Recent Event Highlights: Harris Wofford Award presented to Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, Legislative Victory for Peace Corps Commemorative!, Harris Wofford Award presented to Dr. Mohamud Sheikh Nurein Said, Peace Corps Community Archive established at American University, Farewell to Kevin Quigley, NPCA President, Conversations: The Future of Peace Corps, and 48 more...
Created by peacecorpsconnect on Jan 31, 2011
Last updated: 03/10/14 at 04:10 PM
A native of Nakhorn Sri Thammarat province in southern Thailand, Dr. Pitsuwan is a distinguished politician whose dedication to service provides inspiration to Peace Corps Volunteers everywhere.
The U.S. House of Representatives gave final approval to Peace Corps Commemorative legislation. The legislation authorizes the use of space near the National Mall for a modest commemorative to mark the lasting, historic significance of the founding of the Peace Corps in 1961, and the ideals represented by Peace Corps service. Funds for the commemorative will need to be raised privately, as the bi-partisan legislation stipulates that no taxpayer dollars would be used for this project. First introduced in 2010, the Peace Corps commemorative is one of the first pieces of legislation to win final congressional approval in 2014. It is also one of only a few dozen bills that have won full congressional approval in the current, 113th Congress.
Dr. Mohamud Said is a distinguished Kenyan volunteer, philanthropist and humanitarian engaged in a wide range of medical service and human rights activities on the local, national and international levels.
Philip Lilienthal is founder and president of Global Camps Africa, a nonprofit whose mission is to empower children for an AIDS-free tomorrow.
American University (AU) in Washington, D.C. officially launched the Peace Corps Community Archive, whose mission is to “collect, exhibit, and provide educational and public programs that document the experiences and impact of individuals who served in the Peace Corps and of individuals and institutions in host countries.”
What Peace Corps Volunteer doesn’t secretly dream of returning to their Peace Corps country as the country director? What would it be like?
National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) President Kevin Quigley is about to find out.
At the July 2, 2012 Annual General Meeting in Minneapolis, Kevin shared with the Peace Corps community that he would be stepping down to accept a position as the Peace Corps country director in Thailand, where he served from 1976 to 1979.
“As a Thailand Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, I am very excited about this new position and the chance to serve again in Thailand and give back to a country that has given me so much,” says Quigley. However, the honor to serve as country director and to consequently leave NPCA, is a bittersweet one for Quigley.
“Peace Corps is about people. It was true of my Peace Corps service, and it’s been true of my tenure as president of NPCA, says Kevin. “I have been very fortunate to work with great board and advisory council members, dedicated colleagues, committed group leaders, and myriad friends and supporters of the Peace Corps.”
Kevin has been the president of NPCA for nearly the last decade. During his tenure, there have been numerous changes: in addition to a restructuring of the board and programs, NPCA moved three times, although always in the same building; the organization shifted from print-based to virtually exclusive electronic publications; went through multiple websites and three databases; co-organized the largest independent survey of why individuals volunteer and what impact that had; and saw NPCA move aggressively in its use of new media, including a weekly #RPCVChat on Twitter. NPCA also developed an advocacy program that has had singular accomplishments: helping secure the largest appropriation in the Peace Corps’s history, keeping Peace Corps and military recruitment separate, and laying the foundation for a possible commemorative to the values of the Peace Corps near the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Kevin is extremely optimistic for NPCA’s future. “We recently held a successful inaugural Peace Corps Connect Annual Gathering in Minneapolis, where we launched our Next Step Travel Program, an alumni-type travel experience with a service and cross-cultural component enabling us to directly reconnect with our Peace Corps experiences. Our relationship with the Peace Corps is the strongest it ever has been, and we have secured our first endowed gift, which will bring a global leader to future Annual Gatherings, beginning with Boston, June 28-29, 2013.”
Returning to Thailand as the country director will no doubt be an exciting adventure for Kevin and his family, and he’s already mulling how the Peace Corps experience of today is different from when he served. One big difference: technology. So although Kevin may be “gone” from NPCA, we look forward to keeping him — and a new generation of Thailand Peace Corps Volunteers — electronically up-to-date on the good things happening in the wider Peace Corps community, and to hearing what’s happening in the field.
NPCA’s Next Step Travel program launched. Provides respectful hyper-local immersion in developing countries: 360-degree “anti-tour” itineraries that combine unparalleled local access, cultural immersion, non-extreme adventure, and hands-on volunteer opportunities that open pathways for connection with local people.
Florence Reed founded Sustainable Harvest International in 1997. Using sustainable farming practices, organic vegetable gardens, wood-conserving stoves, reforestation and a host of other projects, Sustainable Harvest International’s local field trainers work together with families, individuals and communities to preserve our planet’s tropical forests while overcoming poverty.
The Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act was passed to further support Volunteers who are subjected to sexual assault and other forms of violence. The legislation was named after Benin Peace Corps Volunteer Kate Puzey, who was murdered during her service after reporting on a teaching colleague who was alleged to be sexually abusing some of his students.
Sunday’s 50th anniversary activities included a sequence of events sponsored by the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, DC.
A panel of thought leaders and global figures discussed their experiences with the Peace Corps and other pressing topics with the community at the National Theater in Washington, DC.
As part of the 50th anniversary festivities, over 800 people came together at the Ronald Reagan building to celebrate the Peace Corps legacy.
As part of the 50th anniversary weekend, more than 200 individuals volunteered with 12 DC-based charities.
Advocacy Day: 50 years to the day of Congressional passage of the Peace Corps Act, National Peace Corps Association advocates joined together for a full day of congressional meetings, a rally on the grounds of the Capitol featuring notable political figures, an end-of-day event and more.
On September 20, 2011, NPCA released a report, “A Call to Peace,” on the largest independent survey ever conducted to assess the impact of the Peace Corps over its 50 year history and beyond.
Peace as the Overriding Purpose
-- 80% said their service was effective in promoting a better understanding of Americans in the communities where they served and an almost equal number said their service helped promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans
-- 59% said their service was effective in helping other communities meet their need for trained workers
A Transformative Experience
-- 90% of RPCVs rated their Peace Corps experience as excellent or very good
-- 98% would recommend the Peace Corps to their child, grandchild or other close family member
Check out the link below for more information.
Harris Wofford Global Citizen Award is named for the former U.S. Senator and special assistant to U.S. President John F. Kennedy who was instrumental in the formation of the Peace Corps. It is given annually to an outstanding global leader who grew up and continues to live in a country where Peace Corps Volunteers served and whose life was influenced by the Peace Corps.
Atiku Abubakar — a Nigerian politician, businessman and philanthropist — was the first recipient of the Harris Wofford Global Citizen Award, which was presented at the Promise of the Peace Corps Gala in September 2011.
Sam’s start-up, d.light design, is an international consumer company whose mission is “to enable households without reliable electricity to attain the same quality of life as those with electricity.” The company aims to improve the lives of 100 million individuals by 2020, beginning by replacing every kerosene lantern with revolutionary energy and lighting solutions that are affordable, durable and energy-efficient.
There is, here in Washington today, well over 100,000 people from Ethiopia and Eritrea. They were getting riled up and choosing sides. Those of us that served in Ethiopia, together with Chic Dambach, who is here in the gallery, set out to try to get these people here in the Washington area to work towards peace rather than to get into an argument amongst themselves over which country was right or wrong. From there we very quickly found ourselves invited to travel to both Ethiopia and Eritrea, where we were able to meet with the heads of state.
In both cases, the team that was assembled, there were five of us, myself, I was then just leaving Federal Government service as the Deputy Secretary of the Interior. Mr. Dambach had just left the Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Association, the National Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Association, a Federal appellate court judge who had served in Ethiopia who was then on the bench in Arizona in the Ninth Circuit; Mike McCaskey, who was then the president of the Chicago Bears; and another fellow who was deeply involved in African relief issues.
We journeyed and we sat down and met with first the President of Eritrea and had a 3-hour conversation with him about the war and why the war was underway, what his goals were.
We then traveled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where we met first with the foreign minister of Ethiopia, who actually was a student of Mike McCaskey. They talked about it, and there was this bond that was immediately established between them.
Shortly thereafter, the foreign minister arranged a meeting with Prime Minister Meles, and, again, we spent nearly 3 hours with him asking him about the war from his perspective, what there was. It came to the five of us that there was a way to find peace , that there was a path that could bridge these differences that these two countries had that at that point had resulted in nearly 100,000 soldiers, both Ethiopia and Eritrean, having been killed in that war.
We turned that information over to the Organization of African Unity, which was then working towards some sort of a settlement. And, shortly thereafter, within a couple of months, the basic elements of the peace treaty were developed, and they were based upon the work that we had done. There was some more back and forth that took place. But our team was invited to Algeria for the signing of the ceremony of peace .
So the work for peace really never ends, and I know you are doing it here in Congress.
September 22, 2011 marked the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the Peace Corps Act in Congress by John F. Kennedy. The National Peace Corps Association was honored to play a significant role in the 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps. In 2011, NPCA led the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps by organizing large-scale events through the year, beginning with Global House Parties around the world on March 1, 2011, 10 Expos around the United States, and culminating in a 4-day weekend of events in September 2011.
Judged by National Peace Corps Association staff and board members, both the winning video along with the runners-up were used to help commemorate the Peace Corps’ five decades of service.
The National Symposium: The Future of International Service was held at the University of Michigan, where John F. Kennedy first called for the creation of the Peace Corps in 1960. The symposium kicked off a year-long series of events across the nation that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps.
In 1998, Stuart co-founded Trees, Water & People (TWP) along with his wife, Jenny Bramhall, and Richard Fox. The mission of the Colorado-based nonprofit organization is to improve people’s lives by helping communities to protect, conserve, and manage the natural resources upon which their long-term well-being depends.
by Dr. Joby Taylor
Published in WorldView Vol. 22 No. 4
We are in a unique moment in history. The staggering social and material needs of our nation and world are matched by a growing global citizen desire to be engaged in solving problems and a rapidly expanding potential for connecting global needs with citizen solutions through emerging technologies and communications tools. Now is a moment for a powerful Call to Service and Peace, a call backed by a broad slate of programmatic opportunities for those (millions?) who can and will respond. True to the framing of its founding days, the Peace Corps of the 21st century must strive to blend compassion and pragmatism in its mission. To use Sargent Shriver’s term, it must continue to seek the recipe for Practical Idealism, a commitment to social hope blended with the skills and savvy to get things done.
What is the proper ordering of goals in the Peace Corps: Is it primarily a cultural exchange program? An aid and development organization? An instrument of U.S. foreign relations? The answer is: All of the above. The Peace Corps, at its best, is a transformative personal experience for our own citizens and their host country counterparts; it is a grassroots development agency offering an effective hand up (not a hand out) in thousands of communities around the world; and it is the smartest smart power in our international affairs portfolio. This integration of goals is the elegant genius of the Peace Corps.
Now, more than ever, we have the potential to roll together Peace Corps’s Three Goals into a single mission to “promote world peace and friendship.” Sargent Shriver’s audacious hope and vision for the Peace Corps is worthy of renewed attention today. As late as the days immediately after 9/11/2001, the Agency’s first director spoke these challenging words: "Our present world cries out for a new Peace Corps—a vastly improved, expanded, and profoundly deeper enterprise.... I'm not defending the old Peace Corps—I'm attacking it! We didn't go far enough! Our dreams were large, but our actions were small. We never really gave the goal of 'World Wide Peace' an overwhelming commitment. Nor did we establish a clear, inspiring vision for attaining it" (Nov. 2001).
We should take up Shriver’s challenge and develop a new “Towering Task” for a 21st century Peace Corps: Preserving that which is good, adapting that which is not, and thinking creatively and intelligently about the future potential of the Peace Corps as it approaches its 50th anniversary. Anticipating this timely opportunity, The NPCA and individual Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) have been generating big ideas including discussions of new country partners, new service partnerships, new uses of technology, new volunteer models, new types of projects, and new administrative structures. Their ideas are diverse, but their collective wisdom agrees about this unique chance to re-invigorate the Peace Corps and make it better and bolder.
Here’s a starting place: For volunteers, the Peace Corps is often, and with good reason, thought of as an experience of a lifetime. That’s not bad, but our opportunity today is to reframe the Peace Corps as an “Experience for Life.” Those two years of engagement shouldn’t be something we head into planning to look back on with longing and nostalgia…as an adventurous and idealistic timeout between college and career (or at other life stages). We know that the Peace Corps is an experience that transforms lives, so why not reframe it as Peace Corps for Life. In our flattening world, all three Peace Corps Goals are now actionable at all stages of Peace Corps service. Let’s draw a matrix with Before/During/ and After Peace Corps along one axis and Goal One/Goal Two/ and Goal Three along the other, and then let the brainstorming of those nine boxes begin!
While this simple exercise will generate new ideas for the pre and in-service stages of Peace Corps, perhaps the largest untapped potential of the Peace Corps for Life reframing lies in life after the close of service (COS). I propose that COS should be re-described as Continuation of Service. Goal Three, typically reserved for RPCVs, should be blown wide open conceptually to include pre- and in-service volunteers, and, upon COS, it should be given teeth through programmatic opportunities. Both Shriver and Kennedy envisioned RPCVs as the chief impact of the Peace Corps experiment (a vision that was both a key political argument for its early Congressional support, and went way beyond classroom slideshows). In their same spirit of Practical Idealism, RPCVs should be charged and expected to become model global citizens for life.
One way to make Peace Corps for Life real would be to make Peace Corps Response a universal experience for all RPCVs. The model could be flexible, offering diverse opportunities for RPCVs at different stages: pre, mid, and post career. For example, within the first five years of returning, RPCVs should be supported to creatively integrate a continuing project in their primary Peace Corps post site into their graduate studies or as part of their professional development. RPCVs in midcareer positions should be supported to develop creative ways of applying their skills and expertise through short, in-the-field consulting roles, or as PCV or host country trainers and mentors through online professional development systems. And post-career RPCVs, while re-upping as PCVs themselves in some numbers through Peace Corps’s 50+ initiative, remain an enormous and barely-tapped resource if we would simply commit to finding creative ways to engage their expertise while supporting their specific needs such as continuing health care. In many cases, these last two RPCV groups could be challenged to bring matching resources to support their ongoing engagement.
Another way to give Peace Corps for Life programmatic teeth is to expand and enhance the pathways bridging Peace Corps service to professional careers in service and development. New public service pathways could build directly upon the longstanding Federal retirement and non-competitive employment benefits of Peace Corps service. For example, within that first year window, RPCVs with adequate qualifications should have special eligibility for programs like the Presidential Management Fellowship. While I hesitate to undermine its importance, the longstanding “readjustment allowance” seems unhelpfully framed as a retrospective “thank you” for service. Let’s keep this modest unrestricted award, but create a new and larger Peace Corps for Life Education Award. Given that most RPCVs return for graduate school, this transition stage is a pivotal bridge for connecting Peace Corps experience with a career and life pathway in service. Similar to AmeriCorps or the GI Bill, RPCVs should earn Education Awards that universally encourage them to deepen and apply the knowledge and skills they gained in the Peace Corps.
The current Peace Corps Fellows/USA and Masters International programs already constitute a network of over 100 universities nationwide, diverse institutions offering dozens of disciplinary options and, importantly, building in significant domestic community service and service learning experiences. Domestic service-learning helps RPCVs readjust to life at home by engaging them in local issues while connecting them with a new community of service peers and partners. These independently run Fellows programs could match the new Peace Corps Service for Life Education Award, giving RPCVs double the incentive to get involved as professional service leaders across the country. (An alternate way to realize this could be to have the Peace Corps Fellows/USA programs simply become a national AmeriCorps Consortium. In this way, the continued domestic service of RPCVs would earn them an AmeriCorps Education Award.)
RPCVs have certainly been realizing Kennedy and Shriver’s bold vision independently for nearly 50 years. The Peace Corps can take this powerful organic phenomenon to scale, creating a powerful engine for service leadership in our nation and worldwide. By bringing the call to lifelong service and peacebuilding into the very heart of the Peace Corps mission; we can create programmatic pathways that allow every Volunteer to turn a transformative two-year experience into Peace Corps for Life.
[Joby Taylor PhD (Gabon 91-93, Peace Corps Fellows/USA 99-01) is Director of the Shriver Peaceworker Fellows Program at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.]
Africa Rural Connect (ARC), a program of the National Peace Corps Association, launched in 2009, is an online global collaboration network where knowledgeable people work together to communicate and respond to the needs of African farmers. The ARC platform allows current and returned Peace Corps volunteers, the African Diaspora, and others, to take an active role in building development initiatives that can directly affect the lives of rural farmers.
John Hatch is the founder of FINCA (Foundation for International Community Assistance), one of the world’s leading microfinance institutions with programs in 21 countries and over one million low-income families assisted since its inception in 1984.
NPCA launches Peace Corps Connect, a website and online social networking platform to help current and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers connect with each other and share ideas about projects, events, careers, and advocacy issues.
NPCA and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Washington, D.C. (RPCVw) represented the Peace Corps community in the inaugural parade.
Published in WorldView Magazine - Vol. 21 No. 3
Congratulations to Peace Corps Volunteers of the 20th century. Congratulations, too, to the National Peace Corps Association and to current Volunteers and staff in this first decade of our new century. You are setting the pace and pointing the way to a 21st century Peace Corps that will be bigger, better and bolder.
In this presidential campaign, I’ve set forth a comprehensive plan for a large expansion of voluntary citizen service, at home and abroad. An integral part of that plan is the growth of the Peace Corps in quality and quantity – a quantum leap. We recall that President Kennedy hoped the Peace Corps would grow to 100,000 volunteers, but the program peaked at 16,000 in 1966. Today there are about 8,000. If Kennedy’s vision had been fulfilled, there would have been more than two million returned Volunteers with first-hand experience in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe, with a commitment to help America play a more constructive role in the world.
To restore America’s standing, I will call
on our greatest resource – our people. We will double the size of the Peace Corps by its 50th anniversary in 2011. And, we’ll reach out to other nations to engage their young people in similar programs, so that we work side by side to take on the common challenges that confront all humanity. The Peace Corps has been a key part of meeting those challenges such as overcoming poverty, combating diseases like HIV/AIDS and malaria, and reducing the global education deficit. This will not be a call issued in one speech or one program. This will be an important and enduring commitment of my presidency.
To resume the Peace Corps’ growth, we will push Congress to fully fund the expansion to 16,000 by 2011. I will work with former Peace Corps Volunteer Sen. Chris Dodd and the other returned Peace Corps Volunteers in Congress, Republicans and Democrats, and with
the National Peace Corps Association to bring this about.
One of the Peace Corps’ founders, Harris Wofford told me how the petition to Senator John Kennedy by nearly 1,000 University of Michigan students who
pledged their support of his proposed volunteer corps was the trigger that caused him to give his major address proposing a Peace Corps at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. Generations of Peace Corps Volunteers, as active-duty citizens, have turned Kennedy’s call to service into reality.
Almost half a century later, I am not just asking for your vote as a candidate.
If I am elected President, I will ask for your continued service and your active citizenship in the years to come. With the Peace Corps’ present emphasis on recruiting Volunteers age 50-plus, an expanded Corps will open new opportunities for service to young and old, and help move America closer to the day when voluntary service, at home or abroad, in some form, at some stage of life, becomes the common expectation and experience of all Americans.
WorldView Fall 2008 - Vol. 21, No. 3 by Robert C. Terry, Jr.
Yes, President Kennedy created the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961. No, the idea was not his alone, and did not spring from his mind full-blown. While today we seek to expand it in our twenty-first century context, we should glance backward to understand how it evolved over 70 years via many clashes among disasters, ideas, and experiments.
Our Peace Corps story begins in 1895 as philosopher William James began years of disputes with politician Theodore Roosevelt over issues raised by pampered Gilded Age youths, the Spanish-American War, quashing Filipino insurgents, and America's first peace movement. James understood how appealing are our age-old rites of passage: athletics, adventure, military exploits.
Seeking an alternative, “something heroic that will speak to men as universally as war does,” he first suggested the ancient religious idea of individuals choosing to serve. “May not,” he asked, “voluntarily accepted poverty be 'the strenuous life', without the need of crushing weaker peoples?” By 1910, in his famous essay, The Moral Equivalent of War, he changed his argument to a modern idea of social policy, urging that “our gilded youth” be “drafted” into “the immemorial warfare against nature.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. Army, mustering out young soldiers after fighting Filipino guerrillas, offered them the chance to remain in the Philippines and teach. Many did. Of 12,000 more who volunteered volunteered at home, 540 shipped west aboard the U.S.S. Thomas. By 1933, when the program ended, hundreds of "Thomasites" had trained thousands of Filipino teachers in English and other subjects.
After World War I, James' idea inspired other innovations. A Swiss conscientious objector, Pierre Ceresole, led volunteers reconstructing a war-torn village in France. His work camp concept spread and created Service Civil Internationale (SCI), which expanded later to Africa and Asia. A Bengali SCI leader, whom I met in India in 1958, later became my Peace Corps deputy and life-long friend.
Franklin Roosevelt led America out of its 1930s Depression by “bold, persistent experimentation.” The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) put Army officers in charge of poor city youths to clear forests and build roads. In Vermont, a camp failed through lack of local knowledge and support. A German professor and work camp pioneer, exiled by Hitler, led Dartmouth and Harvard students to join farmers in petitioning Roosevelt to try again, but with youths of all social strata working with local neighbors. FDR agreed. The CCC reopened its site, chartered formally as "Camp William James."
In 1932, a determined visionary, Donald Watt, launched experiments to learn how teen-agers from various countries might overcome language and cultural barriers to live and work together amicably. Trials and errors created an effective format – immersing one student in one country, in one family, with good training and bi-national leaders – and an organization, The Experiment in International Living. A 1934 “Experimenter,” Sargent Shriver, went on to twice serve as an Experiment group leader.
Shriver recalled: “The Experiment taught me how to form the Peace Corps 30 years later – speak the language, wear the clothes, eat the food, accept the customs, waste no money, study ... play ... learn.” In early 1961, Shriver asked The Experiment's President, Gordon Boyce, to join him for six months to design Peace Corps partnerships with private agencies such as CARE, 4-H Clubs, Operation Crossroads Africa and International Farm Youth Exchange. Others designed partnerships with universities and labor unions.
The Experiment's School for International Training trained 23 Peace Corps Volunteer groups and managed several abroad; I led its first. Family homestays during in-country training are now standard worldwide. Today, The Experiment, now part of World Learning, is headed by Carol Bellamy (Guatamala 1963-65) and the first returned Peace Corps Volunteer to serve as Peace Corps Director (1993-95).
After World War II, both religious and secular agencies expanded. In 1953, several service groups, including Mennonite, Quaker, and Unitarian, formed International Voluntary Service (IVS). Brethren Service volunteers taught Chinese to drive American tractors. The Experiment, American Field Service, and university programs grew, aided by cheap voyages to Europe by student ships.
While visiting Southeast Asia in 1957, Rep. Henry Reuss (D-Wisc), an Experiment parent, met IVS volunteers, who inspired him to propose a “Point Four Youth Corps” and in Congress to gain $10,000 to study its “advisability and practicality.” Sen. Hubert Humphrey (D-Minn) encouraged a young staffer, Peter Grothe, to draft a bill proposing a “Peace Corps”, which he gave to Democratic presidential candidate Kennedy. Lt. General James Gavin endorsed the idea, although President Eisenhower and Republican candidate Richard Nixon ridiculed it as “juvenile.” These proposals and the study, New Frontiers for American Youth, cited the rich history of private efforts over decades.
Political opportunity beckoned at 2 AM one October night when University of Michigan students wildly cheered Kennedy's off-the-cuff challenge: “How many of you are willing to give two years of your lives . . . ?“ It ripened two weeks later when over a thousand organized instantly as Americans Committed to World Reponsibility, and petitioned Kennedy (and also Nixon!) to launch an overseas service program. This encouraged Kennedy’s formal proposal of a Peace Corps in San Francisco just before election day, 1960.
Kennedy, Shriver, and their staffs had ample private sector experience to help scale the idea up into a new public program. Looking forward, Congress and the Peace Corps should expand its traditions of innovations and partnerships, captured by the title of Gerard Rice's fine 1985 history, The Bold Experiment.
[Robert Terry led the first Peace Corps Volunteers sent to East Pakistan, now Bangladesh (1961-63), and served later as a Trustee of The Experiment in International Living and Director of the National Peace Corps Association.]
NPCA’s More Peace Corps campaign (2008-2010) for a bigger, better and bolder Peace Corps led the way in securing an increase in funding for the Peace Corps beyond the amount requested by the President, which has only happened three times in its history. This campaign involved more than 20,000 active participants.
Demand for volunteers exceeds supply; more than 20 additional countries have requested volunteers and existing programs need greater numbers.
The number of presently serving volunteers - 7,671 - is half the total of four decades ago.
The astounding success of the Peace Corps, managed on a budget of $400 million - just over a dollar per year for every U.S. citizen - deserves recognition and increase.
Urge Congress and the President to appropriate larger funding for Peace Corps through a comprehensive advocacy campaign along with endorsements from prominent leaders.
Raise awareness of Peace Corps among prospective volunteers and the general public through highly visible public events and outreach programs.
Raise awareness of the ongoing success of the Peace Corps community - the forgotten dividend of Peace Corps service.
Joan and her husband, Segundo Velasquez, founded a non-profit organization to serve the most impoverished villagers in rural Bolivia.
I’m proud to be here with the National Peace Corps Association, to honor a cause that has done so much to shape my life—and the lives of so many people in this room.
And I’m glad to be here with Senator Harris Wofford, one of the Peace Corps’s guiding lights; former Peace Corps Director Mark Schneider; members of the NPCA Advisory Council, Ron Boring, Gordon Radley, and Paul Slawson; and all of the members of the Director’s Circle whose support is so vital to NPCA in its efforts for a vital and independent Peace Corps.
But for all of the hard work put in by everyone in this room—if no one stayed up past midnight, there might not be a Peace Corps. That a great nation should send its youth abroad, not to extend its power, not to intimidate its enemies, not to kill and be killed, but to build, to dig, to teach, and to ask nothing in return—it’s one of the most radical ideas I know.
It’s not the kind of idea that comes out of a subcommittee, or a board meeting, or whatever would have been the 1960s equivalent of PowerPoint. Rather, the idea behind the Peace Corps is the kind you stumble on in the wee hours, after your third cup of coffee, when all the more conventional business of the day has been put to bed.
That’s the uniqueness of the idea we’ve inherited. Most of us here have lived with it for the whole length of our adult lives, until it stoped seeming so unique. But if I can restore its outrageousness just a bit this morning—if I can remind you of the surprise you may have felt when you first heard that such a thing as the Peace Corps existed, and that the world’s most powerful nation was paying good money for it—I think I will have done my job.
So let’s start with this fact: The Peace Corps was born at two in the morning. On October 14, 1960, Senator John F. Kennedy was hours late for a campaign stop at the University of Michigan. He guessed that most of the crowd had already gone home—but when he drove up to the student union in the dark, he found them waiting for him in droves. Ten thousand students had waited all night, outdoors, in the cold to hear him speak.
Now, you know I’ve done my share of national campaigning, and the stories are true—it’s exhausting. I can only imagine, from personal experience, that Senator Kennedy was coming off of several months of late nights, uncomfortable beds, and bad food. So the temptation must have been overwhelming to give the Michigan students a “Thank you for coming out,” recite a few lines from memory, and send them home.
But at some point—whether it was when he first began making his way into that enormous, floodlit crowd, or whether it was when all ten thousand of them began chanting his name as he climbed the student union steps—Senator Kennedy realized that this was special. He realized he owed them more.
And what he gave them was a direct challenge: “How many of you who are going to be doctors, are willing to spend your days in Ghana? Technicians or engineers, how many of you are willing to work in the Foreign Service and spend your lives traveling around the world?”
I believe that that challenge is our Peace Corps’s founding document. And it’s a fitting one. We didn’t get out start with a white paper, or a vetted speech, or a campaign commercial; in fact, we didn’t get our start with a statement of any kind. We began with a question. Showing up for a candidate is one thing—but how many of you will take that dedication and use it to repair the world?
That was the question—but if you had asked the next day, the odds were good that it was going to stay a question, that it was going to degenerate from a powerful challenge to merely a nice, forgettable idea. John Kennedy didn’t have an organization in mind, he didn’t have funding—he didn’t even have a name for it.
In the early going, he only had one thing. It was a petitition. It was drafted by Michigan students a few days after Kennedy asked his question—and its answer was an emphatic “Yes.” It circulated at colleges all over the state, and by the time its sponsors were ready to present it to JFK in person, it had grown to several scrolls bearing thousands and thousands of names. Just days before the election, they handed them over to JFK. He paused a second and then grinned: “You need them back, don’t you?” As Harris Wofford reminds us, these were the days before the Xerox, and the students hadn’t had time to copy down all the names.
But JFK didn’t need any more proof—letters answering his challenge were flooding into his headquarters, and soon they totaled 30,000.
By then, his top advisors were working on a plan in earnest, and soon it was rolled out. They didn’t rely on Senator Kennedy’s unscripted call to service—they made the case for a Peace Corps in the hard language of realpolitik.
In the first official speech on the Peace Corps, one idea was dominant: the Russians—if we don’t start doing our part for the developing world, the Communists will. So yes, the Peace Corps found its place in the realities of the Cold War, just as it is finding its place now in the uncertain world of this new century, when we face conflicts with people who know as little of America as we know of them.
But the idea that service could be a tool of foreign policy—even, in some ways, a weapon of war—was radical in itself. It says that that there are more measures of strength than caliber or tonnage or blast-radius. It says that the world needs to see our ideals not just in ink, but incarnate in the young man or woman with dirty hands who is working in the sun beside you. It says that you can only hate America if you don’t know America.
And that idea took shape because of a few thousand students who knew their moment when they saw it—and because John Kennedy’s campaign had the nimbleness and the imagination to seize on it. Sargent Shriver wrote that the Peace Corps would probably “still be just an idea but for the affirmative response of those Michigan students and faculty….It was almost a case of spontaneous combustion.”
If the story of the Peace Corps were a movie, it might end then and there. We can imagine JFK’s call being triumphantly answered, and, as the credits roll, streams of young volunteers shipping off the next day. But even the most revolutionary ideas have a way of coming back down to earth. Even as Kennedy moved to make the Peace Corps a centerpiece of his administration, the criticism began. Richard Nixon called it “a haven for draft-dodgers.” Dwight Eisenhower called it “a juvenile experiment.”
And in a way, blanket criticism like that was the easiest to deal with. Far more dangerous was criticism from the inside, the kind that came from old foreign policy hands who responded, in essence: “What a wonderful idea—but keep it small!”
Because a strong consensus was forming among academics and State Department experts: “Proceed cautiously, start with small pilot projects, don’t make mistakes, limit the program to 1,000 or 2,000 for a beginning…don’t let this experiment get out of hand.” Some thought that the number of volunteers should be no more than 500. They spoke convincingly about minimizing risks, guarding our reputation, and avoiding a fiasco. And if they had gotten their way, serving in the Peace Corps would be, to coin a phrase, safe, legal, and rare.
The fact that it isn’t—the fact that many of us are here this morning at all—is due to another late-night moment of inspiration.
It happened at the Peace Corps’s first official headquarters—a hotel room in downtown Washington. At that point, the staff of the Peace Corps totaled two: Two Kennedy aides, Sargent Shriver and Harris Wofford, holed up in that hotel room with stacks of paper and a few typewriters, trying to figure out how to put this outrageous idea into practice. But despite regular calls from JFK asking them what was taking so long—this was in February of 1961, about three weeks after the inauguration—they hadn’t even figured out the name yet.
What Shriver did know, he later told us, was that he couldn’t stand the cautious, conventional approach that was in vogue. He knew that America would only have one chance to get this right—but he needed the intellectual ammunition to prove it.
He found it at three in the morning, halfway through a stack of letters and memos. Someone had wanted him to read a short paper by a man named Warren Wiggins, a midlevel employee at the State Department. The paper was called “The Towering Task,” and it took its name from a line in JFK’s first State of the Union address: “The problems…are towering and unprecedented—and the response must be towering and unprecedented as well.” Wiggins was proposing that the Peace Corps be just such a huge endeavor.
He began by methodically tearing down the case for a small, cautious Corps. First, a tiny commitment wouldn’t be enough to win the support. He wrote the imaginary reaction of a foreign ambassador asked to host just 100 American volunteers: “1) What can 100 youths do? 2) What will Washington think of next? 3) We have too many Americans here in this country, anyway. 4) What a terrible chance we are taking with all these kids.”
In other words, 100 kids are a nuisance—but multiply that nuisance by 50, and the equation changes entirely. As Wiggins wrote: “One hundred youths engaged in agricultural work of some sort in Brazil might pass by unnoticed, except for the problems involved, but 5,000 American youths helping to build Brasilia might warrant the full attention and support of the President of Brazil himself.”
But if a tiny Peace Corps would do next to nothing for the host countries, it would do even less for our country. The tremendous student response to JFK’s question was still fresh in everyone’s mind; but if the plan for caution was taken seriously, it meant that only two or three graduates from every college would ever have the chance of serving. And if, after inspiring a generation with talk of towering problems and torches being passed, Kennedy announced nothing more than a stripped-down, underfunded bureaucracy—it would be nothing less than hypocrisy.
Instead, Wiggins concluded, the Peace Corps needed to begin with a “quantum jump.” It needed to begin immediately, by executive order, with 5,000 to 10,000 volunteers and the potential to grow to as many as 100,000.
The idea hit Sargent Shriver like lightning—he fired off a telegram, and within six hours, Warren Wiggins had arrived at the hotel and working on a report for the President. Within a month, Kennedy had created the Peace Corps by executive order. Within two years, more than 7,000 young Americans were serving abroad. And by 1966, 15,000 were.
One of them was a 22-year-old English major from Providence College, who arrived in the small village of Monción in the Dominican Republic, without much Spanish or the faintest idea what he was doing, without a clue that more than 40 years later, he’d be standing in the Capitol, telling you that the Peace Corps gave him the richest two years of his life. I owe those years, and the shape of all the years after, which they molded so much, to John Kennedy and his unscripted 2 a.m. question, and to Warren Wiggins and his unpretentious 3 a.m. paper.
From this story—which above all is a story of spontaneity, and government working at its best, and the remarkable things that happen when leaders really listen—I think we can draw two lessons.
First, size matters. The perils of a small, timid Peace Corps are just as clear today as they were in 1961. Just as then, advocates of a stripped-down mission make the same arguments: Sending untrained, untested students only aggravates our host countries and raises the chance of a mishap—so let’s send a few experts instead. And just as in 1961, our response is fundamentally the same, and fundamentally correct: Of course we need volunteers of the highest quality.
But we need the highest quantities, too. Every American of good willl we send abroad is another chance to make America known to a world that often fears and suspects us. And every American who returns from that service is a gift: a citizen who strengthens us with firsthand knowledge of the world.
As Sargent Shriver said, “Peace Corps Volunteers come home to the USA realizing that there are billions—yes, billions—of human beings not enraptured by our pretensions, or our practices, or even our standards of conduct.”
President Kennedy predicted that, within a few decades, we’d have more than one million returned volunteers. They’d add immeasurably to our debates on foreign policy. They’d be a formidable voting bloc, calling leaders to account when they neglect the world. But despite a promising start, we are far short of President Kennedy’s goal—today, there are fewer than 200,000 returned volunteers, after nearly a half-century.
For the sake of the world’s understanding of America, and America’s understanding of the world, we have a lot of catching up to do. I say we should double the Peace Corps.
But there’s a second lesson in the story I’ve told today. Size matters—but it comes at a cost. The bigger any organism grows, the slower it gets. The Peace Corps that charted its course in a hotel room with a staff of two now enjoys a staff of thousands and a fine office building close to the White House. And that’s all to the good—the Peace Corps couldn’t act on the dramatic scale we want it to act on, without all that apparatus behind it. Even the most groundbreaking ideas must all make, in good time, what the philosopher Gramsci called “the long march through the institutions.”
But there wouldn’t be a Peace Corps if JFK had stuck to the script in Ann Arbor. There wouldn’t be a Peace Corps if thousands of students, acting on their own initiative, hadn’t caught his attention with their movement. There might not be a Peace Corps if Sargent Shriver had listened to the respectable voices of caution. Virtually alone among all our organs of government, the Peace Corps is unique for its grassroots origin.
So as we grow the Peace Corps—as we get it the volunteers it needs and the increased funding it deserves—we must respect its roots. We must work to make it more decentralized, because service at its best is personal and spontaneous, and because volunteers know far more about conditions on the ground than we in Washington ever will.
We can start that transformation today. In the Senate, I’ve introduced a Peace Corps bill that would give volunteers more initiative and responsibility. We can set aside a portion of the annual Peace Corps budget as seed monies; volunteers can use the money for demonstration projects in their host countries or for “third goal” projects at home to promote understanding of the world. We can encourage volunteers to take advantage of the private sector by authorizing them to accept, under carefully-defined circumstances, donations to support their projects. We can bring the Peace Corps into the digital age by establishing websites and email links for use by volunteers in-country. And finally, we need to bring more volunteers into the decision-making process—they should have input into staffing decisions, site selection, language training, and country programs.
So we ought to work to make the Peace Corps bigger, and more decentralized, at the same time. I believe we can, at the same time, extend its worldwide reach and honor its grassroots past. Doing both is the best way to be true to the spirit that created it: the spirit that turned student activism into government action, that combined Cold War diplomacy with the spontaneous need to serve.
Warren Wiggins died last year, at the age of 84, and there was a line in his obituary that sums up the spirit behind our Peace Corps better than any I can think of. The obituary quoted Harris Wofford: “I think he embodied the watchwords that were once given to me: We must be more inventive if we’re going to do our duty.”
Inventiveness and duty: They’re qualities that don’t often go together. Duty can stifle imaginations; and creativity, in turn, can take us far afield from what we owe to others. Putting our creativity in the full service of our duty—it is one of the most difficult tasks there is. But it can be done—and when it is, what great things we can achieve!
The Peace Corps is proof. Today we honor it, and pledge ourselves to keep it young—because it’s done so much to keep us young ourselves. We are blessed to have had it in our lives.
World View Magazine While the Peace Corps is indelibly linked to the presidency of John F. Kennedy, there would not have been a Peace Corps without the efforts of Minnesota Sen. Hubert H. Humphrey (later Vice President of the United States). I had the privilege of serving as the foreign relations adviser to Senator Humphrey and working for the newly created Peace Corps, and so I had an extraordinary front row seat to observe “how it all began.” Unknown to most, Humphrey first put forward the idea of American volunteers serving abroad way back in 1948, in the Minneapolis living room of George and Dorothy Jacobsen. Also present was Humphrey’s close friend, Orville Freeman (later Governor of Minnesota and Secretary of Agriculture) and Freeman’s wife, Jane. George Jacobsen was active in the cooperative movement and he was discussing the great benefits of community development. According to Jane—who recently told me about the now-historic living room conversation— Humphrey leapt to the idea of a volunteer corps serving overseas and became very enthusiastic as he spoke about its potential. However the idea lay dormant for many years while Humphrey worked on legislation for his wide range of interests. (It was said that he “had more solutions than there were problems.”) The volunteer corps idea jumped back into his consciousness after a talk in 1956 with Ed Snyder, then the congressional lobbyist for the Quakers. They spoke about the admirable work that Quaker volunteers were doing abroad and Humphrey reaffirmed his keen interest in legislation whereby the U.S. government would fund a corps of young volunteers. He spoke about his idea on a number of speeches in the late 1950s. I went to work for the senator in 1960 and came across the Peace Corps idea in his files (although it still didn’t have a name) and asked him whether I could work on it. Humphrey was busy running in the Democratic presidential primaries and so he didn’t have much time to spend developing the legislation. He responded with an enthusiastic “Absolutely!” I spent part of the next six weeks interviewing anyone I could find who worked for organizations whose focus was assisting peoples in the developing countries (which mainly meant Christian missionary groups), and then wrote a draft of the legislation. The Senator said, “It looks good, but take it over to the people at the foreign aid administration (then called the International Cooperation Administration, or ICA) and see what they think.” I talked with six top ICA administrators–an hour each–and five of the six had the same reaction, which can be summarized as: “It is a lovely-sounding idea, but it will never work! We would be sending over all these young people to countries where age and experience are so respected. Also, the young volunteers would have to adapt to very different cultures, and they might mess up. Sorry to say it, but it just won’t work!” I returned to the office discouraged. I was a young man in my 20s and, I thought, those older, experienced people at ICA surely knew a lot more than I did. I reported their reaction to the senator and his response was vintage Humphrey. “That’s the trouble with those people in the Eisenhower administration!” he exploded. “Their attitude is ‘let’s not try anything new, no new starts!’ All they see are the problems! They place the problems so high (and he raised both arms over his head) that they don’t see the challenges. They don’t see the opportunities. I want to grasp the opportunities! Peter, draft me a bill!” I returned to my office and drafted a bill, based on Humphrey’s vision and on what I had learned from many, many interviews with persons who had done volunteer work abroad. Now, the question arose, what do we call this thing? Humphrey had some pieces of legislation and proposals with the word “peace” in them; the “Food for Peace” legislation was the best-known example at the time. To be consistent with the Humphrey “peace” theme, I toyed with the name “Works for Peace Corps.” However, that seemed a bit cumbersome and so I just wrote down the name “Peace Corps.” I floated it to a number of friends who worked in government. Some said, “’Peace Corps sounds really communistic!” Others said, “Don’t call it ‘Corps.’ That sounds too militaristic!” But Humphrey liked the name and somehow “Peace Corps” stuck and is still with us today.
Loren Finnell founded The Resource Foundation, an organization dedicated to cultivating productive relationships between more than one hundred private social development organizations in twenty three Latin American and Caribbean countries and selected donors.
In 2005, the National Peace Corps Association became aware of a pilot military recruitment program in which Peace Corps service was referenced as an option through which members of the armed services could complete their military obligation. Concerned that this initiative crossed a line in distinguishing between the two forms of service, NPCA launched a public education and advocacy effort to encourage removing Peace Corps from such initiatives.
In the House of Representatives, Congressman John Kline (R-MN) introduced H.R. 3709, legislation to remove Peace Corps references from the National Call to Service military recruitment program. A bi-partisan group of 38 Congressmen/women co-sponsored the legislation.
In the Senate, the leadership of key lawmakers including RPCV Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and John Warner (R-VA) resulted in the House language being incorporated into the Defense Authorization bill which was passed by Congress and signed by the President.
While the Peace Corps community honors many who have served in both the military and the Peace Corps, the success of this effort helped maintain a line of distinction between the two forms of service.
Washington Post Article:
Dr. Denny assisted in the establishment of the Malawi Children’s Village program which now serves the needs of over 3,200 children in 37 villages who have lost their parents to AIDS.
In addition to a distinguished career with the Foreign Service, Sue H. Patterson established WINGS, an organization which works to strengthen Guatemalan families through reproductive health, primarily family planning and cervical cancer screening.
Nobel Peace Prize Nomination Nobel Peace Prize Committee The Norwegian Nobel Institute Drammensveien 19, NO-0255 OSLO
As members of the United States Congress, we wish to nominate the Peace Corps and the National Peace Corps Association for the Year 2002 Nobel Peace Prize.
For 40 years, Peace Corps Volunteers have carried a message of peace, respect and cooperation all over the world. The collective achievement of 163,000 Volunteers serving in 135 countries is phenomenal. Thousands of schools have been built, hundreds of thousands of students have learned essential skills, agricultural production has been enhanced, small businesses have been created, new opportunities for women have emerged, health care programs have been established, and environmental protection has improved - all through the dedication of Peace Corps Volunteers.
The impact of Volunteers on international peace through understanding and cooperation goes far beyond development projects. Volunteers bring people and cultures together. They share ideas and ideals of their home community, but they also learn to speak the language, eat the food, sing the songs, and incorporate the qualities of their host communities into their own lives. They travel overseas to represent the United States, and they return home to represent the world within the United States. The central mission of all Volunteers, both overseas and after they return home, is peace.
The Peace Corps is so successful that at least 20 other countries have developed their own international volunteer programs. Inspired by the Peace Corps Volunteers who served there, Korea has created its own volunteer program to serve other nations. Following the Peace Corps model, other developing countries have created volunteer service programs to meet domestic needs. The Mali Volunteer Corps which, provides teachers and health care in rural villages, is only one example.
The impact of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs), represented by the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA), is as great as that of the Volunteers during their overseas service. The Peace Corps prepares its members for a lifetime of public service for peace and understanding - regardless of their professional career. Well-known Peace Corps veterans include UNICEF Director Carol Bellamy and former US Ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke. The United States Congress is home to one Senator and six Representatives who served as Peace Corps Volunteers.
RPCVs in the NGO world include Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club, Jonathan Lash, president of World Resources Institute, and Thomas Tighe, president of Direct Relief International. US ambassadors, such as Frank Almaguer, Johnnie Carson, David Greenlee, and many others, gained their international perspective through Peace Corps service.
RPCV groups maintain contact with their countries of service, and in several cases they have helped warring nations and factions find a path to peace. "Friends of Liberia" has played a vital role in the challenging peace process in the West African country. Working through the NPCA, dozens of RPCVs from the Great Lakes region of Africa returned to help secure the peace and begin redevelopment in Rwanda following the genocide in that country. The NPCA sponsored a group of RPCVs who devoted themselves to promoting the peace process in the Ethiopia and Eritrea border war. When peace finally arrived, members of the group were invited to Algiers to witness the signing of the treaty. Currently, members of that team and others are engaged in a similar project seeking solutions to the Congo civil war, and they have been invited to help Israeli and Palestinian NGOs more effectively build a foundation for peace in the Middle East.
In addition to these group efforts, individual RPCVs have made an impact on peace all over the world. Julia Demichelis, for example, has been an active peace-maker in the Balkans and in several parts of Africa. Robert Pastor, working with Former President Jimmy Carter, has been a central figure in peace initiatives in Haiti and throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Sargent Shriver, the founding director of the Peace Corps, has been a champion of peace throughout his extraordinary career as an ambassador and as chairman of Special Olympics International.
Returned Volunteers and former Peace Corps staff are among the world's most effective peacemakers. We would be happy to provide details on each of these and many more cases of leadership for peace on the part of the Peace Corps and the National Peace Corps Association.
The collective value of Peace Corps Volunteers and RPCVs for world peace cannot be measured. It is manifest in the lives of millions of people who gained hope and respect for themselves and others because Peace Corps Volunteers demonstrated hope and respect for them. Having been given the tools and skills to help themselves, the communities that have been host to the Peace Corps continue to improve their quality of life long after the Volunteers have gone. The value is unmistakable in the respect Returned Volunteers find among heads of state who respond to their efforts to bring peace to troubled lands.
Former Peace Corps Volunteer teams who work on peace initiatives bring nothing more to the process than goodwill and determination nurtured during overseas service. They have no money, no arms, and no official credentials. Most of them work on the projects as volunteers once again - without compensation. Yet, they are embraced at the highest levels by governments seeking help to end wars.
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia sent the following message to the RPCV team that helped bring an end to Ethiopia's war with Eritrea, "I write to you and to your colleagues to express my profound appreciation for your friendship, and for all the concern you have demonstrated during one of the most difficult periods for our country. Most of all I wish to thank you for all the effort you have made to help us achieve peace. I can assure you… your contribution was indeed invaluable for creating the momentum and the spirit which made this historic achievement possible."
The Peace Corps and the community of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, represented by the National Peace Corps Association, create the climate, the conditions, the momentum, and the spirit of peace that is needed all over the world. For this reason, they deserve the Nobel Peace Prize.
As members of the Congress, we urge you to award the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize to the Peace Corps and the National Peace Corps Association.
Thank you very much for considering this request.
Sam Farr, M.C. Tom Petri, M.C. Jim Walsh, M.C. Chris Shays, M.C. Lloyd Doggett, M.C. Barbara Lee, M.C. Betty McCollum, M.C. Bob Filner, M.C. Tom Lantos, M.C. E.B. Johnson, M.C.
Molly Melching was honored for her work in helping Senegalese villagers achieve independence and self-sufficiency through her non-formal, culture-based education programs.
Julia Demichelis has worked with numerous non-government organizations committed to rebuilding communities destroyed by wars in the Balkans and in Africa.
First “bridge-building” trip undertaken to Iran. Logistics organized by the Friendship Force International of Atlanta. NPCA sponsored another friendship exchange to Iran in 2002.
David Schweidenback recognized the economic power of the bicycle and founded Pedals for Progress to deliver thousands of bicycles to the developing world.
Kevin George was honored for his role as a citizen-activist for the country of Liberia and President of Friends of Liberia.
Pastor promoted the role individual citizens play in building democratic institutions in the volatile nations of the developing world.
Before Facebook, before e-mail, before cds, during a time where Windows NT 3.1&3.5 were the dominating operating systems, there was 3/1/61...the National Peace Corps Association's quarterly network mini magazine for members. The original cover story: Talking about the importance of minority recruitment to represent the true faces of America abroad, with Chuck Baquet who was then the deputy director of Peace Corps. One article posted in 3/1/61 "graph form" was the changing demographic between men and women from the 60s till the 90s. In the early years gender statistics showed that many more men served than women, in the late 80s women surpassed men and have widened the margin ever since.
As a member of Congress, Tony Hall chaired the Hunger Caucus leading to significant policy and legislative initiatives toward the elimination of hunger and international development.
In response to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, NPCA created the Emergency Response Network (ERN) of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers willing to respond to crises when needed. Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan subsequently modeled the Crisis Corps (later renamed Peace Corps Response) after this successful program.
Worldview magazine Spring 1995 issue: Article Helping Rwanda by David Arnold addresses the genocide that occurred, and the commitment and dedication Return Peace Corps Volunteers had to setup and implement various goals to bring aid to the Rwandan refugees.
A new country agreement was signed with the Government of Rwanda on July 18, 2008. The first new group of thirty-five Public Health trainees arrived in January 2009. They will be assigned to the Ministry of Health and the National AIDS Committee to health centers throughout the country.
Some Volunteers will be assigned to work on HIV/AIDS prevention programs, funded by the President's Emergency Program For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and administered by the National Committee to Fight against AIDS. Other Volunteers will be assigned to the Ministry of Health. In addition to efforts to prevent AIDS, all of the Volunteers will work on issues such as nutrition, malaria prevention, vaccinations and income generation.