Peace Corps Director Visits Seattle, University of Washington

SEATTLE, November 22, 2010 Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams addressed students and met with faculty, staff, and returned Peace Corps volunteers on Friday, November 19, 2010 at the University of Washington.

Later, Director Williams delivered the keynote address at the World Affairs Council, Engaging the World Through 50 Years of Service Friday, November 19 to a crowd of more than 900 Seattle-area residents.

Peace Corps provides thousands of Americans with the experiences of a lifetimebut also, with a life-defining leadership experience, said Williams at Fridays events. I envision a Peace Corps that grows and adapts to meet the challenges and opportunities of our time. I envision a Peace Corps that is still going strong, another 50 years from now.

At the University of Washington (UW), Director Williams presented University of Washington (UW) Interim President Dr. Phyllis Wise with a plaque recognizing the school as the No. 1 producer of Peace Corps volunteers in the country for four years running at the UW-UCLA football game Thursday, November 18 at Husky Stadium.

Director Williams was able to connect with other Seattle-area returned Peace Corps volunteers (RPCVs) Friday night including Al Guskin, who was instrumental in the founding of the Peace Corps; Michael Kim, one of this years Franklin H. Williams Award winners; and Charles and Marcia McBeath, a couple who served in the Peace Corps six times.

In addition to the University of Washington being the No. 1 producer of Peace Corps volunteers in the country for the past four years, a high number of other Washington universities Western Washington University (Bellingham), University of Puget Sound (Tacoma), Gonzaga University (Spokane), and Evergreen State College (Olympia) consistently place in the Peace Corps Top Colleges.

Additionally, Washington state is the No. 3 all-time producer of Peace Corps volunteers, behind California and New York respectively. Historically, more than 8,200 Washingtonians have served in the Peace Corps.

Last year, the Seattle metropolitan area ranked No. 5 in the country for producing the most Peace Corps volunteers; nearly 200 residents served as volunteers.

About the Peace Corps: President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961 by executive order. Peace Corps will commemorate 50 years of promoting peace and friendship around the world through 2011. 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 77 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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