Peace Corps and the United Nations Volunteer Program Strengthen 30-Year Relationship

November 22, 2004

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 22, 2004 – The Peace Corps and the United Nations Volunteer (UNV) program have signed a Memorandum of Cooperation, formalizing an over 30-year partnership that solidifies the two organizations' continued collaboration.

While the Peace Corps has acted as the recruiting and organizing agency for U.S. citizens who want to become United Nations volunteers since 1971, this memorandum marks the first formal agreement. The new agreement clearly defines the areas of cooperation, the responsibilities of both organizations, and the shared philosophies of both the Peace Corps and the UNV.

"We look forward with great enthusiasm to closer collaboration with the United Nations Volunteer program in the recruitment of Americans – whether they are returned Peace Corps volunteers or those with other international experience – wanting to serve as UN volunteers," said Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez.

In 1971, the first Peace Corps/UN volunteer was assigned to provide technical expertise in agriculture in Yemen. Since then, the Peace Corps has worked with the UNV as its organizing agency in the U.S. to send approximately 24 of the U.S.' best and brightest to service posts as UN volunteers each year. These co-sponsored volunteers receive the same benefits as Peace Corps volunteers, including a readjustment allowance and travel to and from the host country.

Typically, UN volunteers are in their early 40's, have over 15 years of experience in their field, and have substantial work experience in developing countries. Most volunteers possess highly-specialized skills in many of the following fields: business/finance; organizational management; civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering; water and sanitation management; forestry and natural resource management; information technology; and agriculture and health-related fields.

The UNV office at the Peace Corps recruits, processes, evaluates, fields and supports U.S. candidates for the UNV program. The UNV office also serves as the U.S. point of contact for inquiries regarding the UNV program. For more information on applying to become a Peace Corps/UN volunteer, please click here.

Based in Bonn, Germany, the UNV is the United Nations organization that supports sustainable human development globally through the promotion of volunteerism, including the mobilization of volunteers. As a part of its activities each year, the UNV provides the opportunity for more than 5,500 skilled and experienced professionals, 70 percent coming from developing countries, to support peace, relief and development initiatives in 140 countries. In addition, it engages thousands of other individuals in the work of the UN through http://www.onlinevolunteering.org, and manages the WorldVolunteerWeb, a global volunteering portal that serves as a knowledge resource base for campaigning, advocacy, information dissemination and networking.

Since 1961, more than 171,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health, HIV/AIDS education and prevention, information technology, business development, the environment, and agriculture. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a two-year commitment.

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