Many newlyweds celebrate their nuptials by snorkeling in the Virgin Islands or skiing in the Alps. Two weeks after getting married, Carrie Hessler-Radelet and her husband, Steve Radelet, were shipped off to a Polynesian island thousands of miles from the mainland. He had never been on a plane before.
Then a 25-year-old Peace Corps volunteer, Hessler-Radelet taught at a girl’s Catholic school in Western Samoa and lived in a thatched hut with her host parents and their eight children. Now 56, the acting director of the Peace Corps has said that accompanying her host mother, who was pregnant at the time, to monthly appointments at a nearby clinic was a transformative experience.
“Seeing what it’s like to be a woman in a [patriarchal] society, where you have virtually no ability to make decisions related to your home health care “¦ really galvanized my interest in public health,” she told a local newspaper in Geneva, N.Y., last November.
Last month, President Obama nominated Hessler-Radelet to be permanent director of the Peace Corps. Since arriving at the agency three years ago, she has helped radically remake the Peace Corps as its deputy director.
“There has never been a time in the history of the agency, apart from its first five years, when there has been so much innovation and change in such a short period of time,” Hessler-Radelet said in a recent interview with National Journal Daily. “We are “¦ utilizing technology like never before and providing in-depth technical training to all of our volunteers.”
The Peace Corps is in Hessler-Radelet’s DNA. Her grandparents, aunt, and nephew have all served as volunteers, and Hessler-Radelet’s commitment to the agency “has been instrumental in recruiting and training thousands of Peace Corps volunteers,” Obama said in a statement with her nomination.
A native of Frankfort, Mich., Hessler-Radelet received a bachelor’s degree from Boston University and worked briefly for a time-share condominium company before “my grandmother called me and said, ‘I need to talk to you,’ ” she told the New York newspaper. “She took me out to coffee and said, ‘What are you going to do with your one life?’ The implication was selling time-share condominiums was not sufficient.”
Hessler-Radelet signed up for the Peace Corps and persuaded her then-boyfriend to do the same. Upon returning from Western Samoa, she served as a public-affairs manager at the Peace Corps regional office in Boston and later established the Special Olympics in Gambia.
From 1994 to 1995, Hessler-Radelet was a U.S. Agency for International Development-sponsored HIV/AIDS adviser in Indonesia, where she helped set up the country’s first national strategy to combat the disease. Before returning to the Peace Corps in 2010, she was the vice president of John Snow Inc., a public-health consultancy.
Hessler-Radelet holds a master’s degree in health policy and management from Harvard University. She has two grown children and lives in Falls Church, Va.
What We're Following See More »
"Centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right politician Marine Le Pen led the first round of voting in France’s presidential election, according to early projections, as voters redrew the political map, placing the European Union at the center of a new political divide. Projections by the Kantar-Sofres polling firm showed Mr. Macron on track to win the first round with about 24% of the vote, ahead of Ms. Le Pen with nearly 22%." The vote marks the end of the country's dominance by conservative and socialist parties. The top vote-getters head to a runoff on May 7.
President Trump will deliver the keynote address for at the National Holocaust Museum's National Day of Remembrance ceremony on Tuesday. He'll speak from the Capitol Rotunda. The move is likely an effort to try to mend fences with Jewish groups. In January, "the White House ignited controversy when it didn't mention Jews or anti-Semitism in a statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day." And certain members of his inner circle are still suspected of harboring white supremacist or anti-Semitic views."
"President Trump and his top aides applied new pressure Sunday on lawmakers to include money for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border in a must-pass government funding bill, raising the possibility of a federal government shutdown this week. In a pair of tweets, Trump attacked Democrats for opposing the wall and insisted that Mexico would pay for it “at a later date,” despite his repeated campaign promises not including that qualifier. And top administration officials appeared on Sunday morning news shows to press for wall funding, including White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, who said Trump might refuse to sign a spending bill that does not include any."
A Russian government think tank run by Putin loyalists "developed a plan to swing the 2016 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump and undermine voters’ faith in the American electoral system." Two confidential documents from the Putin-backed Institute for Strategic Studies, obtained by U.S. intelligence, provide "the framework and rationale for what U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded was an intensive effort by Russia to interfere with the Nov. 8 election."
"The FBI last year used a dossier of allegations of Russian ties to Donald Trump's campaign as part of the justification" to monitor Carter Page, who was then a defense adviser to the Trump campaign. "The dossier has also been cited by FBI Director James Comey in some of his briefings to members of Congress in recent weeks."