What? The Peace Corps is in Bed With Mondelez International. But is it Really Oral Sex?

The Peace Corps is now ‘in bed’ with Mondelez International (aka Kraft Foods). This American multinational confectionery, food and beverage conglomerate, you know, junk food like Oreo, Chips Ahoy, Trident, Chiclets, (oh, dear, all my favorites) that has 100,000 employees around the world.

In a short piece yesterday on this blog, Acting Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said, “this type of partnership represents the future of the Peace Corps: working in partnership with other organizations.” 

Her remarks caused something of a minor reaction from RPCVs readers of our site and Carrie has been kind enough to respond to a few of my questions which I will post in the coming weeks.


Doing a tiny bit of research I found that the Mondelēz name came from a Kraft Foods employees at the time, Monde being French for world and delez an alternative to delicious.

However, Kraft Foods forgot to ask any of those ‘old fashioned’ Russian RPCVs’ what the word ‘Mondedlez’ really means.

According to reporter Kate MacArthur of Crain’s Chicago Businessthe word pronunciation, as expressed by Kraft in a press release, is   “mohn-dah-LEEZ” which can sound similar to a Russian term used for oral sex.

“There is a rather vulgar word, ‘manda.’ [Mondelez] includes the sound of that word,” Irwin Weil, professor of Russian language, literature and music at Northwestern University, told MacArthur who went onto write,  “the second half of the name roughly translates into the sex act, say Russian speakers.” Actually, oral sex!

The  Huffington Post went onto confirm with a native Russian speaker that the phonetic description provided in the release refers to oral sex performed on a woman. The Russian speaker described the term as “really dirty.”  He added that while it’s an old term not used frequently anymore, it would be understood by people in many countries of the former Soviet Union, not just in Russia.

Talk about cross culture misunderstanding!

I just want to know one thing: Who’s on top? The Peace Corps or Mondelez International?


Leave a comment
  • I am afraid that the Peace Corps “Brand” will be used to encourage
    “impulse buying” of Oreos among kids in the developing world.

    OMG, what if Mishelle is right!

  • Ok, we were dubious about claims of no CIA presence in the Peace Corps early years. Maybe more than dubious, as there were more than a few unexplainable things in our years in Ethiopia.
    But this is a clown show: Kraft Foods and the Peace Corps? Perfect Together?
    CIA presence, as I can understand, was preferable to any presence of anything smacking of corporate America, which, to me, is the enemy of everything the Peace Corps ever claimed it stood for.
    This is beyond my comprehension. Loosely quoting Robert Welch, in the Army McCarthy hearing way back in my childhood: Finally, sir, is there no decency.
    Peace Corps and Corporate America is an abomination. Does PC have to sell out to keep itself alive?

  • In previous comment on the Peace Corps working with international business I said it offered some good possibilties. I forgot the knee-jerk animosity many RPCVs have against corportate America. I am an RPCV who has spent his life promoting, assisting, and actually working in international business and yes, I have actually run foreign subsidities.

  • Leo,

    I will be very serious, as sometimes I evidently get my anatomical metaphors mixed up when replying to you. I think I am writing “tongue in cheek”, and you are reading “knee jerk.”

    The concern is not corporate America. The concern is the relationship between a US government funded agency, the Peace Corps, that recruits and supports private citizens to do “public good” and deploying them to work with a private, profit-making corporation.

    The most important question is: Mondelez is paying Peace Corps some $160,000; what is the private corporation getting for that money?

  • Why is the Peace Corps, a federal agency , accepting a puny $160,000 from a corporation. Go for the big bucks. However, I would think the PC would be trying to increase its budget allocation from Congress.

    I guess you can chew gum (Trident,Chichlets) and be an effective agency at the same time.

  • Joanne. My comment was a reaction to what Don said not your comment, e.g “…corporate America…enemy of everything the Peace Corps ever claimed it stood for,” and “Peace Corps and corporate America is an abomination.” And I do not think Don is alone among RPCVs in holding these views.

  • I do not hate American corporations. They have a right to be overseas. But this is an almost unprecedented blurring of government agencies with private enterprise. What next? Blackwater Marine Corps Inc.? H&R Block presents the IRS? The Goldman-Sachs SEC? The Kraft Piece (of-Cheese) Corps? The Koch Brothers House of Representatives? Oops – that last one is already a reality.

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