Five Minutes With ... Kamran Beikmohamadi

Cary native finds niche in Peace Corps

CorrespondentMay 21, 2013 

In 1964, a Peace Corps volunteer named Barkley Moore went to Iran, where he helped build 30 libraries, started a kindergarten and spent 50 hours a week teaching English.

Kamran Beikmohamadi, 29, grew up hearing about Moore from his father, who was one of Moore’s students and is now an engineer.

Beikmohamadi, who was raised in Cary and still considers it home, was so inspired by the stories that he joined the Peace Corps. Now he’s serving in the European country of Georgia.

Q: Why did you join the Peace Corps?

My father was 14 when Barkley came to the city near his village, in the Turkoman region of Iran.

My dad recalls of how Barkley was unassuming and generous with his time while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer. It was because of Barkley that my father decided to learn English, study electrical engineering in the United States and ultimately immigrate.

Peace Corps has always been a part of my life. I also share Moore’s view that one of the best ways to promote peace and friendship in the world is through people-to-people interaction

Q: What is your current role?

My position is a (non-governmental organization) development facilitator volunteer, and my role has included working with a local NGO to develop ideas and projects to help transfer financial literacy skills, employability skills and entrepreneurial skills to the community members.

I have secured financing for courses on accounting, basic computer skills, communication, leadership, photography, English education and cultural and ethnic tolerance. Currently, I am working on a project that will train accountants from five local community centers in basic accounting principles.

In 2011, we implemented a grant that created a beekeeping training center in my village. The project created 13 beehives that villagers use to learn and practice honey-making techniques. The honey produced is sold, and the proceeds are used to finance the organization’s various projects. ...

Also, I have been working with a German adult education organization for the past few months to create an adult community education center.

Q: What have you learned from the experience?

Peace Corps has allowed me to develop personally. Working and living with my Georgian counterparts and experiencing the ups and downs of life in the village, I have gained a unique perspective into their hardships and joys.

I am more compassionate for their way of life and understanding of the challenges of a developing country. For example, when a hail storm destroyed most of the crops at my host family’s subsistence farm, I was personally affected as we had almost no food for canning for the winter.

Q: What are your future plans?

My career path has definitely changed by serving as a Peace Corps volunteer. Before joining Peace Corps, I worked in public accounting as an auditor at a “big four” firm focusing on broker/dealer accounting. Now I’d like to continue my service as an auditor for the Peace Corps.

But first, my fiancé and I will get married this summer. She is another Peace Corps volunteer who I met in Georgia.

We decided to have a road trip across the United States to see all the places we’ve missed serving in the Republic of Georgia. While we don’t know where we’ll get married, we know it will be somewhere on the road trip.

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