Masters International Program at University of Washington Takes Off

January 31, 2002

Seattle, Washington, January 31, 2002-—Since its launch last year, the Peace Corps Master’s International program at the University of Washington’s Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs has gained rapid momentum. In addition to enrolling a full first class of 11 students and attracting numerous inquiries from potential future students, the program has built community partnerships, generated significant financial support and incorporated an important new technology component.

The Peace Corps’ Master’s International (MI) program offers graduate students the opportunity to incorporate Peace Corps volunteer service into a master’s degree program. At the Evans School, the MI program combines Peace Corps overseas service with classroom work, culminating in a Master of Public Administration degree.

Anchored with a challenge grant from the Henry M. Jackson Foundation, the UW’s program is the only one on the West Coast with a focus on training students in nongovernmental organization (NGO) development. Students undergo an intensive year of coursework at the Evans School before embarking on a 27-month Peace Corps assignment with a host country institution. After completing their Peace Corps service, students return to the Evans School for a final term and completion of a degree project.

A program-enhancement grant from the Soros Foundation will allow students to learn how technology impacts NGOs and the communities they serve. Microsoft Consulting Services will donate training for the students, and partnerships with the UW’s Center for Internet Studies and several technology-focused community nonprofits will further enhance students’ technology skills to help meet host country needs.

The Jackson Foundation funding and support from the Scottish Rite Scholarship Foundation of Washington provide for student fellowships. The financial support of a growing number of individuals, largely returned Peace Corps volunteers, has also given the program a boost. Rotary International has committed seed funding for innovative projects involving MI students and host country NGOs.

Students say they were attracted to the way the program linked graduate school with their desire to serve in the Peace Corps. “What a fabulous thing to get credit for something that you want to do,” said graduate student Kasha Roseta, 23, who moved to Seattle from Eugene, Oregon, for the program. The Evans School program waives nine credits of coursework for students who complete the full Peace Corps service assignment.

“Peace Corps service provides a wonderful opportunity for people to grow and to understand the global nature of the world,” said Evans School Director of International Programs Elisabeth Mitchell (RPCV, Oman). “Combined with the MI program, students have an excellent opportunity to relate theory with practice.” Northwest Peace Corps Regional Manager Josh Fliegel agreed. “The Master’s International Program provides a great opportunity for students who want to help others overseas and, at the same time, to enhance their postgraduate education.”

For more information on the Evans School’s MI program, contact Assistant Dean Elaine Chang at (206) 616-1607 or [email protected] Information about the Peace Corps or the overall Master’s International Program is available at www.peacecorps.gov or by calling (800) 424-8580.

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