Highlights from commemorative marker ceremony noting history with the Peace Corps

More than 150 guests and VIPs gathered Saturday in Brattleboro, Vermont, to dedicate a historic marker commemorating the SIT campus as one of the first sites to train outbound Peace Corps volunteers. The event was a celebration of the shared history of SIT, World Learning, The Experiment in International Living, and the Peace Corps. Here are a few of the many highlights from the event.

To read the full coverage of the event, click Shared history of SIT, World Learning, and Peace Corps focus of events. To watch the commemorative marker dedication, click here.

“Today offers a profound moment to reflect on the shared history and values among these institutions and to honor the bold visionaries who dreamed our institutions into existence: Dr. Donald Watt, President John F. Kennedy, Gordon Boyce, and Sargent Shriver.

What our founders may not have envisioned is just how deep the bonds would be between volunteers or students and their hosts and how those bonds would live a lifetime. Or just how powerful a network has been created based on those shared values and experiences.”

Carol Spahn, CEO, Peace Corps

“Our programs amplify the voices and agency of all people, from myriad backgrounds, countries, cultures, and experiences. We, like the Peace Corps, are committed to making a better world for future generations.”

Carol Jenkins, CEO, World Learning

“Collectively, World Learning, School for International Training, and the Peace Corps have inspired tens of thousands of people to go beyond their personal, geographic, and intellectual comfort zones to live, work, and learn alongside communities around the globe. Together they have impacted the world and been transformed themselves.”

Dr. Sophia Howlett, President, School for International Training

“It’s my great pleasure to extend my thanks and the thanks of everyone in my family for the extraordinary generations of work that have been done by the Experiment in International Living, the Peace Corps, and World Learning. No alliance of organizations or people have done more to break down the walls of misunderstanding and fear that have divided culture from culture, religion from religion, country from country, people from people, and furthermore no group of organizations or teams of individuals have done more to stay the course in these days of increased division and polarization.”

Timothy Shriver, son of Sargent Shriver, in a written letter

“The best antidote for cynicism is making a personal decision that cynicism is for the other side. That’s for other people. I’m embracing hope.

“I was sitting here on this beautiful Vermont hillside, and I was looking out at this view … and all those hills, and there’s a next set of hills, and then there’s a next set of hills. And what’s that beyond all those hills? It’s Niger. It’s Cameroon. It’s the Maldives. It is the world out there that is waiting for the people who graduate. And SIT had a wonderful graduation earlier today.

“I understand the vital role that institutions play in allowing individuals to do the extraordinarily important work that is being done right from here in this small, tiny, powerful international location here in the hills of Vermont.”

Peter Welch, U.S. Representative for Vermont’s at-large congressional district

“World Learning continues its leadership in experiential, cross-cultural, and intercultural training around the world and right here in Brattleboro. Recently in partnership with ECDC, SIT welcomed nearly 100 Afghan refugees here to the campus, bringing together faculty, alumni, and neighbors to offer language, cultural orientation, and friendship in a program that is quickly becoming a national model.

“This historic marker is a tangible reminder of the outside role that Vermont plays on the world stage. Senator Leahy remains committed to the enduring legacy of the partnership begun here in Brattleboro.”

Katherine Long, Casework Manager, Office of U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy

“Organizations with big hearts — like those represented today — are very good at planting trees that they rarely get to see fully grown or sit in the shade of. Today, as we gather here to enjoy that shade and the view of how the seeds of peace and hope have grown, I also challenge us all to be bold visionaries, to set out audacious goals, in the spirit of our founders, and to take charge.

“I am so grateful to be among this crowd of people who care, people who have committed their lives to world peace, understanding, and friendship, who have issued ‘passports to understanding’ in powerful ways, and who are willing to try things that may have been deemed unimaginable.”

Carol Spahn, CEO, Peace Corps

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