Jody K. Olsen Named Acting Director of the Peace Corps

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 16, 2009 - Dr. Jody K. Olsen was asked this week by President-elect Obama\'s transition team to serve as acting director of the Peace Corps, effective as of noon on Tuesday, January 20, 2009. Dr. Olsen will assume the role of acting director until President Obama\'s Administration selects an individual to assume the role of director.

"I am honored by the trust the transition team has placed in me, and grateful to be representing the Peace Corps, one of America\'s finest agencies." said Dr. Olsen. "From the time I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tunisia up until now in my role as acting director, it has truly been a privilege to serve the agency."

Dr. Olsen has had a long and distinguished career with the Peace Corps, beginning as a Volunteer in Tunisia from 1966 to 1968, teaching English and developing community health programs. In 1979 and 1980, she was Peace Corps country director in Togo, a program which focused on education, health, and agriculture.

Between 1981 and 1984, Dr. Olsen served as regional director for the Peace Corps, managing operations in 17 countries. She returned to the agency in 1989 to serve for three years as chief of staff, during which time the agency expanded into 25 new countries. Dr. Olsen returned to the agency again in 2002 to serve as the deputy director, a position she has held until becoming acting director.

Dr. Olsen holds a bachelor\'s degree in sociology with a teaching certification from the University of Utah, a master\'s degree in social work from the University of Maryland, and a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland\'s College of Education.

Dr. Olsen has received numerous awards for her leadership and public service including: the Alumni of the Year Award from the University of Utah; the Alumni of the Year Award and Alumni Hall of Fame distinction from the University of Marylands College of Education; the Marita Houlihan Award (for outstanding efforts and commitment to fostering international exchange) from NAFSA; and an honorary doctorate in International Sustainable Development from Michigan Technological University.

As the Peace Corps approaches its 50th anniversary, its service legacy continues to promote peace and friendship around the world. Historically, over 195,000 Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries in which they have served. Currently, 7,876 Peace Corps Volunteers are serving in 76 countries. Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.

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