PEOPLE

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

© 2013 Liz Lynch
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 »
BUT HE’S NOT ADVOCATING FOR IT
Grassley Open to Lame Duck Hearings on Garland
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said Monday he'd now be willing to hold a hearing on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland in a lame-duck session of Congress. While he said he wouldn't push for it, he said if "Hillary Clinton wins the White House, and a majority of senators convinced him to do so," he would soften his previous opposition.

Source:
DEFINITELY MAYBE
Rubio Can’t Guarantee He’ll Serve a Full Term
2 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

We can call this the anti-Sherman-esque statement: If reelected, Marco Rubio ... might serve his whole term. Or he might not. The senator, who initially said he wouldn't run for a second term this year, now tells CNN that if reelected, he wouldn't necessarily serve all six years. “No one can make that commitment because you don’t know what the future is gonna hold in your life, personally or politically,” he said, before adding that he's prepared to make his Senate seat the last political office he ever holds.

Source:
DUTERTE BECAME PRESIDENT IN JUNE
Obama to Raise Multiple Issues in Meeting With Philippines Prez
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Since Rodrigo Duterte took over as president of the Philippines in June, he has made a serious of controversial statements and launched a war on drugs that has led to nearly 2000 deaths. He called the US ambassador to the Philippines, Philip Goldberg, "a gay son of a bitch." Next week, President Obama will meet with President Duterte at the East Asia Summit in Laos, where he " will raise concerns about some of the recent statements from the president of the Philippines," according to White House Deputy National Security advisor Ben Rhodes.

Source:
LATE SEPTEMBER
Conservatives Preparing ‘Dry Run’ for Constitutional Convention
3 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

The Convention of States Project, which seeks to force a constitutional convention under Article V of the Constitution, will hold a "dry run" in Colonial Williamsburg starting Sept. 21. "Several states have already followed the process in Article V to endorse the convention." Thirty-four are required to call an actual convention. "The dry run in Williamsburg is meant to show how one would work and focus on the changes and potential constitutional amendments that would be proposed."

Source:
GERMAN MINISTER SAYS U.S. WON’T COMPROMISE
U.S.-EU Trade Deal a Dead Letter for Now
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

Sigmar Gabriel, the German economic minister, said there's no chance of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership being agreed upon before the U.S. elections this fall. Gabriel said the United States "had effectively ended talks" on the free trade deal with the European Union "because Washington had not wanted to compromise with its European counterparts."

Source:
×