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Peace Corps and IBM Corporate Service Corps Team Up to Help Communities Around the World Thrive

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 2, 2015 – The Peace Corps and IBM (NYSE: IBM) are launching an innovative public-private partnership to allow highly skilled corporate professionals to serve overseas in short-term, high-impact pro bono consulting assignments through the Peace Corps Response program.

The initiative, announced yesterday by Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet and Stanley S. Litow, IBM's Vice President of Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs and president of the IBM International Foundation, is one of the first of its kind and set to launch in three countries next year.

“We are thrilled to embark on this new partnership that will bring together IBM’s multinational reach with Peace Corps’ grassroots network,” Hessler-Radelet said. “Peace Corps and IBM share a common dedication to problem-solving in a way that makes a measurable impact in the world, whether it is reinventing information and revolutionizing technology or helping communities address pressing needs at the last mile of development.”

The IBM Corporate Service Corps was created in 2008 to help solve  some of the most challenging problems in communities around the world while providing IBM employees with unique leadership development. Participants spend four weeks in groups of 10 to 15 working collaboratively with their host government and community counterparts to develop blueprints that address issues ranging from economic development, energy and transportation, to education and healthcare.  The program is managed by IBM Director of Corporate Citizenship Initiatives Gina Tesla, who served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Panama from 2000 to 2002.  

Through the innovative partnership, the Peace Corps Response program will engage teams of IBM’s top global talent. Peace Corps Response was originally created to send returned Peace Corps volunteers to short-term, specialized volunteer assignments. In 2012, Peace Corps expanded the Response program to include Americans with at least 10 years of work experience and required language skills.

“We have enormous respect for the Peace Corps and what it has been able to accomplish in its nearly 55- year history,” Litow said. IBM's Corporate Service Corps represents an innovative adaption of the Peace Corps model where a company’s most skilled employees can work in teams addressing some of the world’s most challenging problems. Formally working in close partnership with the Peace Corps is a validation of the unique model that IBM established. With Peace Corps' and IBM's long term commitments to pro bono problem solving, the globe's most critical projects will have an even better chance to be sustainable, repeatable and effective.”

The first collaboration will take place in Ghana next year to support the Let Girls Learn initiative. Launched by the President and First Lady earlier this year, Let Girls Learn is a government-wide collaboration striving to eliminate the barriers 62 million girls worldwide face when trying to receive an education. Since the launch of Let Girls Learn, hundreds of Peace Corps volunteers have received additional training to make them agents of change for girls' education. 

About the Peace Corps: The Peace Corps sends the best and brightest Americans abroad on behalf of the United States to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Volunteers work at the grassroots level to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Through their service, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today’s global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, nearly 220,000 Americans of all ages have served in 140 countries worldwide. For more information, visit www.peacecorps.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About IBM Corporate Service Corps: IBM Corporate Service Corps is a global pro-bono initiative through which IBM deploys teams of top achieving employees to emerging market countries. These global and multicultural multi-ethnic teams spend one month on the ground working with local government, nonprofit civic groups, and small business. Participating IBM employees offer skills that include technology, scientific research, marketing, finance, human resources, law, and economic development. By the end of 2015, IBM Corporate Service Corps will have dispatched approximately 2,800 IBM employees originating from over 60 countries on engagements to 38 countries -- making this pro bono problem solving program the world's largest of its kind. For more information, please visit www.ibm.com/ibm/responsibility/corporateservicecorps/.

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