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Has anyone tried the Peace Corps?
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woof



Joined: 09 Feb 2006
Posts: 17
Location: Indiana

PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 3:21 am    Post subject: Has anyone tried the Peace Corps? Reply with quote

http://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=learn.whyvol.eduben

I see they offer incentives for earning a Masters degree. Has anyone gone that route?
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tedkarma



Joined: 17 May 2004
Posts: 1595
Location: The World is my Oyster

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 3:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it is an exceptional program - the PC would not mess around with cr*p.

The Peace Corps can be a life changing experience, as many former PCV's will tell you. I spent two years in Botswana (89-91) and completely changed my career track - and haven't really lived back in the States full time since then.

Five countries and seventeen years later - still going strong (well, kind of . . . Rolling Eyes ).

Do it.
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wildchild



Joined: 14 Nov 2005
Posts: 519
Location: Puebla 2009 - 2010

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 4:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tedkarma,

I would be curious to hear more about your experience. I am sure that you have quite a few interesting stories to tell.

But I would like to know how you or anyone else would react to the following:

As the PC is funded by the federal govt., anyone who works for them is an agent of the American govt.
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tedkarma



Joined: 17 May 2004
Posts: 1595
Location: The World is my Oyster

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess I don't have a reaction to it.

I think the people who work with the Peace Corps in other countries know what their work is.

It would be like if I volunteered at a kindergarten on the border with Burma and they gave me free food and board - would I then be their "agent"?

Or if I worked for TEFL Int'l's Nike Volunteer program where they give them a small stipend and housing. Are those people agents for Nike?

Are people who volunteer with VSO in schools in Africa - British agents?

Maybe so . . .

Secret agent man - that's really what I was! Rolling Eyes
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karinb



Joined: 05 Feb 2006
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Woof- I am considering joining the peace corps a well, for both the experience and the educational benefits. Are you thinking of doing the masters international program or the fellowship? I would guess that the best way to gather information is to talk to some RPCVs who have been through the program. However, if you attend any of the information/ recruiting sessions they will be heavily biased, of course. Anyways, good luck!
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wildchild



Joined: 14 Nov 2005
Posts: 519
Location: Puebla 2009 - 2010

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 6:23 pm    Post subject: Is it about peace? Reply with quote

Woof,

I thought I might post some links which contain discussion of some "hot" issues concernig the Peace Corps.

Espionage and PeaceCorps:
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A00E6DB143BF936A25752C0A967948260&n=Top%2fReference%2fTimes%20Topics%2fSubjects%2fE%2fEspionage

Spy Allegations:
http://peacecorpsonline.org/messages/messages/467/2031862.html

Africa Spy allegations and PeaceCorps:
http://www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/pirao/peacecor.html

Military and PeaceCorps:
http://peacecorpsonline.org/messages/messages/2629/2034163.html

Political Expression and PeaceCorps:
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20030602/polakow-suransky
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Henry_Cowell



Joined: 27 May 2005
Posts: 3350
Location: Berkeley

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 6:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Is it about peace? Reply with quote

wilderson wrote:
Woof,

I thought I might post some links which contain discussion of some "hot" issues concernig the Peace Corps.

Um, did you read and analyze the texts at those so-called hot links? A couple of these links point to "discussions" and anecdotes from over 40 years ago and over 20 years ago. And they are speculation rather than factual reporting or evidence.

The texts at the other links make it clear that Peace Corps volunteers are quite independent of the U.S. government. The government doesn't like PCVs openly protesting U.S. policy when on assignment abroad, but that's about it. Nothing definite about the common notion of government "agent" as "spy," as you seem to imply. PCVs are indeed government employees because they are paid from federal funds, but they are not "agents" in the usual sense of that loaded term.
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wildchild



Joined: 14 Nov 2005
Posts: 519
Location: Puebla 2009 - 2010

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 7:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First,

A link to a discussion forum of returned peace corps volunteers(PCVs). This link centers on accusations of espionage:
http://peacecorpsonline.org/messages/messages/2629/2021704.html

Second,

Henry_Cowel,

thanks for your contribution. Smile

I may not be as quick a reader and analyzer as you (26 min. from my post to yours) but...it does not follow that if some or most PCVs are independant, then all are independant.

Henry_Cowel
Quote:
PCVs are indeed government employees because they are paid from federal funds, but they are not "agents" in the usual sense of that loaded term.


Preliminary reading and analyzing suggests that unless one is the President or a select member of congress, then one wouldn't know (you and me included):

From: http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/1997_rpt/s105_001.htm

Quote:

I. CIA USE OF JOURNALISTS, CLERGY AND PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEERS IN
INTELLIGENCE OPERATIONS

The Committee first raised this issue with the Director of
Central Intelligence during a public hearing on February 22,
1996 after discovering that a pending Council of Foreign
Relations Task Force report concerning Intelligence Community
reform had recommended that current policy prohibiting the use
of journalists, members of the clergy and Peace Corps
volunteers be reexamined. In the ensuring debate it was pointed
out that the Director of Central Intelligence has the authority
under current regulation to waive any prohibitions. That waiver
authority also applies to the clergy and, to a more limited
extent, Peace Corps volunteers.
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Henry_Cowell



Joined: 27 May 2005
Posts: 3350
Location: Berkeley

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"wilderson",

You seem to have a particular viewpoint that you want aired on this thread. What is it exactly? Do you have specific information about the Peace Corps that you want prospective volunteers to know? If so, what precisely is it? Everyone knows the history that you've pointed to. So what?
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wildchild



Joined: 14 Nov 2005
Posts: 519
Location: Puebla 2009 - 2010

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 8:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fair enough.

My "viewpoint" is that I would want to know if an organization that I am considering to join has a long history of accusations of international governmental espionage. PC is such an organization.
Preliminary reading and analyzing suggests that knowledge of "the history I've pointed to" is not innate Shocked Question
Therefore, I thought I might post some links Sad

"Henry_Cowel",

You seem to wish to dismiss or suppress a certain view point on this thread. Why is that, exactly (rhetorical question)?

I quit (for today, anyway).
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Henry_Cowell



Joined: 27 May 2005
Posts: 3350
Location: Berkeley

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The "accusations" are simply that. How many have been proven? The PC remains an honorable American government institution despite the dishonorable U.S. regime currently in power. Its volunteers have always been honorable and above the political fray. Individual volunteers have nearly universally been welcomed by the people they serve (and serve with) abroad. The Peace Corps continues to serve as one of the best representatives of the U.S. in countries in which it has volunteers.

A few anecdotes and rumored aberrations shouldn't disqualify the PC in potential volunteers' minds.
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tedkarma



Joined: 17 May 2004
Posts: 1595
Location: The World is my Oyster

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can find anything on the Inet - and accusations about anything and everything are everywhere. Conspiracy theorists abound in this world.

Given some time, I could find proof that frogs have wings - and give many weblinks to "prove" it. In fact, here are 6,000,000++ references to start with: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=frogs+with+wings

Unfortunately, we have moved far away from the original question.

Frankly, I found my time in the Peace Corps honorable, useful, life changing. I speak from personal experience - not links. Not second hand knowledge. Not theory.

I'll stand by my original comments for woof.
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tedkarma



Joined: 17 May 2004
Posts: 1595
Location: The World is my Oyster

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

karinb wrote:
However, if you attend any of the information/ recruiting sessions they will be heavily biased, of course. Anyways, good luck!


Now . . . it was back in 1989 mind you, but I found the recruiting, or informational sessions, pretty straight forward. I think the PC does tend to make it clear that conditions are difficult, possibly very primitive, and it is not appropriate for everyone. The bias part sometimes slips in because they will have returned volunteers there - who are/were enthusiastic about their experience. (uh . . . like me, I guess)

I always felt that the reason the PC had a long difficult and frustrating application process - is because they try to weed out people who can't handle frustration early in the process.

There is much more to consider than just the benefits package. It can be a very difficult couple years. Depending on the country, the percentage of people who drop out ranges from 15-50% (at least those were the numbers when I was in).

Add to all that your extra CIA and "secret agent" duties - and you can end up a very busy puppy! Laughing
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karinb



Joined: 05 Feb 2006
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have not actually attended any of the information sessions so that was a bad choice of words on my part as I'm not really qualified to say that they are biased. I just have a feeling that those who come to speak would be enthusiastic about the peace corps and the people who have had not such good experiences simply wouldn't be there. I personally don't know anyone who had an entirely negative experience, many of my parents friends some of my teachers have volunteered and none regret participating. I don't know anyone who has volunteered recently, probably cause I'm going to school in Canada, so I'm planning on going to an information session sometime when I'm back home.
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Badmotorfinger



Joined: 21 Mar 2006
Posts: 4
Location: Belgrade, Serbia

PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is an interesting, albeit random thread...
Bottom line, to get it out of the way, is that the Peace Corps is a great organization and institution, and a stint in the PC always looks great on resumes and is probably the best way to get launched into the international development/NGO biz.
Re: PC and intel. mixing... most of what you bring up is just conspiracy crap. I'm sure there have been a few exceptions, cases where intel officers/agents were under cover as PCVs, but those are exceptions, and very illegal ones at that.
The intelligence community as a whole has strict regulations against using the Peace Corps, Clergy, and (to a lesser extent) journalism as cover for its operations, for exactly the issue brought up here, they don't want PCVs & company to have their good work hampered by hysterical suspicions of espionnage. Has it happened? I'm sure it has, but if so, it was undoubtedly a case of mis-behavior from the intel community, not the PC. The PC has always been and is a legit and honorable arm of the US govt.

That being said... IF anyone does have any actual aspirations for a career in the intelligence business, DO NOT go into the PC. Doing so disqualifies you (at least officially) from employment in the intel community, for a good number of years.

Other than that, if someone is interested in the PC, I say go for it, I've never met anyone who has anything bad to say about their PC time.
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