Peace Corps Director Announces Joint Committee with National Peace Corps Association

Talent, Motivation of Thousands of Returned Volunteers, Former Staff Could Further Agency’s Mission

Washington, D.C., August 22, 2002—Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez announced the creation of a joint liaison committee with the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) to identify the best ways to harness the talent and motivation of thousands of returned Peace Corps volunteers and former agency staffers. The committee will explore the roles these individuals and groups can play in furthering the Peace Corps mission and supporting its recruitment activities. “After 41 years of exemplary service to the world, the pool of talent is large and the potential for help is enormous,” says Director Vasquez. “There are 20,000 former Peace Corps staff and 165,000 returned Peace Corps volunteers (RPCVs), many of whom are still active. If we can avail ourselves of their continued desire to make the world a better place, the Peace Corps can significantly advance towards its goals of doubling the number of Volunteers by the year 2007, diversifying its ranks and also continuing its mission of fostering mutual understanding between Americans and the peoples of the world,” he added.

Initially, the liaison committee will seek ways to engage RPCVs and former staff in recruitment efforts for new volunteers and staff, with a particular emphasis on people of ethnic and age diversity. Identifying ways of engaging local NPCA and “Friends of The Peace Corps” chapters in agency activities is also seen as a priority. The committee will look at ways of increasing the involvement of more recently returned volunteers. Finally, it will explore how to expand the Crisis Corps. Crisis Corps volunteers provide short- term disaster relief and humanitarian response assistance. Since 1996, more than 460 Crisis Corps volunteers have served in 30 countries on programs involving HIV/AIDS, disaster relief, humanitarian response, and post-conflict country assistance.

Peace Corps Deputy Director Jody Olsen will be the senior agency representative on the committee and will chair the Peace Corps delegation. That contingent will include Director of Crisis Corps, Dan Sullivan; Associate Director of Volunteer Recruitment and Selection, Chuck Brooks; Director of Communications, Ellen Field; Director of Private Sector, Nanci Brannan; Regional Office Director for the New York area, Edwin Jorge and Director of Domestic Programs Allene Zanger. Dane Smith, NPCA Executive Director, will chair the NPCA delegation.

Since 1961, more than 165,000 Volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as agriculture, small business and community development, education, environmental conservation, health and information technology. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age (there is no upper age limit). Most programs require a college degree and all majors are welcome. Non-degreed applicants must have three to five years of experience in business, farming, ranching or a skilled trade. Peace Corps service is a two-year commitment. Its benefits include language and cultural training, medical and dental coverage, housing, as well as a monthly stipend and 24 vacation days a year. Volunteers may defer repayment of various student loans while serving.

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