Peace Corps Master's International Program Plans to Expand 10 Percent in 2007

November 27, 2006

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 27, 2006 For nearly 20 years, the Peace Corps has actively recruited Americans who want the opportunity to earn graduate degrees while serving as Volunteers through the agency's Master's International program. Responding to growing demand, the Peace Corps is asking for proposals from universities as it looks to expand the number of Master's International graduate school partnerships by 10 percent.

"Volunteers get more out of their experiences by being connected to their graduate faculty while serving," said Peace Corps Deputy Director Jody Olsen. "And Master's International program coordinators tell us how valuable the Volunteer experience is to their other graduate students and faculty. Ongoing stories from Volunteers bring subjects alive."

Increasingly, university representatives have viewed global citizenship as a primary goal. In the case of graduate students serving as Peace Corps Volunteers, there are natural benefits for everyone involved from the overseas communities, to the campus communities, to the students themselves. Usually older than the average Volunteer, Master's International students bring greater maturity and enhanced skills to their Volunteer service.

"In my experience Master's International Volunteers bring a holistic perspective to their service," said Ruben Hernandez, Peace Corps Chief of Operations in the Inter-America and Pacific region and former country director in Honduras. "This makes them very focused and extremely valuable to the developmental needs of their host countries."

Working through a request for proposal (RFP) process, the Peace Corps will choose five new university partners in the areas of agriculture, education, and environment/natural resources studies. The RFP has been issued, and the template is available for download at peacecorps.gov/mastersrfp. The Peace Corps will accept completed proposals until 5 p.m. EST January 10, 2007. Finalists will be notified in March 2007.

Since 1987, Master's International has collaborated with specific university graduate programs throughout the U.S. These programs provide opportunities for Volunteers to apply their advanced education in hard-to-fill assignment areas. Managed through Peace Corps' Office of Domestic Programs, Master's International currently encompasses 86 programs at 50 universities nationwide. For more information, please visit the Master's International section of the Peace Corps Web site.

The Peace Corps is celebrating a 45-year legacy of service at home and abroad, and a 30-year high for Volunteers in the field. Since 1961, more than 182,000 Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 138 countries where Volunteers have served. 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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