2016 Keynote Speaker
Carrie Hessler-Radelet is Director of the Peace Corps as of June 2014. She was initially appointed deputy director of the Peace Corps on June 23, 2010. She is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Western Samoa, 1981–83) with more than two decades of experience in public health focused on HIV/AIDS and maternal and child health.
Since 2010, Hessler-Radelet has spearheaded a comprehensive agency assessment and
reform effort to improve efficiency across the organization—the first such endeavor since its founding in 1961. As deputy director, she led the roll-out of the Focus In/Train Up initiative, which provides targeted technical training to Volunteers to increase their capacity-building abilities. In her concurrent role as chief operating officer, she ensured the agency was a vigilant steward of government resources and taxpayer dollars.
During her tenure, Hessler-Radelet has led the implementation of new policies and
processes to improve the health and safety of Volunteers, including the requirements
codified in the 2011 Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act and policies
and programs aimed at reducing the risk of sexual assault and violent crime. She was
instrumental in instituting the new Office of Global Health and HIV and the Global
Health Service Partnership as well as led an effort to overhaul Volunteer recruiting and engage more Volunteers in post-service public education activities.
Prior to her confirmation as deputy director, Hessler-Radelet was vice president and director of the Washington, D.C., office of John Snow Inc., a global public-health organization, where she oversaw the management of public-health programs in more than 85 countries.
Hessler-Radelet was actively involved in the establishment of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and was a primary author of PEPFAR’s first strategic plan. She was also founder of the Special Olympics in The Gambia in 1986, which is still active there.
Hessler-Radelet holds a master’s degree in health policy and management from the Harvard School of Public Health and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Boston University.
Hessler-Radelet also served as acting Director of the agency from September 2012 to June 2013.