The elephant in the room about awards

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Speaking Out: January 23, 2005: Index: PCOL Exclusive: Speaking Out (1 of 5) : Archive of Stories: November 1, 2005: Headlines: Speaking Out: Awards: Humor: Peace Corps: Peace Corps establishes awards for top Peace Corps Volunteers : The elephant in the room about awards

By Anonymous ( on Tuesday, November 15, 2005 - 5:05 pm: Edit Post

Ok, admit it. You often had or have daydreams about winning a special Peace Corps award, where you are singularly (yes, singularly) recognized for your (yes, your) efforts. Why can't any of you admit it? It's not the most noble of thoughts, but it's something we have thought about or daydreamed about. So let's get on with it. I want to submit myself as a candidate for the first award. My project was written up on page one of the Sunday Washington Post upon my completion of duty (Keith Richburg wrote the article) and I'll stand by what I did, how I did it, and even the sustainability of development benefits as a result of my work.

By Peter Snow ( on Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - 1:30 pm: Edit Post

Oh ok, I'll admit it. I frequently daydream about a special Peace Corps award. But my award wouldn't go to volunteers - not even those who were written up on page one of the Washington Post. My special award would go to every member of every family in every community around the world who opened up their homes and shared their lives with green Americans. Let's hear it for the people who REALLY make the Peace Corps work: the community members who graciously accept us into their lives. It's not about us.
RPCV Panama 1993-1995

By mit ( - on Friday, November 18, 2005 - 4:50 pm: Edit Post

Hey, I like your input...but in reality, it is about those who come back and continue to spread the word concerning the need for Peace and how we achieve it...those in the communities where we served are not as likely to be in positions in their futures which will impact or influence the 'powers that be' towards bringing about a more just and peaceful world!

By Peter Snow ( on Sunday, November 20, 2005 - 2:46 pm: Edit Post

"Spreading the word concerning the need for peace and how WE achieve it" is one thing. Individuated awards, self-promotion, and other forms of egocentric behavior are something else entirely.

By Anonymous ( - on Thursday, February 09, 2006 - 8:10 pm: Edit Post

PC is about sharing and being part of a larger process. This "award" concept is very Western yet undermines my understanding of basic PC principles. Each person who chooses to participate contributes; moreover it is one event where success is truly a GROUP, COLLABORATIVE, COOPERATIVE effort and success is an evolving PROCESS. PC is not possible without each party building bridges, listening & learning. Let's try to minimize politicizing PC, let's simply work toward upholding & practicing the basic principles. Do we really need that "validation" via an award -- NO.

Rebut to MiT: Actually with time, each of us has the ability to positively impact. Former students can become country Finance Directors. And regardless of "status" broadening horizons is considered by many a positive event.
RPCV Vanuatu 94 - 97 J Desmond

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