A thread of coincidence seems to run through the 32-year career of U.S. diplomat Wayne Peterson, who recently retired as a director of the Fulbright Scholarship Program.
For instance, how he began his career by serving in the Peace Corps in Brazil...
"Near the end of my graduating year at the University of Wisconsin," relates Peterson, "I was on my way to lunch one day when I had to pass through a recruitment area and was stopped by a very well-dressed man who asked, 'Wouldnt you be interested in joining the Peace Corps?' It turned out to be David Rockefeller of the Chase Manhattan Bank, who told me that he volunteered one day a year to serve in this way. 'Its almost lunch time,' he said, 'and you are my candidate!' " Peterson did join the Peace Corps and served in Brazil from 1964 - 66.
In 1965, he realized the total ineffectiveness of the project to which he was assigned and proposed an alternative that would bring more immediate benefit to the local people. His recommendation was denied, and so was his subsequent request to institute a program to help street beggars in a southern region of Brazil.
Disillusioned by the bureaucracy he was encountering, Peterson wrote a letter to his mother saying he was seriously thinking of quitting the Peace Corps. Coincidentally, on the day his letter arrived, a famous congressman happened to be sitting in the living room of Petersons parents. On reading his letter, the congressman, a staunch supporter of the Peace Corps, decided to intervene. As a result, Peterson was granted the assignment in southern Brazil and helped to create the countrys first public welfare program. Appropriately dubbed S.O.S., the privately-funded venture ingeniously circumvented a lot of endemic corruption and helped eliminate the need for begging in the 'smaller' Brazilian cities of 100,000 to two million people. The program was so successful that it spread throughout the country within two years and is still in effect today.
The helpful congressman, Melvin Laird, went on to become Secretary of Defense under President Nixon.
Toward the end of his Peace Corps tour of duty, Peterson was approached by the American ambassador and other diplomats at the embassy in Rio who were impressed with the S.O.S. project, as well as Petersons ingenuity and determination. They urged him to become a career diplomat and return to the embassy in Rio. With their enthusiastic support, Peterson passed the qualifying examinations and was accepted into the U.S. Foreign Service even before his Peace Corps term was over.
For the next 13 years, he served in various diplomatic capacities in Latin America, Southeast Asia and, finally, Africa. Returning then to Washington, he became a director of the Fulbright Scholarship program, which is administered through U.S. embassies overseas and which gave him a huge international exposure over the next 17 years.
"Perhaps it was a coincidence that I was in Washington in 1982 when I heard a man speaking on the 'Merv Griffin Show' with Gore Vidal," says Peterson. "It was author Benjamin Creme, describing brilliant scientific and technological advancements soon to be released, such as the discovery of cold fusion. He talked of profound economic and political changes as well, stating that a group of very advanced men, perfected men, were guiding these changes and helping humanity at this critical time from behind the scenes."
"It was not long afterwards that I was contacted by a representative of this group, in a most unusual manner, and offered the chance to meet their leader Maitreya, the World Teacher. That one-hour meeting changed my life forever," says Peterson, "and it was so profound that I was reluctant for many years to talk of this and subsequent meetings with members of this remarkable group. Gradually, however, as I began to open up at private meetings and dinner parties in Washington and abroad, I found that my experience was not so unusual. I was able to discuss Maitreya and his ideas with personal friends of the Pope, businessmen close to the U.S. president, foreign government leaders, and a number of influential people both in the U.S. and overseas. Many of them have had special experiences similar to mine."
"My understanding is that Maitreya has been preparing not only influential people but a large corps of journalists, and that he will soon begin to appear on a series of major TV interviews and shed his remarkable insights on the means to solve the current world impasse. As one who has had the privilege to be aware of some of the preparations for these broadcasts, I feel that the time is ripe to relate my experience outside of government circles and share the knowledge I have gained. If what I have to say can help dispel the cloud of angst so prevalent now, then coming forward will have been worth it. I can assure you: the future is bright."