April 14, 2000 - Washington Post Discussion: Peace Corps Representative C.D. Glin, Jr. served in South Africa and Talks about the Peace Corps

Peace Corps Online: Directory: South Africa: Peace Corps South Africa : The Peace Corps in South Africa: April 14, 2000 - Washington Post Discussion: Peace Corps Representative C.D. Glin, Jr. served in South Africa and Talks about the Peace Corps

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Peace Corps Representative C.D. Glin, Jr. served in South Africa and Talks about the Peace Corps

Peace Corps Representative C.D. Glin, Jr. served in South Africa and Talks about the Peace Corps

Peace Corps Representative C.D. Glin, Jr.

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Friday, April 14, 2000; 2 p.m. EDT

It's "the toughest job you'll ever love." Since the Peace Corps was founded in 1961, more than 155,000 Americans have volunteered in 134 countries for the official purpose of promoting understanding both by and of Americans and doing work in educational, environmental and business programs across the globe. Volunteers teach math, English and science, work with farmers, develop agriculture and nutrition programs and help create community infrastructures. Currently, 7,000 volunteers are stationed in 77 countries.

Peace Corps
C.D. Glin Jr. is a Peace Corps recruiter in the Mid Atlantic, representing and publicizing the organization at colleges, career fairs and conferences in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina. Glin was a school and community resource volunteer from 1997-99, with the first group to work in South Africa. In the northern province of the country, he helped teachers improve their professional skills and held workshops on teaching English as a second language, school and classroom management and material and resouce development. He also coordinated fund-raisers that established scholarships for high school students.

Glin joined "Free Media" to talk about his experiences as a Peace Corps volunteer, recruiting for the organization and how to join on Friday, April 14. The transcript follows:

Free Media: Good afternoon, C.D., and welcome. How long were you in South Africa with the Peace Corps? What do you do with the Peace Corps now?

C.D. Glin Jr., Peace Corps: I was in South Africa from Feb. 97 to June 99. I was a member of the first group of volunteers to live and work in South Africa -- so the Peace Corps gave me an opportunity to make history. I worked as a school and community resource volunteer, so I worked in the schools and as a resource foro the community. I was assigned to five schools (sort of like an educational adviser), and my job was to help the teachers in any way they needed. A large part of my responsibility was to help with the implementation of the first post-apartheid national curriculum. In the past, under apartheid, there had been been different education systems for the various races of people. With the election of Nelson Mandela, the curriculum became nationalized. The Peace Corps worked on the ground with the teachers in the formerly disadvantaged areas with disadvantaged people to help them compete on a global educational scale.

I'm a regional recruiter with the Peace Corps, so I represent the agency at colleges and universities. I talk with people about my experience and try to inspire them to make a similar contribution.

Abilene, Tex.: What is done to protect volunteers across the world? One volunteer was beaten last month in Estonia, and despite his warnings to the Peace Corps that his city was dangerous, nothing happened. Why?

C.D. Glin Jr., Peace Corps: I don't have any specific information about that incident.

But in the Peace Corps, for three months before you begin your assignment, you're a trainee. You officially swear in as a Peace Corps volunteer after you complete your training in the country of service. It's language training, cross-cultural training and technical training. There is also health and safety training -- they do talk to you and advise you on conduct yourself in your environment. But like any other city, place, and anywhere in the world, things are unpredictable, and some of those incidents do occur. They will to respond to the situation, and will move you to another location if necessary. That's not uncommon at all. In every country, there is a country director and staff that you would go to with complaints or concerns. Their job is to respond or resolve the situation. In the
worst-case scenario, they will move you. Every country has a medical unit and a medical provider. If there is a health problem that occurs that can't be treated locally, then the volunteers are moved either to another country or back to tbe U.S. for treatment.

Arlington, Va.: I did the Peace Corps for two years and since I didn't want to continue teaching, I found it difficult to attain employment for some time when I came back to the states. How does the Peace Corps deal with the reacclaimation process and with the fact that some employers might think of former Peace Corps volunteers as flight risks?

C.D. Glin Jr., Peace Corps: Regarding the readjustment process, there's a close of service conference. Three months prior to the end of your service, there is a conference that all the volunteers attend that provides you with information on reacclimating yourself to the United States both personally and professionally. Once you come back to the States, there's an office of returned volunteer services, and they provide career, educational and other assistance through their headquarters in D.C. Also, they publish a bimonthly job bulletin and career manuals to help facilitate career planning and career options for returned volunteers.

The Peace Corps has a fellowship program with a number of schools (25+) such as Columbia University, Johns Hopkins University, Loyola Marymount, etc., that give returned volunteers special consideration on admission, possibly a reduction on tuition and possibly a stipend.

Another option that I took advantage of was non competitive eligibility status for appointments to U.S. government Executive Branch agencies. Basically, you get a special look by these government agencies for employment opportunities. That's how I got my job. I also know people who work for the EPA, the Department of Agriculture and other government agencies as a result of their Peace Corps service.

Typically, employers, when they see a Peace Corps volunteer, they know it's someone who went to a country they'd probably never been to, learned a new language, worked for two years and started sustainable development projects. They made it happen in another country, they can make it happen here.

Washington, D.C.: So was it your "toughest job," and did you love it?

C.D. Glin Jr., Peace Corps: It was. It was really, really tough -- living in South Africa at a time of political transition -- for me, it was very socially challenging. The physical hardships were things that I could deal with. If people were living without running water, I could learn to do that. If people were living without electricity and reading by candlelight, I could do that. For me it was the disparity between the haves and have nots that was the hardest, because I could move between the two. It was hard because I would be in my village, where the vast majority of people did not have water or electricity, and travel three hours down the road to Johannesburg, which is a major city as developed as any other, and go to a Julia Roberts movie and eat at TGI Fridays or McDonald's. And you know that everybody who's there enjoying those things looked different from everybody in my village. Everybody at my village was black, and everybody who was at the movies with me was white.

New York, N.Y.: Sometimes I think I want a big change in my life -- career at times unsatisfying, want to do something else and change focus -- and I think about trying the Peace Corps. Do many people see the Peace Corps as a way of starting over and trying something new, and is that the wrong mindset to go in with?

C.D. Glin Jr., Peace Corps: There are people who use the Peace Corps as a career transition. I was totally interested in international relations and U.S. foreign policy. Went to the Peace Corps and worked in education and small business development, and now my focus is on economic development for the third world. It gives you the opportunity to refocus.

Free Media: More: Peace Corps works in five different areas: education, agriculture, business, enviornment and health and nutrition. Almost all the projects involve some kind of community service. Give you the opportunity to get overseas, probably with your strength, and when you get over there, you get a chance to let your creative juices flow. You get two years of international experience in an area you might not have focused on before, and you come back to the States with an expanded resume.

Washington, D.C.: Hi! I will be leaving in June for Malawi, Africa with Peace Corps and wondered what advice you could give me to prepare for my departure.

C.D. Glin Jr., Peace Corps: I was in Malawi last April. Get used to saying hello to every person you see, because Malawians are the friendliest people on the planet. Look up a friend of mine -- a woman named Antonne Moore, an excellent volunteer who's working at the HIV/AIDS section of a hospital. And don't swim in Lake Malawi. But definitely take pictures around it, because it's a beautiful lake. Don't swim in it, because the currents are crazy, but it's excellent for sunbathing.

Free Media: More: Also, make sure you travel all over southern Africa, because you're really close to a lot of different countries.

Cambridge, Mass.: In light of the WTO protest in Seattle last year and the impending World Bank/IMF protests in Washington this weekend, what is the Peace Corps' stance on globalization? In other words, is your approach to the economic development of "developing" nations substantially different from the tactics espoused by these global organizations?

C.D. Glin Jr., Peace Corps: First of all, Peace Corps is invited into these countries. All 77 countries that Peace Corps is currently working in have asked for Peace Corps' assistance in these five areas that I mentioned earlier. When volunteers are in countries, they don't do anything to people or for people -- everything is with the people. So the approach is to help people to help themselves -- to offer a different perspective on what they're looking for assistance in, to help them meet their own needs. Your work is not tied to U.S. foreign policy -- it's strictly what the communities see as their needs and your job is to help them meet their needs, strictly on a people-to-people exchange.

Washington, D.C.: What kinds of requirements must volunteers fulfill to become Peace Corps members?

C.D. Glin Jr., Peace Corps: Peace Corps is only competitive in this day and age because there is a limited number of positions and a huge applicant pool. Over 80 percent of people entering the Peace Corps have a college degree, but the minimum requirements are that you must be 18 years of age and be a U.S. citizens. You don't need an advanced degree. What have you done to demonstrate your interest in a field such as education, agriculture or health? Anybody with a B.A. or a B.S. in any discipline can all find a role to serve in the Peace Corps. A recruiter's job is really to be an advocate for potential members. It's the only job that you're ever going to apply for where we're going to tell you how to get the job.

For example -- education projects, agriculture projects and health and nutrition projects, have you done any education, have you done any tutoring or teaching? For agriculture, do you have any hands-on experience in gardening, in tree planting, in soil conservation? In terms of health, are you CPR certified, are you a certified lifeguard or worked at a Planned Parenthood or volunteered at a clinic or hospital?
We're looking at what you've done outside of the classroom and how you've demonstrated your interest in other fields. But I would say that no matter where you are in life, definitely look at Peace Corps, because there's an opportunity to make a difference somewhere in the world, and your life experience is of value to someone else, can offer somebody a different perspective. You're going to go through three months of training when you go to these countries -- we don't expect you to be an expert when you get off the plane. You're going to eat, drink and learn developmental history in those various fields. We want you to come with at least a foundational knowledge, and we're going to enhance that 100 fold.

Lilongwe, Malawi: Hello to you and to the soon-to-be Volunteer coming to Malawi!

One area that Peace Corps has worked on with somewhat mixed results has been increasing the diversity of its Volunteer population. As a recruiter, what can you say about Peace Corps' efforts and how do you think Peace Corps can better represent the diversity in America.

-Terry Murphree, Country Director PC/Malawi

C.D. Glin Jr., Peace Corps: It is a major priority to show a true depiction of America through its volunteers overseas. Peace Corps is currently working on a number of innovative ways to raise the awareness of the opportunities that Peace Corps provides to diverse populations of people. I work in recruitment, and I try to get return volunteers who might be Asian, Hispanic, African-American to present themselves as ad hoc recruiters for the agency. Sometimes, if people can't see themselves in the organization they won't be attracted to the organization. I was in a program in South Africa that was highly diverse in race, age and gender. I felt a personal responsibility to make sure that every group who
made it a personal mandate to increase the diversity of Peace Corps.

I think a lot of reasons why people of color don't look at Peace Corps is that they don't know about Peace Corps, and what they do know is that you go somewhere for two years, you're poor, you help people, and it's an adventure. They think, "I grew up in the States poor and helping people, and I don't need another adventure." But once they're exposed to all of the different benefits, both tangible and intangible, then I see light bulbs come on in their heads, and they think this is something that will help them not only in their career now, but later on their life.

It really has to be an agency-wide effort to really go to different populations of people in the States and tell them point-blank that we want more people like them in the Peace Corps. Until that happens, it's really going to be a struggle to present a true depiction of American diversity.

An example: I went to my community [in Africa], I introduce myself, and they ask, where's the American? "We want a real American." Within five minutes, I had made a difference in their lives forever just by letting them know that Americans aren't only white people. If I did nothing else in my two years, I let them know that America has people of all different shades and colors. If we send more volunteers of color overseas, we will be doing ourselves a service as well because we'll be showing what America is.

Fairfax, VA: When you got your final invitation for South Africa, how did you prepare yourself? What ideas came to your mind, how to make a difference?

Minneapolis, MN: What importance does Peace Corps place on the sustainability of the programs it develops?

C.D. Glin Jr., Peace Corps: When I got my assignment for South Africa, I was ecstatic.
I immediately started researching -- read a lot on the history of education in South Africa, because I wanted to be as prepared as possible. The Peace Corps also provided me with a lot of information on the type of project that I was going to be doing, so I got a lot of reading material as well.

As far as sustainability, when I did get my project for those first three months, for all the activities I involved myself in, I made sure there was a co-champion or a counterpart for every step of the way to make sure that if I wasn't there that the project would still go on and it would be sustainable. It's always someone who's tied to the community, who knows the community, is involved in community, in there for the long haul. You don't really do anything all on your own.

If anyone has any questions, you can call 1-800-424-8580, option #1, or go to our Web site:
The Web site is the best place to get the most information, and you can apply online now too.

Free Media: That was our last question Peace Corps representative and recruiter C.D. Glin Jr. Thanks to C.D., and to everyone who joined us.

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This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines;COS - South Africa; Recruitment; For Prospective Volunteers



By Prince Akinjayeju Henry Benedict (62-128-163-76.iwayafrica.com - on Saturday, February 28, 2004 - 8:07 pm: Edit Post

I enjoyed been a peace maker at any where in the world.

By Thomas Assibi Atiah ( on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 4:24 pm: Edit Post

I am a graduate from the University of Ghana and a great desire to participate in volunteer service in any part of the world.

By susie wadey ( on Monday, September 22, 2008 - 2:33 pm: Edit Post

susie in england would love to hear from terry murphree if he has time. please email me at sgwadey @aol.co.uk.thanks.sorry to try to contact you in this way but i thought it was worth a try as we have lost touch for many years now.really hope you get this message.

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