Peace Corps Swears in New Country Directors

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 1, 2003 – Last Friday, the Peace Corps swore in three new Country Directors at a ceremony held at the Paul D. Coverdell Peace Corps Headquarters. The new directors will be working in countries located in the Pacific, the Caribbean, and Africa.

Peace Corps Country Directors are responsible for management and direction of all aspects of the Peace Corps program in their assigned country. The Country Directors support anywhere from 50 to 225 volunteers, and they lend their skills and energy to meet development needs of their host country and to promote a better understanding between the host people and Americans.

The Country Director assignments are as follows:

The Pacific
Betty Crowder began her career with the Peace Corps as a volunteer in Micronesia from 1970-72. Following her service, she was employed for two years as a Peace Corps/Vista recruiter in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Her subsequent professional career includes: Telemedia, Inc. in Esfahan, Iran; Varian Associates; and Hewlett Packard as the creator of the Regional Training Center and the Worldwide Project Director. She was also the treasurer for the national board of directors of the World Affairs Councils of America and participated with the Advisory Council for the Leadership Mountain View program and the Workforce Investment Board of San Jose. Several of her family members have also served as Peace Corps volunteers. Ms. Crowder received her doctorate in Education from the University of Southern California, her Masters in Instructional Technology from San Jose State University, and her undergraduate degree in History and English from Virginia Tech.

The Caribbean
Dominican Republic
As CEO of Meals on Wheels and More for Austin, Texas, Javier L. Garza led the effort to widely expand the organization to serve over 2,000 people. Prior to being CEO, he worked with a Washington-based foundation that provided management and financial assistance to low-cost housing loan programs, as an advisor with the U.S. Agency for International Development in Bolivia, ran a consulting firm, and was employed with the Texas Department of Community Affairs. Mr. Garza has recently received the Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in the non-profit category. He has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin and an M.P.A. from George Washington University, and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Peru from 1970 -71.

Africa Region
McGrath Jean Thomas has worked in international development for more than twenty years. Her experience includes employment as an independent council providing management and strategic planning support for nonprofit organizations, Meridian International Center as Vice President of Management, and eight years in Egypt as Chief of Party/Project Director with a $27 million civil society capacity development project funded by the United States Agency for International Development. She has worked throughout the world with several nonprofit organizations, such as National Council of Negro Women, Africare, Private Agencies Collaborating Together, and the Association of American Colleges and Universities. Ms. Thomas holds a Master’s degree in Business and Public Administration and a Bachelor ‘s of Science in Business Administration.

Since 1961, more than 168,000 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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