Peace Corps cre­ates strong in­ter­na­tional bonds

The Morning Call - - TOWN SQUARE - Robert Bauer Beth­le­hem

In 1961, Pres­i­dent Kennedy is­sued an ex­ec­u­tive or­der es­tab­lish­ing the Peace Corps. Since then the or­ga­ni­za­tion has sent over 230,000 vol­un­teers to 139 coun­tries, cre­at­ing in­ter­na­tional bonds and as­sist­ing in de­vel­op­ment ef­forts world­wide.

Vol­un­teers func­tion as good neigh­bors in their host coun­try. I was among the first vol­un­teers for­tu­nate enough to serve in Latin Amer­ica.

As most vol­un­teers will tell you, I learned much more in my host coun­try than I con­trib­uted. I learned to love its peo­ple, who were kind and wel­com­ing. I learned to love the Latin Amer­i­can cul­ture with its rich tra­di­tions, beau­ti­ful land­scapes, good food and mu­sic. I was treated with re­spect and kind­ness at all times. The ex­pe­ri­ence changed my life for the bet­ter, and I will never for­get it.

Pres­i­dent Trump’s ex­ec­u­tive orders show no in­ter­est in es­tab­lish­ing good re­la­tion­ships with other coun­tries. He is ob­sessed with build­ing walls, re­duc­ing for­eign aid and iso­lat­ing our own coun­try from the rest of the world. It is sad that he will never re­al­ize all that Latin Amer­ica and the rest of the world have to of­fer.

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