Marblehead Resident Heading to Africa With Peace Corps
John Sullivan, Marblehead High School Class of 2013, is headed to Western Africa to serve as a volunteer with the Peace Corps in the health-related arena. In 2020, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the agency suspended its global operations and evacuated nearly 7,000 volunteers from more than 60 countries. Now, as part of the first crop of volunteers to head back into international service, Sullivan–a Clemson University graduate with a degree in mechanical engineering–is headed to Togo.
“I am looking forward to total culture immersion in my journey,” said Sullivan. “I also love the idea of being part of an organization that shows the world that there are kind and empathetic Americans.”
According to Peace Corps CEO Carol Spahn, those “returning to Togo will work alongside community members to support urgent development efforts and build critical connections.” The volunteer cohorts are made up of both first-time volunteers and volunteers who were evacuated in early 2020. Upon finishing a three-month training program, volunteers will collaborate with their host communities on locally prioritized projects in one of the Peace Corps’ six sectors–agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health, or youth in development–and all will engage in COVID-19 response and recovery work.
“The world is at a critical juncture,” shared Spahn. “The largest global vaccination effort in history is underway while other widespread health, social, political, and environmental issues continue to erode the foundation of our global society. Actions taken in the next few years have the potential to fundamentally impact development trajectories for decades to come.”
At the request of some 40 countries’ governments, the Peace Corps is currently recruiting volunteers to connect through the Peace Corps’ grassroots approach across communities and cultures. It is through this unique service experience, according to the agency, that members of the Peace Corps network develop transferable skills and hone intercultural competencies that position them to be the next generation of global leaders.
Sullivan will be joining the ranks of more than 240,000 Americans who have served in 142 countries since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961. Those interested in learning more about the agency may visit peacecorps.gov.