(Training pics are full size; some more recent pictures -- with a bluish outline -- can be clicked to enlarge)


Jim Wright
McLean, VA
1967 Training Biography

James Otis Wright, Jr.
After graduating from the University of Michigan in economics, J i m did substitute teaching in a junior high school for a school term. Besides traveling through most of Europe, he worked in a German automobile factory for two months. With a view to a career in international business and banking, he served as an international trainee in a Detroit bank for a time. Jim enjoys sailing, canoeing, gardening, tennis, football, and soccer. He is 23.

More Recent

click photo to enlarge

Son,Wife, Me Rest of pic in Berlin 2006
and Work

Santa Rosa del Sara, Dept of Santa Cruz (July 1967--July 1969)
My main job was to help develop a system for financing the rice crops by establishing a rice growers’ program within an existing credit cooperative.  In addition, I helped establish a public services cooperative, through which we were able to install a water system in the village. After I left this cooperative was used to also establish a potable water system. 

Santa Rosa was a small town, about 30 km from the main road north of Santa Cruz.  In spite of the heat, it was a rather pleasant place.  The first few months were difficult, due to the isolation.  But as I made friends I was accepted into the village life: fiestas, Saturday night dances and evening card games with friends.  Tom Gale lived about a two-hour horseback ride from me and we occasionally visited back and forth.

Great Bolivian River Trip: account of 1969 trip by Jim Wright & Tom Gale.


After the Peace Corps, I earned a master’s degree in development economics at Georgetown and worked on a USAID program, which was financing housing in Latin America and he Caribbean. When the job took me to Lima, I took advantage of the trip to go back to Santa Rosa to visit friends. The village had a large fiesta for me. I was glad to see my old friends. 

After USAID I spent a year in Zambia with the UN working on an economic planning project. After that I worked several years for a Washington based consulting firm that specialized in urban development in developing countries. One job took me to San Salvador where my wife and I ran into Dwight and Peggy. 

In 1981 I joined the World Bank where I first worked on urban development issues in South Asia. Most of my work was in India and was quite interesting. After that I worked in the Middle East, mainly in Turkey. 

In 1991 I became division chief for infrastructure projects in West Africa. Work in Africa is difficult, especially Nigeria, but there was some interesting work and success. Ghana was an especially nice country to work in.  I retired from the World Bank a few years ago but, up to last year, I continued working on development issues and projects as a consultant. 

One recent job took me back to Bolivia a second time. My wife was with me.  We visited friends in Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa. There some of my old friends invited us for lunch, but their parents, with whom I had mainly worked, were mostly deceased. The village was much bigger, but unfortunately I could see few signs of improved living conditions. I assume most of us have followed Bolivian politics and development over the years with some degree of sadness about the lack of political accord and economic development.

My wife Betty Lou and I live in McLean Virginia.  I was introduced to her by Jeff Fletcher and am forever in his debt for that.  She had been his next-door neighbor on Capitol Hill where I was also living after I returned from Haiti. 

We have two children.  Our son, Jim, is an artist in New York.  Our daughter, Betsy, lives near us in Fairfax County, Virginia and is finishing her degree at George Mason University.

PC In Your Life

My Peace Corps experience turned out to be the beginning of a long career in international development. I have worked in over fifty countries in all areas of the world, including resident assignments in Haiti, Indonesia, Korea and Zambia.

Best/Worst PC Experience

My best experience was getting to live with those fun loving Cambas. I had had a somewhat stiff upbringing and they cured that.

My worst experience came when Tom Gale and I traveled to Trinidad by river. A drunken Sergeant of the Bolivian "navy" arrested me because i had forgotten my ID and kept us overnight. He thought that we could be part of Che Gurvara's band. Fortunately he listened to reason the next day after he sobered up and let us go.

RPCV Groups

In the Future
Favorites to Share