'88 alumnus managing U.S. Peace Corps' global human capital program
November 11, 2015
Alan Price ’88 is settling into his new position as Associate Director of Management for the Peace Corps.
He manages a $28 million budget and is responsible for the agency’s worldwide human capital program, including recruitment and selection of U.S. direct hires, employee development and training, employee and labor relations, benefits and payroll.
“Working in a federal agency is very different than working in the private sector,” he says. “And Peace Corps has its own unique culture. We are highly mission driven as we promote world peace and friendship. When you realize that 60 percent of the staff at headquarters is made up of returned Peace Corps volunteers, you can imagine the passion and idealism of my colleagues.”
More than 230 Earlhamites have served in the Peace Corps, one of the distinctions that led to Earlham's high ranking by Washington Monthly in 2015 for contributions to the public good.
“Earlham and the Peace Corps share a vision of developing global citizens who are capable of great and ethical leadership,” he says. “Both institutions strive for justice in human relations and in governmental affairs.
“For its size, a tremendous number of Earlham graduates have served as Peace Corps volunteers. I’m not sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Earlham’s intense, small college experience combined with so many off-campus programs, gives us a slight advantage in adapting to the intensity of small village life in communities around the world.”
In addition, Earlham and the Peace Corps strive for consensus.
“There is a hierarchy and some decisions must be made in a short window of time, but the attempt is always made to include a broad array of stakeholders across the various departments, to listen and to try and build agreements that are smart and sustainable,” he says. “Earlham also helped open my eyes to the cross-cultural dimensions of consensus building. When diverse, global stakeholders have very different perspectives and assumptions, it can be tremendously challenging to forge a consensus. The ability to see the inherent worth and dignity within each person helps me stay patient. While others are quick to hear and focus on points of disagreement, I am often able to hear and focus on points of potential agreement. From there I can begin to find some creative solutions.”
Although Price says his appointment came as a bit of a surprise, it is a perfect job for him.
“Although I’m honored and thrilled to serve at Peace Corps, my goal was simply to serve the Obama Administration,” Price explains. “At the tail end of the application, vetting and political appointment process, the White House asked if I would be interested in the job of Associate Director of Management at Peace Corps.
“It was the perfect job at the perfect agency.”
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Earlham College, a national liberal arts college located in Richmond, Indiana, is a "College That Changes Lives." We expect our students to be fully present: to think rigorously, value directness and genuineness, and actively seek insights from differing perspectives. The values we practice at Earlham are rooted in centuries of Quaker tradition, but they also constitute the ideal toolkit for contemporary success. Earlham is one of only 40 national liberal arts colleges ranked among U.S. News and World Reports' "Great Schools at a Great Price."
Brian Zimmerman is director of media relations at Earlham College. He can be reached at (765) 983-1256 and firstname.lastname@example.org.