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A Towering Task: The Story of the Peace Corps

Director - Alana DeJoseph
Run Time - 107 minutes
Language - English
Format - Digital
Year - 2019
Genre - Documentary

Educational Interests- Africa, American Studies, Anthropology, Cold War Era, Cultural Studies, Education, Globalization, History (US), History (World), New Releases, Political Science

Institutional DVD Price: $295

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In 1961, President John F. Kennedy gave young Americans the opportunity to serve their country in a new way by forming the Peace Corps. Since then, more than 200,000 of them have traveled to more than 60 countries to carry out the organization's mission of international cooperation. Nearly 60 years later, Americans-young and old alike-still want to serve their country and understand their place in the world; current volunteers work at the forefront of some of the most pressing issues facing the global community.

Yet the agency has struggled to remain relevant amid sociopolitical change. More than once it had to fight for its very existence, and now-between a rise in nationalist sentiment and deep cuts to governmental-agency budgets-the Peace Corps is again confronting a crisis of identity: What role should it play around the world and in the lives of engaged citizens?

Narrated by Annette Benning, A Towering Task tells the story of the Peace Corps and takes viewers on a journey of what it means to be a global citizen.

"By thoughtfully telling the story of the Peace Corps' past and present, and then taking a look at its future, we want to equip the American public to redefine what it means for America to join the world community - not as a wager of war, but as a peacemaker and problem solver." -Director Alana DeJoseph

"A Towering Task puts a human face on the Peace Corps - and makes sense of its history of idealism, improvisation, politics, and at times its failings. It is the most coherent and satisfying documentary I know of the Peace Corps, and I can't imagine a better one. For its truth and its scope, its arc is complete - from the germ of an idea to help the world, spoken late at night by JFK on his presidential campaign, to its execution later, an Act signed into law and carried out - thousands of young women and men leaving for remote places, to teach, to advise, to inspire - and to be inspired themselves by their work. The film is enlightening, too, for being in large part the portrait of a period when America was outward looking and uncynical and generous. It is impossible to imagine any politician - anyone at all - saying that today. But this film shows the roots of such idealism, which is why it is so enlightening and uplifting." - Paul Theroux, Travel Writer & Novelist

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