Carolyn Liebler

Why did you want to serve on this board?

PML is an amazing organization. I could tell that from the outside, because my older son went through the Youth Cultural Exchange (YCE) program through First Universalist Church. He had a great experience, and it couldn’t have been that great without the involvement of PML. It made a big difference.

PML is very much “by the people, for the people,” not just handing out random stuff.  For example, they told us to bring very little stuff and to be careful about gifts and to be really even with gifts.

I say my son’s experience was great for a lot of reasons. The Minnesota and Nicaragua “siblings” were carefully matched. The youth in each location had lots of opportunities to bond before the exchange. The groundwork and expectations had been well managed. My son so treasured the experience that he earned and saved $1200 and paid his own way back to Nicaragua and was there for his sixteenth birthday. The person-to-person connection has really been nurtured.

How do you see PML changing the people we reach in Minnesota?

The aim has always been to bring peace through understanding, through connection, so I hope PML helps people become more thoughtful about how they interpret world politics. We’re making a huge impact in San Carlos, helping almost all the women in the community come together to identify their problem, set priorities, and figure out how to address them. The work being done there is really special.

What are your hopes for the future of PML?

I see PML having two ongoing dreams. I hope PML can continue to do really effective community organizing in San Carlos, helping people who have been really disenfranchised to get what they need for themselves. I also hope PML can provide that person-to-person connection to hundreds more people. There are so many tour companies and aid organizations, and PML is a third thing, something entirely different. I hope we continue to walk that line. 

What do you think you personally bring to the board?

I like to solve problems, and I have good communication skills. I like to do graphic design, so I can help with the communication angle. More basically, though, I think I bring a lot of enthusiasm. My younger son will be joining the next YCE cohort. It’s a huge part of my family’s life, so that feeds my enthusiasm.

What do you most want people who visit PML’s website to know?

It’s really hard to wrap their head about a new idea—and PML is a new idea. Most people coming to the website are going to expect to see an aid organization. That’s such a fundamental assumption about what organizations do in developing countries. So it’s important for PML to be clear that it’s something different. I also think most of the people who visit the website are going to be connection to PML through a personal connection, someone who has participated in an exchange, and we should make that prominent.