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Peace Corps Volunteers Use Technology to Bring Cultural Experiences Home

Winners of New Volunteer Blog Contest Featured at First-Ever Returned Volunteer Summit

WASHINGTON, D.C, August 22, 2013 – Peace Corps kicks off the first-ever Third Goal Mobilization Summit Friday in Washington, D.C., in support of the agency’s third goal of promoting a better understanding among Americans of other people and cultures around the world. The two-day interactive Summit brings together returned Peace Corps volunteers from across the country to exchange ideas and acquire new tools to help Americans better understand the countries where volunteers serve.

As part of the Summit, six winners of the first volunteer Blog It Home contest will travel from their countries of service to present their blogs and discuss how they are using technology to bring the world home. The new contest launched in June, and in addition to their Summit presentations, the winners will also present at Mt. Pleasant Library on Saturday in Washington, D.C.  Winners include Jedd and Michelle Chang of Portland, Ore., currently serving in Jamaica; Joshua Cook and Jennifer Klein of St. Paul, Minn., currently serving in Ethiopia; Sara Kline of Los Angeles, Calif., currently serving in Thailand; and Jessica Lavash of Tracy, Calif., currently serving in Mexico.  

Technology has changed the way the world communicates, and it not only helps Peace Corps volunteers promote development change in the countries they serve, but also helps current and returned volunteers share their service stories and experiences to broaden cultural awareness and global perspective. In 2012, nearly 65 percent of volunteers around the world had Internet connectivity.

“We started our blog because we wanted a fun, interactive way to share our adventure with our friends and family,” Jedd Chang said. “We also realized from other Peace Corps blogs that it’s a great way to learn about what our fellow volunteers are doing in their countries of service and around the world. It's been great to hear from our readers regarding the things they've learned about Jamaica and Peace Corps through our blog.”

“We believe that we can really impact people back home by sharing what we've learned in Jamaica and raise awareness about life here,” his wife, Michelle, said.

Long after volunteers return home, their Peace Corps service continues as they share their experiences and host country culture with other Americans. Peace Corps’ Office of Third Goal and Re­turned Volunteer Services provides career, education and transition assis­tance to the thousands of Peace Corps volunteers who return to the U.S. each year. Learn more about the first-ever Third Goal Mobilization Summit here.

Press interested in covering the Summit, attending the Blog It Home contest winners’ presentations, or interviewing the winners can email pressoffice@peacecorps.gov.

About the Peace Corps:  Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps by executive order on March 1, 1961, more than 210,000 Americans have served in 139 host countries. Today, 8,073 volunteers are working with local communities in 76 host countries in agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health and youth in development. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment and the agency’s mission is to promote world peace and friendship and a better understanding between Americans and people of other countries. Visit www.peacecorps.gov for more information.

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