Statement by Peace Corps Director Mark Schneider on the death of U.S. Senator Paul Coverdell
July 18, 2000Senator Paul Coverdell will be remembered as one of the finest directors in the history of the Peace Corps, and we are tremendously saddened by his sudden and tragic death. On behalf of nearly 7,000 Peace Corps volunteers serving today in 76 countries and the many thousands of volunteers who served when he was director of the Peace Corps, I extend our deepest sympathies to his family.
Senator Coverdell served as the 11th Director of the Peace Corps from 1989 to 1991. During his distinguished tenure, he created new opportunities for Peace Corps volunteers to serve in the emerging democracies of Eastern and Central Europe in the aftermath of the Cold War. Under his bold leadership and vision, the Peace Corps sent its first volunteers to countries such as Bulgaria, the Czech and Slovak Republics, Hungary, Poland, and Romania. He also set in motion the eventual establishment of Peace Corps programs in China and Mongolia, and a return of volunteers to Nicaragua and other countries.
Senator Coverdell also saw the extraordinary value that Peace Corps volunteers can bring to young people here at home. He established the World Wise Schools, an innovative global education program that connects Peace Corps volunteers overseas with thousands of students in the United States, helping them gain a better understanding of other people, countries, and cultures.
After he was elected to the United States Senate in 1992, Senator Coverdell remained a strong friend of the Peace Corps and tireless champion of our volunteers.
Everyone associated with the Peace Corps will miss Senator Coverdell and forever remember his leadership as director. We thank him for service to our country and his immeasurable contributions to the cause of peace and freedom around the world.