Ten New Country Directors Complete Training, Peace Corps Graduates New Personnel

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 19, 2002—Four women and six men were sworn in as Peace Corps Country Directors and recently graduated from training at the Paul D. Coverdell Peace Corps Headquarters. The new country directors completed four weeks of intensive operational training and instruction which was capped off with a visit with Director Gaddi H. Vasquez who delivered brief remarks during graduation ceremonies.

Quoting former Texas Congresswoman and educator, Barbara Jordan, Vasquez inspired the new country directors insisting, “The imperative is to find what is right and to do it.” With their diverse experiences, the new country directors will make a valuable contribution to the future of the Peace Corps.

Africa Region

Ron Campbell brings 25 years of experience in managing, designing and implementing a variety of community development projects, including infrastructure projects, affordable housing projects, equity investment funds, and loan programs. He has worked on assignments in 16 countries, including the USA, and has gained knowledge in the corporate world, the non-profit world, as an independent consultant and in international consulting firms. In addition, he has served for 10 years as resident advisor in Southern Africa and Poland on USAID and World Bank projects. Ron served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Solomon Islands from 1976 to 1978, and as a Training Coordinator in 1978. Ron comes to us from Edison Capital where he was the Director of Operation and Special Programs. Ron’s wife and son will accompany him from Irvine, California, to Tanzania.

With a focus on education, Marily Knieriemen was drawn to Africa by her desire to help others while learning about different cultures. She taught English to Hmong and Vietnamese refugees in her hometown of Minnesota. Her work managing development programs for Lutheran World Relief and CARE in Niger, Cameroon, Mozambique, and Zambia has given her experience in a variety of areas, such as project design and proposal-writing, staff development, donor relations, field visits, etc. This work involved sectors of agriculture, education, water, health, and micro finance. Marily has interacted with Peace Corps and Crisis Corps Volunteers in various contexts while teaching English as a Second Language to students in Cameroon.

A native to Washington, DC, Louise Krumm comes to the Peace Corps from Georgetown University where over a period of 27 years, she held a variety of positions involving language instruction. As professor, overseas project manager and, most recently, as Director of the Center for Language Education and Development, she has gained expertise in English as a Foreign Language, teacher training, pre-academic preparation, and cross-cultural orientation. She has lived and worked in China and Poland and has visited over 20 countries in work-related travel. We welcome her as a complete newcomer to the Peace Corps.

Robert Strauss has been a management consultant and facilitator for numerous private, public, domestic and international organizations. He is a three-time winner of the Lowell Thomas Award for excellence in travel writing and author of 65 documentary television programs for Discovery and its affiliated networks. In addition, he was Producer/Director of “Fortune Tell,” a short, romantic comedy aired on television and featured in film festivals. Robert’s experience with the Peace Corps is as a Volunteer in Liberia from 1978 – 1980, a regional recruiter in Denver and a consultant to Peace Corps programs in Belize, Nepal and Fiji. Prior to his appointment, Robert resided in San Francisco, California, with his wife and their five year old daughter.

After serving as senior technical advisor with the A daughter.

After serving as senior technical advisor with the Academy for Educational Development and senior research associate with the Institute for Instructional Research and Practice at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Howard Williams brings twenty years of international educational development experience to the Peace Corps. This includes design and capacity building for institutional and system-wide monitoring and evaluation systems. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines from 1979 to 1981 and a Volunteer Leader from 1981 to 1982. Prior to his appointment, Howard resided in Lutz, Florida with his wife, Pamela, and their dog. All will join him in Ghana.

Europe, the Mediterranean and Asia Region

Kris Besch includes the Peace Corps on her diverse career path where she has worked as a manager of a young e-commerce division of Worldspan, a travel technology provider, as an organizing member of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta and, most recently, as manager of strategy and operations of the travel division of an Internet consulting firm. Kris began this rich career as a Peace Corps Volunteer teaching math to high school students in Swaziland from 1982 to 1984. Kris received a B.A. in International Relations from Bucknell University and a Master’s degree in International Management from Thunderbird in Arizona. Her husband, Dave, and three children will accompany her to Kazakhstan from Atlanta, Georgia.

Candy Mirrer contributes an impressive 25 years of international experience in economic development project management and management consulting to the Peace Corps. Working in 19 countries she has tackled issues in organizational effectiveness and change management associated with global expansion, privatization and technology to facilitate growth in domestic and international markets. Candy is featured in “Power Tools for Women in Business” (2001) and listed in Who’s Who of American Women. She is a member of the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs, and Women in Technology International. In addition, Candy served as a UN Volunteer in Iran. Prior to her appointment, Candy resided in San Francisco, California.

Inter-America and the Pacific Region

Earl Brown has extensive experience with the Peace Corps as a Volunteer in Tanzania from 1964 – 1966, trainer in Tanzania, Country Director in Papua New Guinea (1992 –1994), in addition to various positions held at headquarters in Washington, DC. Earl was a management advisor for a USAID sponsored project in support of primary education reform. Prior to this, he spent four years as Lecturer/Director of International Programs in Elizabeth City State University in Elizabeth City, NC. His experience also includes work as the Director of Field Operations and Overseas Programs for the African Development Foundation and as Chief of Party for the Tamale Land Use Project in Ghana. Earl is from Greenville, North Carolina. He and his wife for 35 years have a daughter, son and three grandchildren.

Jim Geenan has over 20 years of experience in international development. He established two integrated training centers in the Philippines and in Ecuador as well as a foundation on behalf of the corporate sector in the Amazon Rainforest, uniting conflicting factions of the community to focus on their respective development challenges. Jim has also worked on projects to resolve problems of high-risk youth through the development of community programs. He served with his wife as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Micronesia, worked a training and two stagings, and directed community development programs in Honduras and Ecuador. Jim is from Appleton, Wisconsin and is married with three adult children whon Honduras and Ecuador. Jim is from Appleton, Wisconsin and is married with three adult children who reside in the U.S.

Ron Ruybal’s career has enabled him to work in a variety of countries around the world as manager of environmental programs and to collaborate with such notable conservationists as Jane Goodall and others. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zaire from 1977 – 1979 and worked with Volunteers in various countries during his career in USAID. With a B.A. in Zoology, an M.S. in Natural Resources, and a Certificate of Tropical Agriculture, Ron has been committed to projects designed to improve management of natural resources in an effort to conserve biological diversity for the future. Ron and his wife, Maria Elena Pesantez, have two young daughters.

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