Carrie Hessler-Radelet: Making a Difference: Peace Corps in the 21st Century

Photograph of a young woman speaking with locals

photo / provided

International Studies in Planning Spring 2013

Carrie Hessler-Radelet is acting director of the Peace Corps. Previously, Hessler-Radelet served as deputy director of the Peace Corps from June 2010 until her appointment as acting director in 2012. Early in her career, she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Western Samoa from 1981 to 1983 — with her husband Steve Radelet — where she taught high school and helped design a national public awareness campaign on disaster preparedness. Upon completing service abroad, she served as a public affairs specialist in the Peace Corps/New England recruiting office (1984–86). 

Hessler-Radelet worked in the field of public health for two decades before returning to the Peace Corps in 2010, specializing in HIV/AIDS and maternal and child health. Prior to her Senate confirmation as deputy director, Hessler-Radelet was vice president and director of the Washington, DC, office of John Snow Inc., a global public health organization, where she oversaw the management of public health programs in more than 85 countries. She was actively involved in the establishment of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and was a primary author on PEPFAR's first strategic plan. Hessler-Radelet was also a Johns Hopkins Fellow with USAID in Indonesia, where she assisted the Indonesian government in developing and implementing its first national AIDS strategy. 

Hessler-Radelet served as a board member of the National Peace Corps Association and on the steering committee for the U.S. Coalition for Child Survival. She was founder of the Special Olympics in Gambia. Hessler-Radelet holds a master of public health in health policy and management from the Harvard School of Public Health and a bachelor of arts in political science from Boston University.

Cosponsored by International Programs at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Cornell Institute of Public Affairs