John Kennedy III

MPS, Global Development
  • Hometown: High Point, North Carolina
  • College attended and major: Appalachian State University 2016, B.A. in Sustainable Development
Tell us a fun fact about you.

I grew up studying classical guitar for middle and high school, and now spend most of my time playing bluegrass and old time music.

What are the big challenges you want to tackle in the world?

The 3 major challenges I'd like to help tackle, are:

  1. helping rural farmers and agriculture extension officers, across the globe, find ways to build infrastructure in order to expand their capacity for market options (both local and abroad), 
  2. aid in expanding potential opportunities for sustainable and reliable resource allocation for processing goods (i.e. rural electrification, sanitation stations, improved roads, increased trade relations), and
  3. through these processes of creating larger market options and improved resource allocation, increase localized food security and sustainable farming methodology to promote more resilient and independent farm and community structures.
What were you doing before the MPS program?

Beginning in 2017, I spent a little over two years in Zambia with the Peace Corps. During my time, I was an Agroforestry Extension Agent, working with rural farmers in a variety of ways. Mostly, my work was focused around collaborating with farmers to incorporate different tools and measures into their farming structure in order to lessen their dependency on costly fertilizer, as well as to secure soil health and longevity, and increase household nutrition. Our collective work also included aquaculture and its introduction into existing farm practices, as well as creating appropriate technologies for food security and processing different foods to sell. Our communal work mostly focused around beekeeping, creating community tree nurseries, improved animal husbandry, and processing dried mangoes for local sale.

I also worked for a year as a Peace Corps Volunteer Leader, aiding in managing our provincial operations for establishing Peace Corps sites in the Northern region of Zambia, as well managing our provincial resource center and acting as a volunteer liaison between Volunteers and Country Staff.

After Peace Corps, I moved to Mongolia on a Fulbright Grant to teach English at the National University of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

What does global development mean to you?

To me, sustainable global development is the process of utilizing a global network of information and resources (from a wide range including social, educational, economic, infrastructural, and agricultural pursuits) in order to best suit the needs and projects that are assessed, addressed, and adapted by local stakeholders via localized ownership and control.

What has been the most memorable or impactful experience of your career so far?

Across my career, the most impactful experiences have been rooted in the individual relationships cultivated and sustained over the course of my work. They are the basis for any successes I've had, and were the solid ground I relied on when things weren't looking up. So, to that end, it's not one single experience that has been the most memorable, but the wonderful people behind certain experiences that have shaped my view of them.