote Keeping Kennedy’s Promise: The Peace Corps, Unmet Hope of the New Frontier, (a book that beat-up, in some ways, the agency) for giving me a heads-up on an essay produced for the Center For Global Development (I know, I never heard of them either) that was penned by Charles Kenny and entitled: “The Peace Corps in a Smaller World: A New Model for the Next 50 Years.” Don’t you just love essays about the Peace Corps written by people who never were PCVs?


Charles is a is a senior fellow at the Center. His current work covers the demand side of development, the role of technology in quality of life improvements, and governance and anticorruption in aid. He is also a contributing editor at Foreign Policy magazine and a Schwartz Fellow at the New America Foundation. Charles has worked at the World Bank in years past. So far, he has a lot of sins to answer for.

His essay says (more or less) that the demand from developing countries for Volunteers outstrips the Peace Corps’ capacity to respond. Also, he  argues that the agency operates on a model designed for a very different world, and an evolutionary change in that model from a government-operated program to a grant-making system closer to the Fulbright scholarships could result in a higher effectiveness in meeting the Peace Corps’ fundamental goals over its next fifty years of life.

Tonight, with a glass of chardonnay firmly in hand, I’ll read the 15 pages or so and see what the lad has to say. Meanwhile, you can jump to the head of the class by going to the Center for Global Development and check out the site and Kenny’s essay.

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