Peace Corps Director Testifies Before a Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

October 6, 2011

Details agencys recent reforms of policies, procedures and practices

WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 6, 2011 Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams testified today before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations' Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Peace Corps, and Global Narcotics Affairs. He outlined his strategic vision for the agency and summarized progress toward its first Comprehensive Agency Assessment. The hearing, titled Peace Corps, the next 50 years, included testimony from returned Peace Corps volunteers (RPCVs), the Peace Corps Inspector General, and two former U.S. senators.

In a prepared testimony, Director Williams outlined Peace Corps progress in implementing six strategies put forth in the agencys Comprehensive Agency Assessment submitted to Congress on June 14, 2010. For the past 18 months, the assessment has served as the agencys strategic blueprint for reform.

We have put in place a new, objective, evidence-based approach to deciding where we operate and how we allocate volunteers, Director Williams said in a prepared statement. We are strengthening the technical assistance we provide around the world by focusing on, and scaling up, a limited number of highly effective projects.

Since Director Williams took office in August 2009, the Peace Corps has instituted new measures to better protect volunteers and ensure that victims of sexual assault receive compassionate and comprehensive support.

Our most important reforms lie in the area of volunteer safety and support, Director Williams continued. Nothing is more important to me, as Director of the Peace Corps and as a returned volunteer, than the health, safety, and security of every member of the extended Peace Corps family. Peace Corps volunteers represent the best America has to offer, and we owe them our very best in return.

Director Williams detailed measures the Peace Corps has taken to strengthen global operations and improve the support and care provided to volunteers. He concluded his statement by offering his gratitude to Peace Corps volunteers for their dedication and service.

Director Williams testimony can be found in its entirety here. For more detailed information on Peace Corps commitment to volunteers, please visit the Safety Section on the Peace Corps website.

About the Peace Corps: President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961, by executive order. Throughout 2011, Peace Corps is commemorating 50 years of promoting peace and friendship around the world. Historically, more than 200,000 Americans have served with the Peace Corps to promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of 139 host countries. Today, 8,655 volunteers are working with local communities in 76 host countries. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment. Visit www.peacecorps.gov for more information.

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