Peace Corps Receives Distinguished Service Award

February 26, 2004

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 25, 2004—On Monday, Peace Corps Deputy Director Jody Olsen accepted the World Council of Credit Unions, Inc.’s (WOCCU) Distinguished Service Award on behalf of the Peace Corps. The ceremony took place during the Credit Union National Association’s Annual Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.

"Peace Corps volunteers have worked in thousands of communities overseas introducing small business, agriculture, and other opportunities for cooperatives and credit, resulting in greater community teamwork and economic growth," stated Director Gaddi H. Vasquez.

This award is considered the highest honor bestowed by the WOCCU and members of the international credit union community. The connection between the Peace Corps and credit unions goes back to the 1960s when the agency provided the impetus for credit union development projects around the globe. One of the most successful credit union projects, which began in Ecuador, served as a model for similar efforts throughout Latin America.

The Distinguished Service Awards are presented to individuals and organizations who have demonstrated exemplary service including personal commitment to international credit union development; record of technical service; ongoing demonstration of institutional development; ability to locate and mobilize resources to establish strong credit union movements; and demonstration of poverty alleviation.

Seven individual honorees received this award along with the Peace Corps in 2003. The awards were presented during WOCCU’s triennial International Credit Union Forum, which was held on June 22-26, 2003, in Brisbane, Australia.

The World Council of Credit Unions, Inc. is the apex trade association and development organization of the international credit union system. It promotes the sustainable growth of credit unions and financial cooperatives across the globe. As instruments of economic and social development, World Council, its regional confederations, and national member organizations in 79 countries with 40,258 member credit unions serve more than 118 million people worldwide.

Since 1961, more than 170,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health, HIV/AIDS education and awareness, information technology, business development, the environment, and agriculture. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a two-year commitment.

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