Peace Corps Director Emphasizes Importance of Girls’ Education at White House United State of Women Summit

June 14, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 14, 2016 – Today, Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet moderated a panel discussion on the importance of girls’ education during the White House United State of Women Summit in Washington, D.C.  The panel, titled Learning without Limits: Transcending Barriers to Girls' Education Globally, focused on the President and First Lady’s Let Girls Learn initiative and the importance of addressing barriers to girls’ education worldwide. Panel participants discussed their individual efforts to improve access to education for girls and how others can become involved.

“There has never been a moment like this for women and girls in the world,” said Director Hessler-Radelet. “With the support of the First Lady and Let Girls Learn, we have been given a tremendous platform not only to elevate the challenges women and girls are facing worldwide, but more importantly, to be the change we want to see and to truly move the needle for women and girls.”

Launched in March 2015, Let Girls Learn is a U.S. government effort that aims to address the range of challenges preventing 62 million adolescent girls from attending and completing school, and from realizing their potential as adults. Since the launch of Let Girls Learn, with the help of corporate partners and individual donors from all over the U.S., Peace Corps has funded more than 200 Let Girls Learn projects in 33 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Central America. In addition, more than 800 Peace Corps volunteers have already received training to become catalysts for community-led change to improve girls’ access to education and empowerment.

Director Hessler-Radelet was joined by panelist Charlene Espinoza, returned Peace Corps volunteer and Founder and CEO of Bosh Bosh Inc.; Gina Tesla, returned Peace Corps volunteer and Director of Corporate Citizenship at IBM; Anna Maria Chavez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA; Christina Lowery, CEO of Girl Rising; Ann Cotton, Founder of Camfed International; Angelique Kidjo, singer and songwriter; Kakenya Ntaiya, Founder and President of Kakenya Center for Excellence; and Rebecca Winthrop, Director of the Center for Universal Education at Brookings Institute.

Two new commitments to Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn Fund were announced during the Summit from PayPal and the Hershey Company. These commitments will support community-led Peace Corps volunteer projects that increase girls’ access to educational opportunities. In total, Let Girls Learn corporate and philanthropic partners have committed over two million dollars toward the Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn Fund to support community-led, adolescent girls’ education projects around the world. 

About the Peace Corps: The Peace Corps sends the best and brightest Americans abroad on behalf of the United States to tackle the most pressing needs of people around the world. Volunteers work at the grassroots level to develop sustainable solutions that address challenges in education, health, economic development, agriculture, environment and youth development. Through their service, volunteers gain a unique cultural understanding and a life-long commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today's global economy. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, nearly 220,000 Americans of all ages have served in 140 countries worldwide. For more information, visit peacecorps.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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