Both the critics and defenders of the Peace Corps judge the organization on its ability to change other nations' views of the United States, either by offering technical assistance or by making friends for the United States in the world. What is missing from these debates is a frank acknowledgment that the Peace Corps teaches Americans as much as it serves the world. The organization's greatest value may be in "bringing the world back home" through its more than 200,000 former volunteers.

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Copyright © 2011 Richmond Times Dispatch. This article first appeared in the Richmond Times Dispatch (2011), E1 & E6.

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