PEOPLE

Nominee for Peace Corps Director Carries on a Family Tradition of Volunteer Service

© 2013 Liz Lynch
Christopher Snow Hopkins
Add to Briefcase
Christopher Snow Hopkins
Aug. 8, 2013, 3:30 p.m.

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 »
WILL TEST THE NORTH’S STANDDOWN
Joint U.S., South Korea War Games Set to Begin
49 minutes ago
THE LATEST

"A new cycle of escalation on the Korean Peninsula looks set to begin this week when the U.S. and South Korea kick off annual military exercises that have a history of enraging Pyongyang." The long-planned drills, set to last ten days, "will test whether North Korea’s apparent easing of its immediate threat to Guam proves durable—or if the de-escalation was really a backdown at all."

Source:
SAYS TRUMP JUST ATTACKING REPUBLICANS
Former Top Aide to McConnell Says GOPers Should Abandon Trump
3 days ago
THE LATEST
“YOU CAN’T CHANGE HISTORY, BUT YOU CAN LEARN FROM IT”
Trump Defends Confederate Statues in Tweetstorm
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE
CEOS HAVE BEEN FLEEING FOR THE EXITS
Trump to End Business Councils
4 days ago
THE LATEST
FROM STATEMENT
McConnell: “No Good Neo-Nazis”
4 days ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login