Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet met with the eight former agency directors, including HWS President Mark D. Gearan, at Peace Corps headquarters on Thursday, Feb. 5 for a day of reconnection and strategic planning.
“I was honored to join with past Peace Corps Directors at this important strategic session discussing the future of the Peace Corps,” says Gearan, who served as director of the Peace Corps from 1995-1999. “Peace Corps Volunteers continue to make a real impact across the globe and the current leadership is wisely preparing the agency for this century. Hobart and William Smith Colleges have a proud history with many of our graduates going into the Peace Corps and we have been recognized for this distinction. Our sessions at the national headquarters reminded me of the first Peace Corps Director Sargent Shriver’s reflection: ‘The Peace Corps is guilty of enthusiasm and a crusading spirit. But we’re not apologetic.’ It is clear to me that the Peace Corps enters this next phase of its history with a brilliant mission to make a real difference in the lives of people across the globe and a talented and committed leadership team to support the work of Peace Corps Volunteers.”
In addition to Gearan, former directors in attendance included: Nick Craw (1973-74); Richard Celeste (1979-81); Secretary Elaine Chao (1991-92); Carol Bellamy (1993-95); Mark Schneider (1999-01); Ronald Tschetter (2006-09); and Aaron Williams (2009-12).
“We want to share with you some of the current priority areas that we believe reflect our institutional commitment to creativity and innovation,” Hessler-Radelet said. “We also want to explore the leadership role the Peace Corps can play domestically and internationally as we move forward in this ever-changing and diverse, interdependent world.”
Bellamy was appointed by President Bill Clinton and was the first returned Peace Corps Volunteer to serve as Director, having completed her volunteer service in Guatemala from 1963-65.
“I think what is impressive about the Peace Corps is that the agency is really thinking about the future and looking forward,” Bellamy said. “I think it’s very important that Peace Corps as an agency is using the same innovative tools that volunteers in the field use.”
Williams, who served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic from 1967-70, oversaw the historic re-opening of Peace Corps programs in Colombia, Sierra Leone, and Indonesia.
“I think this is a historic moment,” said Williams, who served as Director from 2009 to 2012. “We all are committed and loyal to the Peace Corps. We all see our tenure as directors of the Peace Corps as being a very important part of our career and our contribution to America. So it’s just a wonderful day.”
Hobart and William Smith Colleges are a top producing school for the Peace Corps. Alums have been serving with the Peace Corps in a variety of capacities over the years and often return to campus to share their experiences with current students. Most recently, Shanelle France ’11 returned to campus to reflect on her service experience in Lesotho. As Peace Corps Volunteers, alums and several HWS faculty and staff members have dedicated themselves to serving with the organization in countries all across the globe.