Gregory Thompson

While studying at CIE, Greg also worked as the manager of two USIA-funded projects at CIE called Teacher-Text-Technology projects – one in Somalia and one in Tanzania.   


After leaving CIE, Greg worked for more than a decade with United Airlines, and subsequently as Director of Sales Training for School Specialty, Inc. in 2009 Greg started a new career with Peace Corps.


I applied to the Peace Corps to serve as the Director of Programming & Training in any country that would have me.  Who would have guessed that the hiring official was Margaret McLaughlin whom I had worked with in a CIE-sponsored Peace Corps training program for Tanzania.  Anyway, she facilitated my hiring to the Kyrgyz Republic, the only "stan" that has a penchant for democracy, and considerably more open than the others. 


So from 2009-2011, I worked with local staff to primarily upgrade experiential training and site development skills.  This former Soviet Republic was not my idea of what Peace Corps had been in the 70's and 80's, but the Second World offered new and different opportunities for development.  At its height during my stay, Peace Corps had 140 Volunteers in education, health and business development sectors. 


Needless to say, during my first year, while I was walking home one day from the office to the center of Bishkek where I lived, I encountered blasts, gunfire, and rampant arson.  After arriving home to find my wife Asa huddling in the safe room, we were soon whisked away by the Embassy to Manas airbase.  Indeed a revolution had broken out and the new government was in place the next day. Soon all 140 Volunteers and trainees arrived at the airbase. 


My task was to provide training to these guys during our 3-week stay, so I mobilized Volunteer trainers to take on the task.  You can ask current Center Member Patrick Thoendel about this since he was there helping me to train.  He was the one find I was able to recruit to UMass.


After our release, nothing returned to normal and again in two months, ethnic violence broke out in the South placing 18 Volunteers at risk.  After working with local militia to get them out of harm’s way, we again retired to Manas for another three-weeks. 


Despite all of this Peace Corps survived in KG.  Today a new democratic government (wannabe) is in place; and there is more optimism. 


Since leaving Peace Corps in 2014 I returned to the US and have worked for several firms as a senior instructional designer. I am now working for a training consulting firm here in Chicago which is keeping me very busy. 


I am happy to say that CIE prepared me to manage all this, and it remains one of my best experiences. [10-23]





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CIE Graduate