First Lady Announces New Peace Corps Women's Fund; Greets New Jordan Volunteers
April 30, 1997WASHINGTON, D.C., April 30, 1997—First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, at a White House ceremony recognizing the first group of Peace Corps volunteers to serve in Jordan, announced the creation of a new Peace Corps fund for women.
Named in honor of Loret Miller Ruppe, the longest-serving Peace Corps director and a champion of women in development, the "Loret Miller Ruppe Fund for the Advancement of Women" will provide small grants to support community-based projects that strengthen the role of women in the development of their countries. An initial grant to the new fund was made from the estate of Mrs. Ruppe, who died last August.
Mrs. Clinton also recognized the Peace Corps contingent leaving for Jordan. The group of 29 volunteers—22 women and seven men—will spend two years working with Jordanian counterparts in rural communities on income-generating projects for women and on eco-tourism projects in national parks. As part of the Peace Corps' Women in Development initiative, the volunteers will work with partners from the Queen Noor and Queen Alia foundations.
Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan said, "Loret was a tireless advocate for Peace Corps volunteers, visiting thousands during her eight years as director. She also recognized the critical role that Peace Corps volunteers played in helping women in developing nations. In much the same way, this group of volunteers going to Jordan recognizes that important link. Most of these volunteers will assist women, whether in community development, small business projects, or eco-tourism."
Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, who served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Iran from 1962-64, also addressed the volunteers.
Jordan represents the 132nd country the Peace Corps has entered in its 36-year history. Currently, about 6,500 Peace Corps volunteers are working in 91 countries in the areas of business, the environment, education, health and nutrition, and agriculture. Since 1961, more than 148,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps.