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A Great Connection

Clinton Etheridge’s “What is Africa to Me?” in the January 2012 Bulletin is a remarkable example of the transformative power of the Peace Corps experience combined with a Swarthmore education.

In Clinton’s family pilgrimage back to the Gambia that he served in 40 years ago, he rediscovers, despite what Thomas Wolfe writes, you can always go home again if you are at home in the world, as the Peace Corps experience teaches you to be.

Clinton eloquently describes the ineluctable bonds connecting volunteers with others who at first seemed so different. Through the Peace Corps, strangers become family. Students you teach become leaders in their society, crediting you with changing their worldview and creating unprecedented opportunities. The life lessons Clinton learned four decades ago as a Peace Corps volunteer are timeless and universal: People are more alike than they are different, judge people as individuals, and respect Islam.

As a Swarthmore and Peace Corps alumnus, I salute Clinton for conveying so poignantly the power of the Peace Corps experience. I hope that many more Swarthmore alumni will experience something similar.

Kevin Quigley ’74
Arlington, Va.
President, National Peace Corps Assn.

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