Hillary Clinton’s Peace Corps Bid

Travel Blog  •  Julia Ross  •  02.09.09 | 1:57 PM ET

Hillary Clinton embarks on her first foreign trip as Secretary of State next Sunday, breaking with tradition by visiting Asia rather than Europe or the Middle East. The Japanese are thrilled that they’re first on the itinerary, and the Chinese are eager to talk climate change, but it’s her stop in Jakarta that’s got me interested. The State Department confirms Clinton wants to discuss reestablishing the Peace Corps program in Indonesia, which shut down in the 1960s after only two years in operation. If Indonesia supports the idea, the move would certainly bolster President Obama’s strategy to improve U.S. relations with the Muslim world and would open another valuable avenue for person-to-person exchange. 

Clinton’s stop in Beijing will likely get the lion’s share of media attention next week, but I’ll be watching the Jakarta coverage to see if she scores a small victory for public diplomacy.

Julia Ross is a Washington, DC-based writer and frequent contributor to World Hum. She has lived in China and Taiwan, where she was a Fulbright scholar and Mandarin student. Her writing has appeared in the Washington Post, Time, Christian Science Monitor, Plenty and other publications. Her essay, Six Degrees of Vietnam, was shortlisted for "The Best American Travel Writing 2009."

3 Comments for Hillary Clinton’s Peace Corps Bid

Debi Mahan 02.09.09 | 9:44 PM ET

I’m very excited about the poss. of Peace Corp moving into Indonesia…These wonderful people need so much help.  They work so hard to get by, but its impossible to improve yourself and your family.  I’m an American citizen, living in Jakarta, Indonesia for 9 months./..I volunteer teaching English to the poorest of the poor and street children. At present time I’m trying to get money donated to renavate the school.  These people would be so grateful to the Peace Corp.  Please do this…I love these people and so would the whole USA if they could experience their kindness and hard work.  I’ll pray daily for this move….Debi Mahan

David Comp 02.10.09 | 1:00 AM ET

This is excellent news for the Peace Corps and for Indonesian-U.S. relations.  Reestablishing the Peace Corps program in Indonesia is one of many steps the United States needs to take in order to connect with the world.

Ling 02.10.09 | 10:14 AM ET

She’s going to China because that’s the only thing she has left. There’s special envoys been appointed for everything else. As for Jakarta, I’d say one phone call from President Obama would be a lot more efficient than a personal visit from Hillary. I mean, he went to school there.

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