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Past Webcasts - August 21, 2007

Research Forum

Past Webcasts Home

VT Cast #2: VolunTourism & The U.S. Peace Corps


The U.S. Peace Corps has had a presence in addressing some of the humanitarian and development challenges throughout the world. Is it possible for Former Volunteers to play a role in establishing meaningful VolunTourism initiatives around the world?

In this episode, guests discuss the opportunities and obstacles to this approach as well as some of the lessons that have been learned by Former Peace Corps Volunteers that can be passed along to VolunTourists.

[Listen To The Cast] (Click Here To Download)


Jill Andrews & Jason Rothbard, Former Peace Corps Recruiters, and David Aabo, Susan Dittman, and Adam Jones, Former Peace Corps Volunteers


"Be that kind of professional stranger in a way and respect where the other people are coming from and do your best to contribute in whatever way possible." David Aabo

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"I looked for three things - a desire to serve, a non-judgmental attitude, and flexibility, and you had to have those things all rolled into one. And it’s hard to screen people for those kind of characteristics. But if you have those personality traits you have much more chance of having a successful service." Jill Andrews


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"Thinking about the sustainability of activities… We took this group down to work with a church. I was sent an email by a regional director of the church and he said: “Are you going to be doing an activity that this church could be doing for itself?” And I think this is one thing that people need to look at. Are we doing jobs that are taking the place of what somebody else could do? Are we interjecting ourselves into a spot where we don’t really need to be and we’re causing sort of a sense of hopelessness and helplessness in the people there? So this is something that probably the organizations need to look at the most, maybe the individuals signing up for a project can’t really know this… just make sure that we’re not doing something that the people really should be doing for themselves and we’re not just out there doing something to make ourselves feel good." Susan Dittman

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Photo Courtesy Of Tibetan Village Project, All Rights Reserved

"Your service doesn’t start on July 1st if that’s when your trip leaves, it starts in March or it starts in June or wherever it does. And your job, if you will, is to learn as much as you can so you can be as most of service as possible. So that’s what I have learned in educating about going to places ahead of time is to help shift that paradigm. It’s not an on and off game. Service is a way of being. And when you commit to making a decision to serve, whether that in a “voluntour” or if you are going to be going into the Peace Corps, you really are looking at who you are and then how you can be of service. And that might then mean you do a lot of research in the library or that might then mean you go to an indigenous community in America and spend time with – I mean, who knows what it could be – but it’s shifting that paradigm around service." Adam Jones

[Listen To This Quote]

"For example, I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the very brand new country of Eritrea. I was a volunteer from ’95 – ’97. Eritrea had just become a country in ’93. It had won a thirty-year war against Ethiopia for independence. Now understanding that the people that we were working with had just been on a war-footing for thirty years - the children, the young adults knew nothing other than war. They were now appreciating freedoms, but they really didn’t know what it was like to be a part of this global world or this global environment that we now live in. They were unaccustomed to news; they didn’t know what was going on elsewhere in the world. So I think that really appreciating the people that you are going to work with or serve is absolutely essential, so you can really tailor your message, tailor your approach, to them." Jason Rothbard

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