Margaret Pratley at 81 is the oldest serving Peace Corps Volunteer in the world
At the end of her most recent tour in March, in which she spent two years training instructors to teach English in Thailand, Pratley was 81, the oldest on-the-ground Peace Corps volunteer in the world. “Margaret is amazing,” said Nathan Hale Sargent, the public affairs specialist at the Peace Corps San Francisco Regional Office. “I really love her philosophy of volunteerism. She sees it as a collaboration between people.” Pratley and Raleigh Ellisen were presented with the President’s Volunteer Service Award earlier this month for their years of work on behalf of their own and other communities across the globe. Both winners received the President’s Call to Service, the highest level of the award, which is given to volunteers with over 4,000 hours of service. The two awards are only the 5th and 6th service awards that the current Peace Corps director, Ron Tschetter, has given out during his 11-month tenure as director, said Josie Duckett, a spokesperson for the Peace Corps.
Pratley said she has participated in three volunteer tours overseas with the Peace Corps and many years of work with local groups such as the Sierra Club. Pratley, who graduated from UC Berkeley in 1949, said she is grateful to the Peace Corps for giving her the opportunity and the skills to volunteer. When the Peace Corps was first founded in 1961, she said she wanted to volunteer but was busy with a marriage and children. It was not until she was in her sixties, divorced and with her children grown that she made her first Peace Corps tour to Lesotho. She has also served in Sri Lanka. “I want to build bridges of understanding between cultures,” she said. “When people of different cultures meet each other, (there is) an understanding that our basic needs are universal.” Read more.
Read more about Older Volunteers.
Read more about Peace Corps Thailand.
Read more about Peace Corps Sri Lanka.
Read more about Peace Corps Lesotho.