Haskell Sears Ward is a living advertisement for America's commitment to the Peace Corps. As a young man from poverty in Griffin, Georgia, he came to UCLA for training in 1963 then went to Ethiopia as a Peace Corps teacher. Now a business executive who has advised presidents, he recently concluded an agreement to bring broadband Internet access to Ethiopians. Every official he dealt with in the East African country, Ward said, had their life touched in some way by a Peace Corps volunteer from the United States.
Ward credits American Peace Corps teachers with transforming Ethiopia, where he has returned numerous times. The experiences brought home by Peace Corps volunteers also have opened up America to the world, he said.
Ward, a senior vice president SEACOM Corporation, is a former official of the Ford Foundation and served as deputy assistant secretary of state. He also was deputy mayor of New York City. He received his graduate degree in African Studies from UCLA after returning from the Peace Corps.
Ward returned to UCLA March 2 for a celebration of the Peace Corps' 50th anniversary with other prominent volunteers, including MSNBC host Chris Matthews. He met at UCLA with journalist Maria Shriver, the daughter of the first Peace Corps director, Robert Sargent Shriver.
Ward discussed his life, his experiences in Africa and the legacy of the Peace Corps in the UCLA Broadcast Studio the following day. He was interviewed by Kevin Roderick, director of the UCLA Newsroom.