APRIL 10, 1961
PITTSBURGH—Although there is widespread interest at present in the newly projected Peace Corps, I hope something will be done soon to start that Junior Corps which was going to work on soil conservation and forestry in our own country. This is a very sorely needed project. I think it would also be a tremendous boon for the teenagers for whom it was envisioned, and I would like to see some reports on the progress of the idea.
While the Peace Corps slowly develops, a number of other programs are going forward. The two I know about are in the teaching area. One of them is a Harvard summer program for students to go to Tanganyika and teach English. It is designed to help those young Tanganyikans who are coming over here to study but often lose their first six months because they are not fluent enough in what might be called "American English" and the knowledge of American ways. The other project is being carried out by Teachers College of Columbia University. This was mentioned by Mr. Senteza Kajubi of Uganda, who was on the Prospects of Mankind TV show some weeks ago with me. Dr. R. Freeman Butts, the director of international studies of Teachers College, tells me they have had more than 500 applicants for the 150 positions that will be available, and the applications are still coming in at the rate of 20 to 25 a day. They have just begun to interview those candidates who sound promising.
Prof. Butts returned only a short time ago from East Africa, where he visited Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika and Zanzibar in connection with this plan. He was accompanied by two eminently qualified people—Prof. L. Gray Cowan, expert on African Affairs in the Dept. of Government of Columbia University, and Prof. David G. Scanlon, expert on African and International Education at Teachers College. They met people both in the cities and in the bush, from government officials and teachers to ordinary working people, and they arrived at carefully detailed arrangements for the training and service of American teachers in government schools and government-aided secondary schools of East Africa.
Nothing is viewed with more urgency than the filling of vacancies with qualified teachers. Those that go from here will be wholeheartedly welcome. They will teach in the secondary schools, receiving fellowships during their training period. They will get some credits for their work abroad, and when their orientation and training is complete they will be appointed as education officers for a two-year period of service by the territorial government to which they are assigned.
It is impressive to see that such carefully planned projects are now being worked out by individual groups throughout this country. It shows how much real spirit of adventure exists, particularly among young people in the United States today. They are excited at the thought of seeing new things and being of service, and I think it will be one of the ways in which we will grow up to a mature understanding of the world in which we live.
While I am on the subject of the young people who are going to Africa, I would like to mention a little story from the New York Times, entitled "Congolese Here Sad But Studious," which was sent to me recently. It seems that two Congolese studying at Princeton, sponsored by the Africa America Institute, were not hospitably or kindly received on a trip to Baltimore. My correspondent, deeply resenting such treatment, found that one of the students, Jean Luvwezo, was an artist who would have a one-man exhibition in New York at the Ligoa Duncan Galleries from April 15 to April 20, and he promptly offered to do the publicity for the show for nothing.
I hope he is very successful with the publicity, and I hope in some way his help will make up for the unkindness these young students met in our country in other places.