Peace Corps Director Testifies Before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs

Announces increase in the readjustment allowance for returned volunteers

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 18, 2010 Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams testified before the House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs in support of President Obamas $446.15 million Fiscal Year 2011 budget request for the Peace Corps.

In prepared testimony, Director Williams detailed his vision for the future of Peace Corps and how the appropriated funds will be used to invest in quality growth, innovation, and recruiting the next generation of Peace Corps volunteers. Director Williams testimony may be found in its entirety here.

While times have changed since the Peace Corps founding in 1961, the agencys missionto promote world peace and friendshiphas not, said Director Williams. Over the last 49 years, nearly 200,000 Americans have served with the Peace Corps. Each of those Americans touched the lives of countless individuals by encouraging them through the selfless act of volunteering. This is the legacy of President Kennedys brave idea. I envision a Peace Corps that remains vibrant for another 50 years; one that grows, adapts and continues to carry the torch of President Kennedys dream and responds to President Obamas call to service.

Director Williams testified that, to grow the agency efficiently, he is focused on expanding the number of volunteers serving in existing host countries, encouraging third-year extensions for volunteers who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership skills, increasing the number of Peace Corps Response volunteers, and pursuing entry into new host countries.

Director Williams detailed Peace Corps strategic recruitment campaign and how the agency is focusing on ways to better support Peace Corps volunteers by scaling the benefits of service to more accurately reflect cost of living increases. In support of that goal, Director Williams announced that, effective April 1, 2010, the Peace Corps readjustment allowance that volunteers receive upon returning home from service will increase to $275 per every month the volunteer served. With this $50 per month increase from current levels, volunteers who complete a full 27-month tour will receive $7,425 to help in the readjustment period when they return to the United States.

Director Williams further testified that the Peace Corps is seeking new, innovative ways to utilize the creativity of its volunteers in the field and modernize of the agencys information technology platform to make it easier for the agency to recruit and place volunteers.

As Peace Corps approaches its 50th anniversary, its service legacy continues to promote peace and friendship around the world with 7,671 volunteers serving in 76 host countries. Historically, nearly 200,000 Americans have served with the Peace Corps to promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of 139 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.

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