Jennifer Eidum, associate professor of English, published the article "Peace Corps Networks: Activating Volunteers for a Lifetime," in the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs.
Jennifer Eidum, associate professor of English, recently published the article “Peace Corps Networks: Activating Volunteers for a Lifetime,” in the Spring 2023 issue of the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs.
In the peer-reviewed article, Eidum argues that the Peace Corps plays an important role in sustainable development and soft diplomacy across the globe through its vast network of cross-national partnerships and personal relationships. Building upon her experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer, she details the training volunteers receive to meet the mission of the Peace Corps:
- To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
- To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
- To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.
Eidum argues that the grassroots, “people-investing-in-people” nature of the Peace Corps creates an agile network of reciprocal relationships that can respond both to acute crises and long-term challenges. That is, while the personal connections between volunteers and their communities can last beyond a volunteer’s service, the web of connections cultivated by Peace Corps service within communities has a long-term impact globally. She shares examples of the Peace Corps responding both to acute crises, such as earthquakes and pandemics (like Ebola and Covid), as well as longer challenges such as the Russia-Ukraine war, to advocate for ongoing investment in this important U.S. agency.
Eidum previously served as a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine and now directs Elon’s Peace Corps Prep Program, which prepares students for international service through mentoring, coursework and field experiences. Through the program, students develop four competencies: training and experience in a specific work sector, foreign language proficiency, intercultural competency, and professional leadership and development skills. The program includes all six Peace Corps service areas—Agriculture, Community Economic Development, Education, Environment, Health and Youth in Development.
The Georgetown Journal of International Affairs (GJIA) is the official publication of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. It is a peer-reviewed journal, edited by faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students of the Walsh school, that presents conversations accessible to readers with all levels of knowledge about foreign affairs and international politics. Articles often feature the perspectives and writing of top policymakers, business leaders, and academic luminaries.
Eidum, J.E. (2023). Peace Corps Networks: Activating Volunteers for a Lifetime. Georgetown Journal of International Affairs 24(1), 114-122. doi:10.1353/gia.2023.a897709.