Mark L. Schneider Named Director of the Peace Corps; Schneider, a Former Peace Corps Volunteer, is 15th Leader of the Agency
December 23, 1999WASHINGTON, D.C., December 23, 1999—President Clinton today named Mark L. Schneider as Director of the Peace Corps in a recess appointment, making him the agency's 15th Director. Schneider, 57, the second returned Peace Corps volunteer to head the agency, has joined the Peace Corps at a time when it is more popular than at any time in a generation.
"I want to express my gratitude and sincerest appreciation to President Clinton for the trust he has shown in appointing me to be the Director of the Peace Corps," Schneider said. "As a former Peace Corps volunteer in El Salvador from 1966-68, this appointment constitutes the highest honor I can imagine receiving."
Schneider leaves his position as the assistant administrator of the Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). He served in that position since November 1993, directing U.S. foreign assistance programs in this hemisphere, supporting democracy, social and economic development and environmental protection.
Prior to his work at USAID, Schneider served as chief of the Office of Analysis and Strategic Planning and as senior policy adviser to the director at the Pan American Health Organization. In addition, he served as senior deputy assistant secretary for human rights at the Department of State from 1977 to 1979.
He was the recipient of the Bernardo O'Higgins Medal for human rights work from the Government of Chile, of a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellowship at Reed College, and of the Congressional Fellowship of the American Political Science Association.
"The opportunity to follow so many distinguished men and women who preceded me as Peace Corps Director also carries a certain degree of humility. From the Honorable R. Sargent Shriver to Loret Ruppe and Senator Paul Coverdell to Carol Bellamy and my immediate predecessor, Mark Gearan, there is an enormous legacy to which I pledge to contribute to the best of my ability," Schneider said.
Schneider's wife Susan also served with him as a Peace Corps volunteer in El Salvador. They have two children. Their son Aaron is a Ph.D. candidate in political science at the University of California-Berkeley, and their daughter Miriam is a junior at Duke University.
A fluent Spanish speaker, Schneider received his bachelor's degree from the University of California-Berkeley and his master's degree from San Jose State University.
Currently, more than 7,000 Peace Corps volunteers are working in 78 countries to bring clean water to communities, teach children, protect the environment, help start new businesses, and prevent the spread of AIDS. Since 1961, more than 155,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps.