Peace Corps and Afghanistan Now
(Winter 2009 - Volume 22, No. 4) By Angene Wilson
This brief lesson supplement will facilitate students’ discussion about the war in Afghanistan and the role of US national service organizations.
Article in the Winter 2009 WorldView Magazine:
As background the teacher should read the brief WorldView Magazine (Winter 2009) article by Tom Katus entitled “High Risk, High Gain, Can Crisis Corps Play a Role in Countries in Conflict?” One way to show what Peace Corps accomplished earlier in Afghanistan would be to show excerpts from Dirt Road Documentaries’ “Once in Afghanistan,” a 70 minute documentary in which Peace Corps volunteer women talk about their experiences on teams with Afghan men vaccinating women and children against smallpox in 1969.
Put on the board the following quotation from Wendy Chamberlin, former ambassador to Pakistan and then in charge of Asia and the Near East for the United States Agency for International Development, found in Ron Suskind’s The Way of the World, 2008.
I find myself thinking more and more about the Peace Corps. The U.S. government hasn’t really created a program that reached people, really reached them, since. We sent our best and brightest to villages around the world. They got the worms, they ate the weird food. It wasn’t a program measured properly in the number of irrigation canals that were dug. No, it was an idea, an idea that reached the people of the world. It was simply that we, who have been given so much, care about you.
Here are some questions to throw out to students when discussing the war in Afghanistan:
- Should Peace Corps – and it still exists — be part of the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan?
- If Peace Corps and the Marine Corps are both national services (and some people have served in both), what are the differences? What is core mission of each? Why might both be needed in Afghanistan now?
- What did Peace Corps do in Afghanistan in the 1960s and 1970s?