>> Saturday, January 31, 2009
Think Again: The Peace Corps
by Robert Strauss
The reason the Peace Corps is overlooked as a development organization has a lot to do with the youth and inexperience of the majority of its volunteers. Equally important is its unwillingness to decide if it is a development organization or an organization with a mission “to promote world peace and friendship,” as stipulated by Congress in the Peace Corps Act. It would like to be both, but finds itself falling short on both objectives because it cannot decide which is the more important.Last week I discovered this article in Foreign Policy written by a former Peace Corps Country Director. It's a somewhat critical view of Peace Corps and its effectiveness, and asserts that many widely held beliefs regarding Peace Corps are actually myths.
Paul and I feel a little conflicted because we agree with many of Strauss' arguments, but also don't want to think our time here has been frivolous. We will leave Nicaragua in less than six months, so at this stage in our service we're beginning to think about the mark we'll be leaving on our community. This might not have been the ideal time for us to stumble upon this article, but it's worth thinking about and I wanted to share it here.