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Wednesday, March 22, 2023


Sessions Include Fireside Chat Between Peace Corps Director Carol Spahn and Bennett College President Suzanne Walsh, and Global Conversations with Peace Corps Country Directors

(GREENSBORO, N.C. | Wednesday, March 22, 2023) – The Peace Corps and Bennett College will co-host a day-long hybrid thought leader forum focused on gender equity, diversity and inclusion, and the power of service on March 22, 2023, from noon until 3:30 p.m. ET in Greensboro, N.C.

Peace Corps Director Carol Spahn and Bennett College President Suzanne Walsh will start the day in a conversation around how diversity is interwoven into the fabric of international development and the shared commitment by the two institutions of preparing Bennett students and Peace Corps Volunteers to become global leaders and champions of gender equity.

“Underrepresentation and gender inequity impede sustained progress,” said Peace Corps Director Carol Spahn. “Only when we lift as one, embracing individuals of all walks of life and providing everyone with skills and opportunities, will we reach our full international development potential. I am so grateful to President Walsh and Bennett students for being thought partners to the Peace Corps, as we work to honor the dignity of all people and to take diversity, gender equity, and service to the next level.”

The forum will be followed by a thought leaders panel featuring returned Peace Corps volunteers (RPCVs) who have become thought leaders and influencers in various fields throughout the United States and around the world.

Distinguished panelists include:
Latanya Mapp-Frett, President and CEO, Global Fund for Women (RPCV Lesotho)
Jaynice Del Rosario, Program Officer, Girls First Fund (RPCV Ethiopia)
Besem Obenson, Representative, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Guatemala (RPCV Paraguay)

“As the daughter of a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Nigeria in the very first year of the Peace Corps, I understand the impact that volunteers have on global communities. And, as President of Bennett College, I’m honored to say that one of our distinguished Bennett Belles, Carolyn R. Payton ’45, paved the way for African Americans and people of color in the Peace Corps when she became both the first African American and first female Director of the organization in 1977, appointed by President Jimmy Carter. Bennett Belles are global citizens with a passion for leadership, activism, and impacting their communities and the world. Director Payton carried that passion and persistence with her throughout her life and career, including when she became Director of the Peace Corps,” said Bennett College President Suzanne Walsh. “We continue that legacy of breaking down barriers, wherever they exist, through our work on behalf of gender equity and inclusion.”

The forum will conclude with a panel centered on global conversations with Peace Corps Country Directors from four countries. In addition to country-specific information and benefits of service, the leaders will also discuss four of the six sectors in which Peace Corps operates: Education, Economic Development, Environment and Health.

Country directors include:
Melissa Meno, Director of Programming and Training, Peace Corps Panama
Stephanie Joseph de Goes, Country Director, Peace Corps Tanzania
Nadine Rogers, Country Director, Peace Corps Guyana
Carolyne Siganda, Country Director, Peace Corps Kosovo

To participate in the event virtually register here.

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The Peace Corps is an international service network of volunteers, community members, host country partners and staff who are driven by the agency’s mission of world peace and friendship. At the invitation of governments around the world, Peace Corps volunteers work alongside community members on locally-prioritized projects in the areas of education, health, environment, agriculture, community economic development and youth development. Through service, members of the Peace Corps network develop transferable skills and hone intercultural competencies that position them to be the next generation of global leaders. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, more than 240,000 Americans have served in 143 countries worldwide. For more information, visit and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

About Bennett College Bennett College is ranked the #1 national liberal arts college for social mobility by global education ranking authority U.S. News & World Report, in their 2022 Best Colleges list. Founded in 1873, Bennett is an historically black college committed to cultivating bold women leaders, entrepreneurs and agents of social change. Legendary Bennett leaders include alumna Dr. Carolyn Payton, appointed in 1977 by US President Jimmy Carter as the first woman and first African American Director of the Peace Corps; former Bennett professor and current United States Congresswoman Alma Adams, founder and co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional HBCU Caucus; alumna Glendora Putnam, first African American woman to serve as assistant attorney general in the state of Massachusetts; and alumna Beverly Buchanan, an artist whose work is in the collection the Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Whitney Museum of American Art. For more information, visit

Peace Corps
Troy Blackwell
Peace Corps Director of Press Relations and Spokesperson
[email protected]

Bennett College
Phanalphie Rhue
Chief Global Communications & Experience Officer
[email protected]