American TESOL Institute & World Wise Schools

WWS

World Wise Schools has matched up Peace Corps Volunteer Julia H. with American TESOL Institute for a two-year exchange of ideas, stories, pictures, and artifacts that help ATI students in the classroom learn about the people, geography, environment, and the culture of the world.

Hey ATI students! Mwa la la po? (how are you all in Oshiwambo, the local language). My name is Julie and I'm currently a Peace Corps volunteer serving in Namibia in Southern Africa and will be here for 2 years. I arrived in Namibia in August when I completed a two-month training program in a town called Okahandja. The training consisted of medical, safety, technical, cultural and language sessions from 8:30 to 5 everyday during the week and sometimes even on Saturdays! There were 45 Americans with us from all over the US since the beginning and we spent all that time together so you can imagine we all became pretty good friends. While in Okahandja, we all lived in different neighborhoods with host families so it was a really good introduction to Namibia and its people and culture.

After 8 weeks as Peace Corps trainees in Okahandja, we swore in as volunteers on October 16 and moved to our sites the next day! The volunteers in our group are spread out throughout the entire country and the majority of our group are English, Science, or Math teachers since we are all education volunteers (there are also health volunteers in Namibia). I am a bit of a special case because although technically I am lumped in with the education volunteers, I actually am not a teacher at a school. I am an ICT Volunteer (Information and Communications Technology) and am working at a community library at my site. Of our group, there are four ICT Volunteers and only two of us won't be at schools.

So now that you have the background, I can tell you a little bit about my site, which I have been at now for two weeks! I was placed in a small town called Omuthiya in Owamboland which consists of four regions in the Northern part of the country. Omuthiya was recently proclaimed a town and is definitely in the PROCESS of developing. I kind of feel like I have the best of both worlds here since I do have some of the amenities of a town but also live 4km off the main road (about an hour's walk) in a village. I definitely mean *some* amenities since there is no grocery store here and I have to travel 80km to my shopping town of Ondangwa to buy food! I am living on a traditional Owambo homestead with a host family who are really awesome. A homestead is a collection of huts and houses owned by one extended family and surrounded by a ton of land. My Meme and Tate (Mother & Father in Oshiwambo) are older and their kids are all grown and have moved away but there are several Namibian students (or learners, as they are called here) who live here and help out because of the homestead's proximity to local schools. Additionally, there are several farmers who also live and work here. I have my own little 4-room concrete house on the homestead and there is no electricity or running water. There is a water tap in a different section of the homestead so I am able to fetch water whenever I need it. A lot of other volunteers on homesteads have bucket showers and pit latrines but I am lucky enough to have a flush toilet and (cold!) shower which are both located in another little house on the homestead.

My job is still pretty new which means I'm still getting the hang of things and figuring things out but I'm really liking it so far. I am currently helping to open a new library in town which has included setting up a computer lab there, helping to move in furniture, facilitating setting up the internet, and organizing and shelving books. Organizing the books is what my days mostly consist of right now. It's very time consuming! I can't wait for the library to actually be open. I have lots of ideas for what I want to do there when community members start using it!

So that's a little snapshot of my life right now. It's all very new and exciting and I'm really liking it! Where are some of the places that you all will be teaching? What are some of your reasons for wanting to teach abroad?? I'd love to hear about you guys!! Feel free to e-mail with any questions - juliemhyman@gmail.com. I'll do my best to answer you as quickly as I can. Talk to you soon!!

Julie



Peace Corps Issues Update on 2019 Crash That Resulted in Death of Ms. Rabia Issa

WASHINGTON ? Today, Peace Corps Chief Executive Officer Carol Spahn released the following update regarding the 2019 crash that resulted in the death of Ms. Rabia Issa:

?The death of Rabia Issa in Tanzania was a horrible tragedy, and we grieve the incredible loss to her family, friends and community.

?We recognize the deep pain that was caused by Ms. Issa?s death, as well as the inequities that exist. Our ongoing work is grounded in a commitment to equity and ensuring our mission is clearly centered in our host communities. We expect all staff and every Volunteer to enter service with deep humility and respect as we seek to foster peace and understanding across cultures. We are committed to doing everything within our power to pursue policy, legislative, enhanced training and other solutions to bolster accountability.

?We understand that many questions remain about the agency?s response to Ms. Issa?s death. Although we know that no amount of money can make up for the tragic loss of Ms. Issa?s life, the Peace Corps expressed condolences and provided financial support to her family. Working with local counsel, the agency and representatives from Ms. Issa?s family agreed that the Peace Corps would provide a mutually agreed upon sum to support her sons. In 2019, the money was disbursed into a bank account established by Ms. Issa?s eldest son and the administrator of the estate. There are many other aspects of this case, including the investigation and personnel matter, which we cannot discuss due to legal and privacy considerations.

?There is more work to be done. We will continue to push to fully realize a Peace Corps that reflects the best of who we are.?


Publ.Date : Fri, 07 Jan 2022 14:49:18 +0000

Inside Peace Corps: Issue 4

Publ.Date : Fri, 03 Dec 2021 00:40:05 +0000

Peace Corps Seeks Public Input as Agency Develops Roadmap to Strengthen its Sexual Assault Risk Reduction and Response Program

Today, the Peace Corps announced the next phase of its work to strengthen the agency?s Sexual Assault Risk Reduction and Response (SARRR) program. From December 2 to December 16, the public is invited to submit input and feedback about the Peace Corps? efforts to enhance systems that support sexual assault risk mitigation and provide care to survivors.

Following the release of the 2021 Sexual Assault Advisory Council (SAAC) report in November, Peace Corps leadership is conducting a comprehensive review of the recommendations outlined in the report and preparing a roadmap that outlines the future of the SARRR program to be released publicly in early 2022.

?Last month, we received expert recommendations that incorporate emerging best practices from SAAC members that will inform the next phase of our work. It is critically important that we also hear from returned volunteers, the broader Peace Corps network and the American public,? said Peace Corps Chief Executive Officer Carol Spahn. ?I invite anyone who has specific suggestions to submit their input for consideration as we develop our roadmap, help shift norms around sexual violence and provide victim-centered and trauma-informed care to survivors.?

Since the spring, the Peace Corps has made significant progress toward improving volunteer safety and sexual assault risk reduction and response efforts. In October, the agency released an update on specific, systemic improvements to sexual assault related policies and procedures that have been implemented prior to volunteers? return to in-person service overseas.

Comments can be submitted starting today via SARRRInput@peacecorps.gov.* Commenters may include their name and contact information if they choose. Peace Corps staff will carefully review the feedback and consider actions that can be incorporated into the agency?s roadmap, as appropriate.

Returned volunteers who have been impacted by sexual violence, or any crime while serving in the Peace Corps, can contact the Office of Victim Advocacy (OVA), which is available 24 hours a day and can provide confidential services and referrals, by phone or text at 202-409-2704 and email at victimadvocate@peacecorps.gov. All Peace Corps staff members are required to immediately notify OVA when they lean of a sexual assault that occurred against a volunteer during Peace Corps service.

*Privacy Act Statement

The Peace Corps, an agency of the federal government, is required by the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a) to advise you of the following information. The Peace Corps follows the requirements of the Privacy Act which protects personal information that the agency maintains and uses in its systems of records (SORs).

Authority: The Peace Corps Act of 1961, as amended; 22 U.S.C. 2507b - Sexual Assault policy.

Purpose: The primary use of any response information is to consider feedback and recommendations from the public, including Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, on the agency?s sexual assault mitigation and response efforts.

Routine Uses: Use of the information collected is restricted to the purpose cited in this privacy statement or unless the disclosure is otherwise permitted under the provisions of the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a (b) "Conditions of disclosure," and the agency?s privacy policy. The information collected may be shared with federal, state, and local government agencies; the Office of Management and Budget; members of Congress; the Department of Justice; the Office of Personnel Management; U.S. Ambassadors; in litigation; and with other federal entities when there is a suspected or confirmed breach compromise, as described in the Peace Corps' published general routine uses A through M. For information on these routine uses, click on the link to the Peace Corps Privacy webpage: https://www.peacecorps.gov/about/privacy/. The information collection from Returned Peace Corps Volunteers is covered by System of Records Notice PC-18, Former Peace Corps Volunteers and Staff Database, and a revised SORN to include public response to the SARRR program is pending. The agency is committed to ensuring that any personal information it receives is safeguarded against unauthorized disclosure.

Disclosure: Providing a response or comment about the SARRR program roadmap is voluntary. However, failure to provide any information may result in your feedback not being considered or incorporated into the agency?s SARRR program roadmap.


Publ.Date : Thu, 02 Dec 2021 20:34:55 +0000

Peace Corps Continues to Strengthen Sexual Assault Risk Reduction and Response Work with Release of New Report

Today, the Peace Corps released a Sexual Assault Advisory Council (SAAC) report outlining recommendations for the agency to further strengthen its Sexual Assault Risk Reduction and Response (SARRR) program. In April, Acting Director Carol Spahn requested that the SAAC, an independent advisory council established by Congress, examine the group?s last five years of recommendations and provide updated guidance on how the agency can bolster its systems to mitigate risk of sexual assault and provide victim-centered and trauma-informed care to survivors.

?I am very grateful to the Sexual Assault Advisory Council members for their service. These leaders are at the cutting edge of their respective fields and have come forward at a time when we are called to help tackle an issue that is all too pervasive ? both here in the United States and around the world,? said Spahn. ?The Peace Corps is committed to being part of the solution and we stand ready to make the necessary changes and investments to improve our systems, ensure our structures support long-term progress and maintain transparency in the process.?

Given the need to adapt systems to the many unique cultural contexts in which Volunteers serve, an intra-agency team will complete a comprehensive analysis of the recommendations in the SAAC report, many of which are already underway, and will release a roadmap in early 2022. In the meantime, the Peace Corps continues to strengthen its staff capacities, internal systems, accountability measures and processes. In the spring of 2021, the Peace Corps committed to making specific, systemic improvements to sexual-assault-related policies and procedures prior to volunteers? return to in-person service overseas. To date, the agency has completed the following improvements:

  • Implemented a new Security Incident Management System (SIMS) to better document, track and analyze the agency?s response to crimes against Volunteers, including sexual assaults. Through SIMS, staff will categorize crimes, record support services provided to volunteer victims of crime and monitor related criminal proceedings. All regions and offices are required to utilize the system and have been trained to fully leverage its functionality.
  • Standardized the process for maintaining and using site history files and information stored in SIMS to require that all safety and security incidents that occur at a volunteer?s site are documented and reviewed prior to future volunteers being placed at that specific site. In addition, Country Directors will attest that all sites have been reviewed and properly vetted for security incidents.
  • Creating a Quality Assurance Specialist position at each post to oversee the collection, filing and review of all site management and site history file documents so that systems and processes are followed and all required files are complete and up-to-date.
  • Made publicly available country-specific health, safety, volunteer satisfaction and early termination information. Data regarding these topics can be found on individual post webpages. After reviewing this information, invitees will have an opportunity to request consideration for another country placement.
  • Established a post-level case management process that instructs post staff to formally review, with an interdisciplinary team, every sexual assault case within two months of the case report. The process will identify challenges with every documented case and confirm all appropriate measures are followed and will serve as an opportunity for staff to assure victims? needs are met, and systemic improvements are identified, in real time.
  • Incorporated the ongoing improvement of the SARRR program into the agency?s four-year strategic plan with a measurable, specific performance goal dedicated to enhancing the program.
  • Improved operating procedures for vetting and selecting host families to establish common standards that are consistently documented.
  • Updated agency policy to bolster host family and counterpart orientations. This includes expanded guidance around unwanted attention, violence prevention and bystander intervention. To bolster procedural compliance, field-based Peace Corps Safety and Security Officers will review all orientations and incorporate any proposed modifications as requested by posts.
  • Shared updates the agency has made to its systems, processes and procedures in a public e-newsletter, Inside Peace Corps. To date, three issues of the newsletter have been distributed to the Peace Corps network and posted online (Issue 1, Issue 2 and Issue 3). Any person interested in the work of the agency can subscribe to Inside Peace Corps.
  • Closed sexual assault-related Peace Corps Office of Inspector General (OIG) recommendations,* including:
    • IG-21-01-E ? Recommendations 1 and 2
    • IG-19-03-E ? Recommendations 11 and 15
    • IG-19-08-E ? Recommendations 6 and 9
    • IG-17-01-E ? Recommendations 2, 16, 18 and 26
    • IG-14-02-E ? Recommendation 7
    • IG-14-07-E ? Recommendation 4 and 5

In addition to the SAAC report, the Peace Corps has retained the services of external consultants to examine the current structure of the SARRR program and to recommend the best staffing and organizational structure to move this work fundamentally forward.

?There is ? and will be ? more work to be done,? said Spahn. ?We recognize our collective responsibility to help shift organizational, societal and intercultural norms around sexual violence while creating systems that best support survivors.?

*Due to their nature, there are some OIG recommendations that cannot be closed until Volunteers return to in-person service overseas.


Publ.Date : Wed, 10 Nov 2021 21:10:47 +0000

The Peace Corps Celebrates Top-Enrolling Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program Institutions

WASHINGTON ?The Peace Corps announced today the top 10 Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program institutions for the 2020?21 academic year, ranked by enrollment. The graduate fellowship program offers, through the universities/institutions, financial assistance for tuition and fees to returned Peace Corps volunteers.

?We are grateful to partner with these universities to support our returned volunteers as they work toward their academic goals and continue their commitment to lifelong service,? Peace Corps Acting Director Carol Spahn said. ?A graduate degree, in combination with the perspective and skills gained through Peace Corps service, enables returned volunteers to become and inspire our next generation of global leaders.?

The top-enrolling Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program institutions for 2020?21 are:

Ranking

1) American University ? 92 students enrolled

2) University of Denver ? 68 students enrolled

3) Brandeis University ? 66 students enrolled

4) Middlebury Institute of International Studies ? 48 students enrolled

5) Emory University ? 44 students enrolled

6) University of Arizona ? 42 students enrolled

7) Johns Hopkins University ? 32 students enrolled

8) Carnegie Mellon University ? 22 students enrolled

9) Duke University ? 21 students enrolled

9) Teachers College, Columbia University ? 21 students enrolled

First established in 1985 at Teachers College at Columbia University, the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program has grown to include more than 120 higher education partners in 38 states and the District of Columbia. It now includes more than 200 programs that offer returned volunteers the opportunity to pursue over 300 graduate and post-graduate degrees.

All Fellows complete internships in underserved communities in the United States, allowing them to bring home and expand upon the skills they learned as volunteers abroad. Additionally, returned volunteers who enroll in universities upon completion of service may potentially have their noncompetitive eligibility status for federal job applications extended up to three years, at a hiring agency?s discretion.

?Through the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program, returned Peace Corps volunteers obtain an affordable graduate level education while also continuing to serve socially disadvantaged and impoverished communities in the U.S.,? said La?Teashia Sykes, director of Peace Corps? Office of University Programs. ?I appreciate the investment and dedication of our partnering universities who support this important program.?

The 2020-21 academic year saw the largest Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program enrollment on record. After the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the global evacuation of Peace Corps volunteers in March 2020, institutions responded by offering additional scholarships and other financial resources for education costs. As a result, more than 900 students enrolled in the program, many graduating with a doctorate, master?s or other specialized degrees and certifications this past academic year.

To view a current list of all Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program institutions across the nation, including degrees and financial assistance offered, as well as university contacts, visit: www.peacecorps.gov/universityprograms.


Publ.Date : Tue, 02 Nov 2021 13:15:28 +0000

Inside Peace Corps: Issue 3

Publ.Date : Fri, 08 Oct 2021 20:08:05 +0000

Peace Corps Provides Update on Work to Strengthen Sexual Assault Reduction and Response Efforts

WASHINGTON ? Today, the Peace Corps provided an update on the agency?s progress to strengthen its volunteer safety, and sexual assault risk reduction and response efforts over the last six months.

?When I stepped into the role of Acting Director, I called for all Peace Corps staff to examine how our agency can better meet our service commitments to both volunteers and the community members we work alongside,? said Peace Corps Acting Director Carol Spahn. ?This deep, structural work involves upgrading all of our systems, including and especially those related to sexual assault risk reduction and response. Peace Corps staff care deeply about the safety of our volunteers and, as an agency, we are continuously learning, wholeheartedly dedicated to reducing risk, wherever possible, and committed to providing victim-centered, trauma-informed care.?

In the spring, the Peace Corps committed to making specific, systemic improvements to sexual-assault-related policies and procedures prior to volunteers? return to in-person service overseas. Today, the agency confirmed that it has fulfilled the pledges made in April and May:

  • Implemented a new Security Management System (SIMS) to better document, track and analyze the agency?s response to crimes, including sexual assaults. Through SIMS, staff will categorize crimes, record support services provided to volunteer victims of crime and monitor related criminal proceedings. All regions and offices required to use the system have been trained on it.
  • Made publicly available country-specific health, safety, volunteer satisfaction and early termination information. Data regarding these topics can be found on individual post webpages. After reviewing this information, invitees will have an opportunity to request consideration for another country placement.
  • Standardized the process for maintaining and using site history files and information stored in SIMS to ensure that all safety and security incidents that occur at a volunteer?s site are documented and reviewed prior to future volunteers being placed at that specific site. In addition, Country Directors will attest that all sites have been reviewed and properly vetted for security incidents. The agency is also creating a Quality Assurance Specialist position at each post to oversee the collection, filing and review of all site management and site history file documents to ensure that systems and processes are followed and all required files are complete and up-to-date.
  • Improved standardized operating procedures for vetting and selecting host families to ensure that this vetting occurs in a systematic and consistently documented manner.
  • Updated safety and security instructions to bolster host family and counterpart orientations. This includes expanded guidance around unwanted attention, violence prevention and bystander intervention. To ensure procedural compliance, field-based Peace Corps Safety and Security Officers will review all orientations, and incorporate any proposed modifications as requested by posts.
  • Requested that the Sexual Assault Advisory Council (SAAC) ? an independent team of subject-matter experts and former volunteers responsible for reviewing the Peace Corps? policies and procedures related to sexual assault risk reduction and response ? review and provide guidance on the progress made toward SAAC recommendations from the last five years. The SAAC will submit its report, which will be made publicly available, before the end of the year.
  • Selected an external firm to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the overall effectiveness of the SARRR program and its structure. The firm will present its findings to the agency in Spring 2022.
  • Shared updates the agency has made to its systems, processes and procedures in a public e-newsletter, Inside Peace Corps. To date, two issues of the newsletter have been distributed to the Peace Corps network and posted online (Issue 1 and Issue 2). Any person interested in the work of the agency can subscribe to Inside Peace Corps.
  • Closed sexual assault-related Peace Corps OIG recommendations,* including:
    • IG-19-08-E ? Recommendations 6 and 9
    • IG-17-01-E ? Recommendations 2, 16, and 26
    • IG-14-02-E ? Recommendation 7
    • IG-14-07-E ? Recommendation 4
  • Established a post-level case management process that ensures post staff formally review sexual assault cases and identify challenges with every documented case and confirm all appropriate measures are followed. This process will serve as an opportunity for staff to assure victims? needs are met in real time.

?We are dedicated to continual and sustained improvement. As an agency, we strive to facilitate a positive Peace Corps experience for our volunteers, staff, host country partners, counterparts and all members of our network,? said Spahn. ?Our focus is continued progress and improved transparency with the public.?

*Due to their nature, there are some OIG recommendations that cannot be closed until Volunteers return to in-person service overseas.

Returned volunteers who have been impacted by sexual violence, or any crime while serving in the Peace Corps, can contact the Office of Victim Advocacy (OVA), which is available 24 hours a day and can provide confidential services and referrals, by phone or text at 202-409-2704 and email at victimadvocate@peacecorps.gov. All Peace Corps staff members are required to immediately notify OVA when outreach relates to sexual assault.


Publ.Date : Fri, 08 Oct 2021 17:09:12 +0000

Peace Corps Announces Top 10 Peace Corps Prep Certificate-Issuing Schools in 2021

Agency also announces newly established university partnerships

WASHINGTON ? The Peace Corps announced today the top 10 Peace Corps Prep certificate-issuing institutions for the 2020?2021 academic year. Additionally, the global service agency announced it is partnering with 11 more universities in 2021 to provide the Peace Corps Prep certificate program to undergraduate students.

?At this pivotal time in our history, young people have a crucial role to play,? said Peace Corps Acting Director Carol Spahn. ?Through the Peace Corps Prep program, these schools have equipped students with the skills and understanding necessary to help communities near and far recover from the multidimensional and global shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic.?

Established in 2007, Peace Corps Prep aims to meet the demand for Peace Corps volunteers with broad and relevant areas of expertise and to support schools? efforts to provide substantive, globally focused experiences for their students. Through the program, students learn about leadership, intercultural competencies, foreign language, and a professional sector of their choice like education, health or the environment. While having a Peace Corps Prep certificate does not guarantee acceptance into an agency Volunteer program, enrolling in the program helps graduates be more competitive during the selection process.

?Peace Corps Prep is an opportunity for all undergraduate students to develop competencies that will fortify their aspirations to serve abroad,? said La?Teashia Sykes, Peace Corps director of University Programs. ?Congratulations to the top 10 Peace Corps Prep certificate-issuing schools and all newly-established partnerships on joining the Peace Corps family through the Peace Corps Prep program. We are thrilled to work together to spark students? interest in Peace Corps service.?

The Peace Corps works with more than 150 partner institutions nationwide to deliver programming that underscores a commitment to global citizenship, intercultural competencies and a sense of service among students. Despite the global evacuation of all Peace Corps volunteers in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 700 undergraduate students completed the Peace Corps Prep program in the 2020-2021 academic year. Dozens of Peace Corps Prep partner schools adapted their programming to the virtual environment during the 2020-2021 academic year.

Cassandra Vega-Rivera, Peace Corps Prep coordinator at la Universidad del Sagrado Corazn in San Juan, Puerto Rico, explained how her program successfully navigated the switch to a virtually-run operation, ?Despite the difficulties of providing services to students in remote settings, both fully online and hybrid, we were able to pivot our planned annual programming to meet with students over Zoom, document their progress in our contact management system, and create interactive online orientations and events. This allowed us to successfully maintain engagement with our students and expand our program virtually.?

The top 10 2020-2021 Peace Corps Prep certificate-issuing partners are:

Rankings - Certificates Issued

  1. Virginia Commonwealth University - 114
  2. University of South Florida - 58
  3. University of Florida - 37
  4. Mercer University - 33
  5. Monmouth University - 26
  6. University of California Education Abroad Program - 21
  7. Elon University - 20
  8. University of Michigan ? Ann Arbor - 19
  9. Walsh University - 18
  10. Pacific Lutheran University - 14

The 11 New Peace Corp Prep University partnerships in 2021 are:

  1. College of Staten Island
  2. Rochester Institute of Technology
  3. St. Lawrence University
  4. University of Redlands
  5. Humboldt State University
  6. University of Guam
  7. University of Wisconsin ? Milwaukee
  8. Utah State University
  9. Florida A&M University
  10. University of Maryland ? College Park
  11. University of Nebraska ? Lincoln

To find additional information and a full listing of Peace Corps Prep programs around the county, visit Peace Corps Prep.


Publ.Date : Thu, 30 Sep 2021 13:15:06 +0000

Acting Director Carol Spahn Honors 60th Anniversary of the Peace Corps Act

On this day in 1961, following the approval of Congress, President John F. Kennedy signed the Peace Corps Act, officially establishing the federal agency. Peace Corps Acting Director Carol Spahn issued the following statement commemorating the Act?s 60th anniversary:

?Today, we honor and reflect upon an important day in the history of the Peace Corps ? the 60th anniversary of the day that President John F. Kennedy signed the Peace Corps Act.

?Since 1961, more than 241,000 Americans have answered JFK?s call to serve our nation and our world through the Peace Corps. Our volunteers have worked alongside the people of 142 countries ? embracing language and culture, building lasting relationships and making measurable impact. Peace Corps volunteers exhibit the tapestry of the United States to the world, and, when they return home, they apply their unique service experiences back in America and lead as well-rounded and culturally competent colleagues, civilians and friends.

?When Peace Corps came to life, Cold War tensions loomed large and Americans faced a stark choice: to resort to isolation or to embrace humanity. And we chose to embrace one another for the shared future of our world. Sixty years ago, people signed up in droves to serve with the Peace Corps and to promote world peace and friendship.

?Now, in our 60th anniversary year, we stand at another crossroads. Our world has fundamentally changed over the last 18 months from the tremendous loss, impact and isolation of COVID-19, calls for racial justice, social unrest and upheaval and natural disasters, demanding we question our every system and structure. There are striking parallels between where we were then and where we are now. Again, we must choose to unite and call on our collective strength to meet the challenges of our time.

?Together, Americans must step up with as much vision and commitment as JFK did when he called on Congress to pass the Peace Corps Act and when he asked America?s best and brightest to dedicate themselves to progress. The demand for world peace and friendship is larger now than it was in 1961, but so, too, can be our supply.

?As we launch into our agency?s next 60 years, the Peace Corps marches forward with the sense of possibility and purpose required to meet this defining moment. Peace Corps volunteers know how to challenge the status quo and how to handle uncertainty. They have shown time-and-time again their ability to withstand adversity, learn through hardship, adapt to changing circumstances, innovate, partner, fail, and try again until a problem has been solved. And we make life-long friends around the world along the way.

?After 18 months of global isolation and suffering, the world has changed. And the Peace Corps continues to reaffirm the humanity that unites us. Strong international relationships, cultural competency and unified collaboration are no longer nice-to-have, they?re mandatory. Our future depends on it.?


Publ.Date : Wed, 22 Sep 2021 18:37:16 +0000

Peace Corps Honors National Day of Service and Remembrance on 20th Anniversary of September 11

WASHINGTON ? Tomorrow, the Peace Corps will pause to remember and reflect upon the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, which took nearly 3,000 lives in New York, Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon and devastated communities in the United States and across the world.

On that day, one of the Peace Corps? regional offices was destroyed as the World Trade Center Towers fell. Of the 20 Peace Corps staff members based in New York, three were at the agency?s office when the attack occurred. All three staff made a miraculous escape.

Peace Corps Acting Director Carol Spahn issued the following statement in remembrance:

?In 2009, Congress named September 11 a National Day of Service and Remembrance, acknowledging both the tragedy of that day, and the countless acts of service that followed. In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, hundreds of bystanders came together to pull victims to safety, offer care and comfort, and open their homes to those in need. In the weeks that followed, thousands of people turned up in droves to donate blood, clear rubble from the streets, and organize financial support for the families of those who were killed.

?The September 11 attack was a direct affront to the Peace Corps? mission of world peace and friendship. Inspired by the courageous staff members who survived the World Trade Center attack?we were driven to quickly resume operations at our darkest hour. The Peace Corps staff in New York are just a few of the many public servants who toiled in incredibly difficult circumstances to recover, rebuild and move forward in the aftermath of September 11. In the face of an unbelievable disaster, they showed up.

?There is no comparison to that time in our history. But, again, we find ourselves inspired by the first responders, essential workers and civil servants who are going well beyond their normal duties in order to help our communities through the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this lens we can look back on the events of September 11 and have a renewed perspective: a defining characteristic of the American spirit is our ability to unite in service of one another?across difference, across cultures, and across political divides.

?With this sentiment in mind, I encourage all of us to harness that unifying spirit to engage in acts of service this weekend. I plan to join thousands of volunteers in the National Capital Region to pack meals for children, families, seniors and military veterans at risk of hunger in the D.C. area.

?By serving one another, we can work towards healing our communities and take another step toward a more peaceful world.?


Publ.Date : Fri, 10 Sep 2021 12:41:32 +0000