Interview with Jerry Leach, November 22, 2021
Project: Peace Corps: The Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Oral History Project
Interview SummaryDr. Jerry Leach served 1989-1993 as Peace Corps Regional Director for the Middle East, Asia, and Pacific. He shares how Colin Powell helped him get the job, and outlines the Regional Director role. Starting his new position four days before the Berlin Wall fell, he and the Peace Corps plunged into an intense four years, opening 17 new country programs in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, China, and Vanuatu. Jerry outlines the steps in starting programs, and gives many examples ranging from Hungary to Mongolia. He reports how the general public, Congress, Peace Corps staff, and the RPCV community reacted to this unprecedented expansion. He describes challenges the Peace Corps faced where it already had programs, including evacuating volunteers from the Philippines and the Middle East, both in 1991. He reflects on this period’s significance for the Peace Corps and him personally. This is the second of two interviews with Jerry Leach. The first was conducted on November 1, 2021 accession number: 2021oh0962_pcrv0444.
Interview KeywordPeace Corps (U. S.) Peace Corps (U.S.)—History Peace Corps (U.S.)—Management 1989-1993 (Dates of service) Colin Powell (Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1989-1993) Regional Director Country Director Peace Corps 1980-1989 Peace Corps 1990-1999 Berlin Wall Soviet Union Breakup State Department White House Country Start-up Process Poland Hungary Paul Coverdell (Director, Peace Corps 1989-1991) Evacuation of Peace Corps Volunteers Romania Russia Moscow (Capital of Russia Samara (Russian city located at confluence of Volga and Samara rivers) Vladivostok (Eastern Russia port and cultural center) Korean Peninsula Lake Baikal Ukraine Moldova Turkistan Uzbekistan Belarus Mongolia James Baker (Secretary of State, 1989-1992, and White House Chief of Staff, 1992-1993) Philippines New People’s Army Balkans: Slovenia Bosnia-Herzegovina Croatia Serbia Kosovo Albania, Montenegro Indonesia Laos Kyrgyzstan George Herbert Walker Bush (41st U.S. President) Armenia Capitol Hill Peace Corps Education Programs Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL)
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Interview UsageInterviews may only be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Interviews may only be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.
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Leach, Jerry Interview by Carl K. Cheney. 22 Nov. 2021. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
Leach, J. (2021, November 22). Interview by C. K. Cheney. Peace Corps: The Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.
Leach, Jerry, interview by Carl K. Cheney. November 22, 2021, Peace Corps: The Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.
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