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Aaron S. Williams to Step Down as Peace Corps Director

Washington, D.C. – Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams today announced that he informed the President of his intention to step down as the head of the international volunteer agency.  Director Williams cited personal and family considerations as the reason for his departure.  He will conclude his tenure as Director on September 17, 2012.

In his letter to the President, Director Williams (returned Peace Corps volunteer, Dominican Republic, 1967-1970) said, “The Peace Corps is a stronger and more vibrant agency because of your global leadership and support of the ideals of service envisioned by our founder, Sargent Shriver. Serving as the Director of the Peace Corps has been the highpoint of my career in public service.  Thank you for providing me with the opportunity to lead such an inspiring and significant mission.”

Under Director Williams’s leadership, who was sworn in August of 2009, the Peace Corps underwent some of the most significant reforms in its more than 50-year history.  The annual portfolio review the Peace Corps now utilizes is a comprehensive analysis to ensure the agency is maximizing its resources and strategic focus to better serve people around the world.  As a result, the Peace Corps has been able to expand into new countries such as Sierra Leone, Indonesia, Colombia, Tunisia and Nepal.

The agency also increased its partnership development efforts to help promote the mission of the Peace Corps, including work with the Special Olympics, and Presidential Initiatives such as the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the President’s Malaria Initiative and Feed the Future.  And with the launch of the Global Health Service Partnership and expansion of Peace Corps Response, more Americans now have the opportunity to serve.

Finally, Director Williams worked closely with Congress to codify several reforms put in place under his leadership as well as increasing support to Peace Corps volunteers in the field including hiring a victim advocate; enhancing safety and security, as well as support and response for volunteers; and improving training for volunteers and staff.  

Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Deputy Director of the Peace Corps (returned Peace Corps volunteer, Western Samoa, 1981-1983), will begin serving as Acting Peace Corps Director.  Hessler-Radelet served as Deputy Director since June of 2010.  As Deputy Director, Hessler-Radelet has been instrumental in the management of the agency-wide assessment and implementation of reforms across the organization.  To view Hessler-Radelet’s bio, click here.

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