32 years after serving as a Volunteer, Peace Corps Director returns to Samoa

By Peace Corps
June 15, 2015

Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet returned to Samoa in June 2015, 32 years after serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer on the island.

"Like so many Peace Corps Volunteers, my service changed my life," she said. "It was here in Samoa that I found my passion for service and international development, and it was here that my career in public health was born. I can see so many positive changes to this island I called home."

An emotional moment came when Director Hessler-Radelet reunited with her Samoan host mother, Losa, whom she calls "the mother of my career."

Carrie reunites with Losa
"Reunited with my host mother, Losa, after all these years! Her warm smile is still contagious."
Carrie with Losa
"Losa is the mother of my career. My passion for public health was born in this fale."

Along with her husband, Steve, Director Hessler-Radelet taught secondary school English as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Samoa from 1981-83.

Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet with her husband, Steve Radelet, during their Volunteer service in Samoa.
Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet with her husband, Steve Radelet, during their Volunteer service in Samoa.
Dressed for the welcome ceremony
"Dressed in my puletasi for the 'Ava Ceremony, a traditional welcome ceremony in Samoa."
Reunited with a former student in Samoa
"Look who I found! My former student, Tamali'i, now a teacher at Paul VI College where I taught as a Volunteer."

While in Samoa, Director Hessler-Radelet joined Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme (SPREP) David Sheppard to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the two organizations.

"Under President Obama’s leadership, the United States is committed to supporting Climate-Resilient International Development, and at the Peace Corps, we are prepared to do our part," Director Hessler-Radelet said at the signing ceremony. "Together we will seek viable solutions; together we will build communities more resilient to the devastating impact of climate change."

Director Hessler-Radelet at the MOU signing ceremony
Director Hessler-Radelet at the MOU signing ceremony
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