Peace Corps Director Holds Asian American/Pacific Islander Roundtable to Strengthen Agencys Diversity Strategy

Washington, D.C., July 29, 2002–Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez met with local Asian American and Pacific Island leaders on Friday, July 26, 2002, in a roundtable discussion of the agency’s strategy for diversifying its volunteers and staff. The goal was to promote a greater understanding of America’s diversity and to diversify the Peace Corps so that it more accurately reflects the rich fabric of the American culture.

In an effort announced and supported by President George W. Bush, the Peace Corps aims to double the number of volunteers over the next five years. Friday’s roundtable was the first of many discussions with ethnic minority leaders about strengthening the Peace Corps’ diversity strategy, paramount to a successful Peace Corps expansion.

Asian American/Pacific Islanders are seen as an important source of potential Peace Corps volunteers. As the numbers currently reflect, ethnic minorities make up only 15 percent of the total volunteers, with Asian American/Pacific Islanders representing four percent. Since 1961, the Peace Corps’ active recruitment of people from different ethnic backgrounds and age groups has played a central role in building the agency’s great legacy of service.

Director Vasquez commented, “I am truly committed to enhancing the diversity of the Peace Corps. Towards that end, I am delighted to be able to count on such a prestigious group of leaders in the Asian American/Pacific Islander community to help guide us in our efforts. As the Peace Corps expands and grows, we will depend on their help and counsel."

Each year, the Peace Corps sends thousands of trained men and women to live and work in interested countries around the world. The Peace Corps is working to ensure that even more people of color can experience the opportunities for professional and personal growth that come with serving as a volunteer.

More than 165,000 volunteers have served in 135 countries since the Peace Corps was established in 1961. Today, more than 7,000 volunteers serve in programs to address education, health and HIV/AIDS, information technology, business development, the environment, and agriculture.

photo of Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez and Deputy Director Jody Olsen with local Asian American and Pacific Island leaders

Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez and Deputy Director Jody Olsen at a roundtable with local Asian American and Pacific Island leaders.

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