Mark Schneider Confirmed as Peace Corps Director; Senate Unanimously Approves Former Peace Corps Volunteer to Head Agency
October 27, 2000Washington, D.C., October 27, 2000—Mark L. Schneider, who was appointed by President Clinton to head the Peace Corps last December, was unanimously confirmed as director by the United States Senate yesterday. Schneider is the second former Peace Corps volunteer to lead the Peace Corps and is the agency's 15th director.
Since his appointment last year, Schneider has launched several initiatives designed to lead the Peace Corps into the 21st century and enhance the impact that volunteers have in developing countries. Schneider called for all volunteers in Africa to be retrained as HIV/AIDS prevention educators. He has placed a new emphasis on expanding the use of information technology and computers in Peace Corps volunteers' projects in their overseas communities. At a recent United Nations summit on polio, he committed the Peace Corps to help eradicate the disease over the next five years. He also has pressed new efforts in municipal development, natural disaster mitigation and biodiversity preservation linked to poverty reduction. "I am deeply honored that United States Senate has confirmed me as the director of the Peace Corps, and I appreciate the confidence that members of the Senate from both parties have expressed. I also remain enormously grateful to President Clinton for nominating me to this extraordinary job," Schneider said. "I pledge to do all I can to see that Peace Corps volunteers receive the best training and support that we can provide to ensure that they can carry out their mission and help the people of developing countries help themselves," said Schneider.
Schneider brings an extensive and distinguished background in public service to the Peace Corps. Prior to his appointment as Peace Corps director, Schneider was the assistant administrator of the Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean at the United States Agency for International Development. In addition, Schneider served as a senior official at the Pan American Health Organization, as senior deputy assistant secretary of state for human rights from 1977 to 1979, and as a staff member for U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) from 1970 to 1977. He served with his wife, Susan, as a Peace Corps volunteer in El Salvador from 1966 to 1968.
Schneider is the recipient of the Bernardo O'Higgins Medal for human rights work from the Government of Chile, an honorary doctor of law degree from the American University, and the first George Eastman medal from the University of Rochester. He also has been a congressional fellow of the American Political Science Association, a Woodrow Wilson visiting fellow at Reed College, a visiting professor at Georgetown University and visiting lecturer at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.