Alan Dockterman served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in northeast Brazil from 1968 to 1970. He discusses his opposition to the Vietnam War as a primary motivation for joining the Peace Corps. He also talks about attrition during his group training in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Brazil. As a lawyer and an accountant, Dockterman was first placed with Fecompipe, a federation of mixed cooperatives in Vicencia in the state of Pernambuco. (The U.S. invested heavily in co-ops as a counter-communist measure during this time.) He discusses his frustration with feeling isolated in this small city and the lack of impact he had during this assignment. He talks about his much more positive social and professional experience working with a legal aid program in the city of Fortaleza in Seara state during the second year. Dockterman also reflects on the positive impact Peace Corps service had on his personal and professional life and the many returned volunteers who have gone on to work in USAID, the State Department, and other international organizations.
Interviewed and recorded by Evelyn Ganzglass, August 13, 2018, as part of the JFK Library’s Oral History Project.