The Peace Corps Commits to Further Action to Foster More Equitable, Inclusive Agency
April 14, 2022
Today, the Peace Corps released three reports highlighting the agency’s commitment to Intercultural Competence, Diversity, Equity Inclusion and Accessibility (ICDEIA) at every level of the organization.
“The Peace Corps’ very mission depends on fostering a deliberate practice and culture of ICDEIA until it is inseparable from our way of connecting, doing, and being,” said Carol Spahn, Chief Executive Officer of the Peace Corps. “Over the last two years, we have received thoughtful feedback and important ideas from the Peace Corps network about how we can better reflect the diversity in American society and be more inclusive for all who answer the call to serve.”
This input from the Peace Corps network, combined with thoughtful planning and analysis by Peace Corps staff, created the building blocks to ensure that ICDEIA is incorporated in the agency’s day-to-day work, overarching strategic priorities and goals for creating fair and transparent systems that are critical for the Peace Corps to achieve its mission. During the last two years, the Peace Corps has taken the following actions, among others, to advance ICDEIA before returning Volunteers to overseas service:
- Required all Peace Corps staff globally to complete mandatory unconscious bias training
- Expanded responsibilities of the Chief Diversity Officer, and added staff, to review key business processes, support efforts to increase the diversity of the agency’s workforce and Volunteer corps, and coordinate ICDEIA work globally
- Strengthened mental health services for volunteers, particularly preparing for managing race and other social identity based stress.
- Established the Diversity Dashboard, an analysis of attrition rates by race and ethnicity in the application process, from application receipt to entrance on duty.
- Expanded outreach to enhance hiring from diverse and underrepresented communities
- Engaged the Agency Equity Council, a group of more than 30 dedicated interdisciplinary staff members who facilitate, inform and advance progress on equity assessments, action planning and other agency actions.
- Hired a diverse senior staff team, increasing the percentage of senior staff identifying as members of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities from 6% to 38% from 2020 to 2022.
The three reports released highlight a combination of feedback from the Peace Corps network and create specific, actionable and measurable goals that will guide the future of the Peace Corps. The three reports released today include:
- Diversity Task Force Report: A study of Peace Corps network feedback and compilation of recommendations for addressing institutional, structural and daily implications of systemic racism. The report includes agency actions taken on recommendations to date (i.e. unconscious bias training and including ICDEIA in the agency’s strategic plan) and outlines timelines and milestones for further implementation.
- Agency Equity Action Plan: Supporting the Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government equity agenda through the historic Day 1 Executive Order, this first-of-its-kind plan outlines actions the Peace Corps will take to redress systemic barriers in policies and programs to advance equity for all. Priority areas include volunteer recruitment and retention, equitable overseas post operations, stakeholder engagement, equitable agency procurement and contracting and advancing civil rights.
- Agency Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2022-2026: The agency’s guiding document for the next four years, advancing equity is both a standalone strategic objective and incorporated into the Peace Corps’ two other objectives to ensure it is embedded into agency priorities.
For more information about the Peace Corps progress and longer-term plans to advance ICDEIA, visit www.peacecorps.gov/equity.
Members of the Peace Corps network and the American public can provide feedback on the Peace Corps’ Agency Equity Plan and overall ICDEIA work, on an ongoing basis, by contacting the Office of Intercultural Competence, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility at [email protected] In your outreach, please provide your relationship to the Peace Corps (returned Volunteer, staff, community member, etc.). It is optional, but welcomed, to share respective demographic information (such as race and gender).
About the Peace Corps: The Peace Corps is an international service network of volunteers, community members, host country partners and staff who are driven by the agency’s mission of world peace and friendship. At the invitation of governments around the world, Peace Corps volunteers work alongside community members on locally-prioritized projects in the areas of education, health, environment, agriculture, community economic development and youth development. Through service, members of the Peace Corps network develop transferable skills and hone intercultural competencies that position them to be the next generation of global leaders. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961, more than 240,000 Americans have served in 142 countries worldwide. For more information, visit peacecorps.gov and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.