Politicians, Poets and Peace Corps Volunteers

“If more politicians knew poetry, and more poets knew politics, I am convinced the world would be a better place to in which to live.” ~JFK 1956

August 28th 1961; President John F. Kennedy and Peace Corps Director Sargent Shriver meeting with Peace Corps Volunteers
August 28th 1961; President John F. Kennedy and Peace Corps Director Sargent Shriver meeting with Peace Corps Volunteers heading to Ghana and Tanganiyka. Photo courtesy of JFK Presidential Library & Museum

Though only a Senator in 1956, John F. Kennedy, running for President was not far from his mind. Perhaps this quote reflects on what he was thinking; easily and logically connecting to the creation of the Peace Corps, five years later.

We could paraphrase this quote  into the context of the Peace Corps and say the following: “If Politicians served in the Peace Corps and more Peace Corps alums knew about politics, ‘Peace Corps to Politics’ is convinced the world would be a better place in which to live”

How many times have you thought that if our politicians actually understood  both our global and local communities, problems could be solved! Though just because we served in the Peace Corps does not necessarily mean we are immediately successful in political leadership. We also have to learn about Politics. But we are convinced, Peace Corps alum have the skills to make the difference as elected political leaders and/or advocates for key issues such as Climate change, Human rights, poverty and immigration.

Thinking about running for office or advocating for a key issue? Reflect on things you learned as a PCV. Flexibility, patience and creativity helped a PCV succeed in making a difference in their adopted community. Back home, we need to do the same. Perhaps the US has overcome many of the issues found in our Peace Corps countries but there are still challenges that need to be addressed. The solutions for our  home challenges are not the same as they were for our Peace Corps communities but the experiences and skills we learned are necessary to find those solutions.

Be inspired by our current Political leaders, learn from their experiences but also know we can make a difference.

 

 

Post by Kristina J. Owens, (Peace Corps Bolivia 2000-2002)

Email: peacecorps2politics@gmail.com  

 

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