American TESOL Institute & World Wise Schools


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 - I'll do my best to answer you as quickly as I can. Talk to you soon!!


Peace Corps Announces Top Volunteer-Producing States and Metropolitan Areas in 2016

Washington,D.C. Metro Area reclaims no.1 spot for first time since 2009

WASHINGTON,D.C., Dec. 20, 2016 ? The Peace Corps today released its 2016 rankings of the topvolunteer-producing states and metropolitan areas across the country. For thefirst time in six years, Washington-Arlington-Alexandria is the largest metropolitan-areaproducer of volunteers, bumping longtime leader New York-Northern NewJersey-Long Island to no.2 on the total volunteers list this year. Vermont andCalifornia remain no.1 on the respective per capita and total volunteer-producingstates lists. Montana has also made impressive strides this year with Missoula,Montana making its first appearance since 2011 in the no.1 spot for top metro areas percapita and The Treasure State climbing to no.3 on the list of top states percapita.

For thefirst time, the District of Columbia and surrounding states appear on thisyear?s top states per capita rankings with D.C., Maryland and Virginia sittingat no.2, no.7 and no.8, respectively. This is Maryland?s first time in recenthistory on both the top states per capita (no.7) and total top states (no.9)lists. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria (no.6) joined fellow rankings newcomersIdaho Falls, Idaho (no.5) and East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania (no.10) on thetop metro areas per capita. This year is the sixth-consecutive year thatWashington State has appeared in all four ranking categories and, for the firsttime, shares the honor this year with Virginia and Maryland.

"Duringmy time leading the Peace Corps, I have seen the tremendous impact thatvolunteers have when they share their unique hometown perspectives with thecommunities they serve,? said Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet. ?Volunteersrepresent our nation's rich diversity by coming from all corners of the U.S.They are able to share our nation's rich cultural heritage with communitiesaround the world, leaving a legacy of peace and friendship that istimeless."

Thisyear?s rankings follow the launch of a refreshed Peace Corps brand platformthat embraces a digitally focused communications approach to make the agencymore accessible to all audiences across the United States through the platformsthey already use. Sweepingreforms in the application and recruitment system ensure that Peace Corps continuesto build a volunteer corps of Americans from all walks of life. Applicants willnow find a simplified, more personal application process, and can learn more byvisiting the Peace Corps website and connecting with a recruiter.

Belowfind the nation?s top 10 volunteer-producing states and metropolitan areas for2016. View the list of volunteer numbers from all 50 states here.

2016 TopStates ? Per Capita (# of volunteers per 100,000 residents)

1.Vermont ? 8.3

2.District of Columbia ? 8.2

3.Montana ? 5.0

4.Washington ? 4.5

5.Minnesota ? 4.3

5. Alaska? 4.3

7.Maryland ? 4.0

8.Virginia ? 3.9

8.Colorado ? 3.9

8.Oregon ? 3.9

8. Maine? 3.9

8. RhodeIsland ? 3.9

2016 TopStates ? Total Volunteers

1.California ? 916

2. NewYork ? 449

3.Virginia ? 328

4.Washington ? 317

5.Florida ? 313

6. Illinois? 301

7.Pennsylvania ? 300

8. Texas? 277

9.Maryland ? 241

10.Michigan ? 239

2016 TopMetropolitan Areas ? Per Capita (# of volunteers per 100,000 residents)

1.Missoula, MT ? 12.3

2.Burlington-South Burlington, VT ? 8.3

3.Olympia, WA ? 8.2

4. SantaFe, NM ? 6.7

5. IdahoFalls, ID ? 6.4

6.Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV ? 6.3

6.Boulder, CO ? 6.3

8.Madison, WI ? 6.2

8.Bremerton-Silverdale, WA ? 6.2

10. EastStroudsburg, PA ? 6.0

10. IowaCity, IA ? 6.0

2016 TopMetropolitan Areas ? Total Volunteers

1. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria,DC-VA-MD-WV ? 386

2. NewYork-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA ? 379

3. LosAngeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA ? 283

4.Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI ? 245

5.Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI ? 180

6.Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA ? 178

7.Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH ? 176

8.Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD ? 154

9.Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA ? 140

10. SanFrancisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA ? 136

*PeaceCorps data current as of September 30, 2016. The metropolitan area data used todetermine Peace Corps? rankings are derived from the most current U.S. CensusBureau ?Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Area? data. Volunteersself-report their home city and state on their Peace Corps application.

The Peace Corps Office of Inspector General Receives Two Awards for Excellence

WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 21, 2016 - The Peace CorpsOffice of Inspector General (OIG) received two awards for excellence at theCouncil of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency?s (CIGIE) 19thAnnual Awards Ceremony held on October 20, 2016.

CIGIE presented the Award for Excellence in Audits toan OIG team for their ?Audit of the Peace Corps? Healthcare Benefits AdministrationContract.? This audit examinedhow the Peace Corps, through its contractor, processes claims for medicalservices provided to its Volunteers. The audit team found seriousflaws in the Peace Corps? contracting practices and the contractor did notfully follow the terms in the contract. The audit found Peace Corps spent $1.2million on services that couldn?t be verified by records. Expert Jeffrey Lee,Lead Auditor Snehal Nanavati, Auditor Ann Lawrence, Former Assistant InspectorGeneral for Audits Bradley Grubb, Assistant Inspector General for Audits JudyLeonhardt, Deputy Inspector General and Legal Counsel Joaquin Ferrao, and formerAttorney Advisor Jos Vega received the award.

AnotherOIG team received an Award for Excellence in Evaluations for their ?Follow-UpEvaluation of Issues Identified in the 2010 Peace Corps/Morocco Assessment ofMedical Care?, a report on the organization and provision of medical care toPeace Corps Volunteers worldwide. CIGIE recognized the team for excellence dueto the positive effect the report will have on the Peace Corps? ability toprotect Volunteers? health, the collaboration between Peace Corps OIG and U.S.Department of Veterans Affairs OIG, and the creative manner in which theevaluation team designed and carried out fieldwork. Senior Evaluator Erin Balch,Evaluator Kaitlyn Large, former Senior Evaluator Susan Gasper, Senior EvaluatorGreg Yeich, Drs. Thomas Wong and George Wesley of the Department of VeteransAffairs Office of Inspector General, and Assistant Inspector General forEvaluations Jeremy Black received the award.

Inspector General Kathy A. Buller stated, ?PeaceCorps? program is its Volunteers and their health and safety is our priority. Thework of Peace Corps OIG that was honored today makes recommendations to improvethe way health care is provided to Volunteers.I?m proud of these teamsand their efforts to further the Peace Corps mission.?

The Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended,established OIGs within federal agencies to combat fraud, waste, abuse, and toimprove economy and efficiency. The inspector general community has more than14,000 audit, investigation, inspection, and other professionals across 72 IGs.

CIGIE is an independent entity within the executive branchrepresenting 72 OIGs in the federal government. CIGIE?s mission is to promoteintegrity, economy, and effectiveness in government agencies as well as toincrease the professionalism and effectiveness of personnel in the community ofinspectors general. For more information on the IG community, visit

Peace Corps Director Celebrates National Park Service Centennial at National Mall and Memorial Parks

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 12, 2016 ? Last month Peace CorpsDirector Carrie Hessler-Radelet toured the National Mall and Memorial Parks to celebratethe 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. She was joinedby 11 returned Peace Corps volunteers who now work with the National ParkService.

The tour of the Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King, Jr.Memorial and Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial featured historicalpresentations by National Mall Park Rangers that served in Peace Corps in Peru,Mongolia and China respectively. Throughout the tour, the Rangers commented onthe themes of service and equality depicted at the memorials and the similaritiesto Peace Corps? mission of world peace and friendship.

?What aprivilege it is to celebrate the National Park Service Centennial at theNational Mall, a place that honors so beautifully our nation?s history andhighest ideals,? said Director Hessler-Radelet. ?As a person who spends a lotof time on national park land as a private citizen, I feel indebted on a dailybasis to those who came before us for the great gift they gave us in ournational park system.

?The PeaceCorps and the National Park Service share a commitment to preserving theenvironment and culture of our nation. It was a special treat to have atour of the National Mall by returned Peace Corps volunteers who now work forthe National Park Service and I am grateful to all National Park Serviceemployees for their dedication to serving our country and preserving itsnatural beauty.?

As part of the tour, Director Hessler-Radelet recited theranger motto and was awarded a junior ranger badge.

Peace Corps Director Visits Mongolia to Celebrate 25th Anniversary

WASHINGTON,D.C., August 15, 2016?PeaceCorps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet joined U.S. Ambassador to MongoliaJennifer Zimdahl Galt at the swearing in of Mongolia?s newest cohort ofvolunteers on Saturday. The ceremony took place at Mongolia?s National Opera Theaterduring a celebration honoring 25 years of partnership between Mongolia andPeace Corps.

?Weare so proud to continue our important partnership with this beautifulcountry,? Director Hessler-Radelet said during the ceremony. ?Through theservice of our Peace Corps Volunteers?and the collaboration of their Mongoliancounterparts, host families, community members, friends, and supporters?thehearts of our two nations have been forever connected.?

Inaddition to U.S. Ambassador Galt, Vice Foreign Minister B. Battsetseg, and otherdistinguished guests attended the 25th Anniversary Celebration. Duringthe event, Ambassador Galt swore in 46 volunteers who will be working asEnglish Education and Community Development volunteers throughout Mongolia.They are the 27th group of volunteers to serve in Mongolia since theprogram was founded in 1991. Over 1,225 Volunteers have worked in Mongolia in theareas of community and youth development initiatives, health education,economic development and teaching English as a foreign language.

Thecelebration took place during Director Hessler-Radelet?s first trip to Mongoliaas Director.During the trip, she hasmet with government officials including PresidentTsakhiagiin Elbegdorj and visited Peace Corps volunteers in their communities.

Peace Corps Director Travels to Liberia and Morocco with the First Lady to Support Let Girls Learn
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 5, 2016 ? Last week Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet participated in a three-day visit to Liberia and Morocco with First Lady Michelle Obama in support of the U.S. government?s Let Girls Learn initiative. Throughout her travel, Director Hessler-Radelet met with girls from across both countries, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Princess Lalla Salma of Morocco, the U.S. Ambassador to Morocco, Peace Corps volunteers and staff, and officials from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). In conjunction with the visit, the White House announced the expansion of Peace Corps? Let Girls Learn program in Liberia and the launch of a new Let Girls Learn program in Morocco in the coming months.

?Since our founding, the Peace Corps has played a critical role in empowering women and girls in communities throughout the world,? Director Hessler-Radelet said. ?Through Let Girls Learn, we are amplifying those efforts and thrilled to expand this vital work to more countries, including Morocco, next year.?

Director Hessler-Radelet?joined by the First Lady, Malia and Sasha Obama and the First Lady?s mother Mrs. Marian Robinson?visited a Peace Corps Training Facility in Liberia, where Peace Corps volunteers and trainees were leading a GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) Camp for 31 Liberian girls to address specific barriers they face in receiving a quality education and to help them build leadership, self-confidence and life skills. After the GLOW Camp, Director Hessler-Radelet attended a roundtable discussion between the First Lady, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Liberian school girls who have faced serious obstacles in attaining an education. The discussion, hosted by USAID, shed light on the U.S. Government?s continued efforts to assist girls in overcoming such obstacles as the country moves beyond the Ebola epidemic.

Following the roundtable discussion, Director Hessler-Radelet traveled to Morocco with the First Lady for a conversation highlighting the expansion of Let Girls Learn and why educating girls is essential to healthy and thriving communities. The First Lady heard inspiring first-hand accounts from Moroccan girls who have overcome barriers to go to and stay in school and discussed the critical role education has played in her own life and career. U.S. Ambassador to Morocco Dwight L. Bush, Sr., USAID/Morocco Mission Director Dana Mansuri and MCC Vice President Kyeh Kim attended the conversation with Director Hessler-Radelet.

A number of the girls participating in both discussions with the First Lady were able to do so because a Peace Corps volunteer in their community had nominated them to share their dedication to receiving an education and demonstrating leadership skills.

Director Hessler-Radelet then accompanied the First Lady and her daughters and mother, along with additional distinguished guests, to a traditional iftar dinner hosted by Princess Lalla Salma, wife of Morocco?s King Mohammed VI. The Peace Corps has enjoyed 53 years of support and friendship from the Government of Morocco, including an ongoing commitment made by King Mohammed VI to President Obama in fall 2013 to financially support volunteer-led projects. These funds have enabled volunteers to complete over 30 sustainable, community-based projects across the country.

Since the launch of Let Girls Learn, with the help of corporate partners and individual donors from all over the U.S., the Peace Corps has funded more than 200 Let Girls Learn projects in 35countries throughout Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Central America. In addition, more than 1400Peace Corps volunteers have already received training to become catalysts for community-led change to improve girls? access to education and empowerment.To support Peace Corps volunteers? Let Girls Learn projects, visit the Peace Corps Let Girls Learn Fund. One hundred percent of donations to the Peace Corps Let Girls Learn Fund directly support volunteer projects and complement the resources that local communities contribute towards these projects.

Peace Corps Response Celebrates 20th Anniversary

WASHINGTON,D.C., June 21, 2016 ? This week, Peace Corps Response celebrates 20 years of sendingexperiencedprofessionalsto undertake short-term, high-impact service assignments incommunities around the world. Since its founding on June 19, 1996, more than2,900 Americans have served through the Response program in over 80 countries.In 2015, 332 skilled professionals served overseas as Response volunteers?anall-time high for the agency.

?Over thecourse of 20 years, Peace Corps Response volunteers have brought vital skillsand knowledge to communities in need of their support,? Peace Corps DirectorCarrie Hessler-Radelet said. ?While Response volunteers may only be in-countryfor short periods of time, their positive impact continues to have lastingeffects on the communities they serve.?

Peace CorpsResponse, formerly known as Crisis Corps, was founded by former Peace CorpsDirector Mark Gearan to send returned Peace Corps volunteers back to the fieldfor short periods of time to assist communities following conflict and naturaldisasters. In 2012, Peace Corps expanded the Response program to includequalified Americans with expansive professional experience. The program?slargest volunteer cohorts include the 73 volunteers who served in Thailand andSri Lanka following the 2004 tsunami and the 272 volunteers who served in the U.S.following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.

Following aone- to two-week training orientation, Response volunteers serve in specializedassignments that range from three to 12 months. Peace Corps Response currentlyoffers more than 70 volunteer opportunities for experienced professionals. Inaddition to disaster risk mitigation, Response volunteers serve in all six ofPeace Corps? project sectors: agriculture, community economic development,education, environment, health, and youth development.

Responsevolunteers are often the first on the ground when the agency opens a newcountry program, re-opens a suspended country, or pilots partnerships. LastDecember, Peace Corps Response and IBM launched an innovative public-privatepartnership between IBM?s Corporate Service Corps and the Response program thatbrings high level business practitioners to the field to collaborate with Responsevolunteers to meet host country partner needs. In 2012, Peace Corps launchedthe Global Health Service Partnership(GHSP) with SeedGlobal Health and The U.S.President's Emergency Plan for AIDSRelief(PEPFAR) as a way to send physicians and nurses abroad to trainstaff and build healthcare capacity. GHSP volunteers work in Malawi, Tanzania,Uganda, Liberia, and Swaziland. Since the program launched, 97 physician andnurse educators have served through GHSP and 61 Volunteers, the largest cohortin GHSP?s history, will depart this July.

Peace Corps Director Emphasizes Importance of Girls? Education at White House United State of Women Summit

WASHINGTON,D.C., June 14, 2016 ? Today, Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radeletmoderated a panel discussion on the importance of girls? education during theWhite House United State of Women Summit in Washington, D.C. The panel, titled Learning without Limits: Transcending Barriers to Girls' EducationGlobally, focused on the President and First Lady?s Let Girls Learninitiative and the importance of addressing barriers to girls? educationworldwide. Panel participants discussed their individual efforts to improveaccess to education for girls and how others can become involved.

?There hasnever been a moment like this for women and girls in the world,? said DirectorHessler-Radelet. ?With the support of the First Lady and Let Girls Learn, wehave been given a tremendous platform not only to elevate the challenges womenand girls are facing worldwide, but more importantly, to be the change we wantto see and to truly move the needle for women and girls.?

Launched inMarch 2015, Let Girls Learn is a U.S. government effort that aims to addressthe range of challenges preventing 62 million adolescent girls from attendingand completing school, and from realizing their potential as adults. Since the launch of Let Girls Learn, with the help ofcorporate partners and individual donors from all over the U.S., Peace Corpshas funded more than 200 Let Girls Learn projects in 33 countries throughoutAfrica, Asia, Eastern Europe and Central America. In addition, more than 800Peace Corps volunteers have already received training to become catalysts forcommunity-led change to improve girls? access to education and empowerment.

DirectorHessler-Radelet was joined by panelist Charlene Espinoza, returned Peace Corpsvolunteer and Founder and CEO of Bosh Bosh Inc.; Gina Tesla, returned PeaceCorps volunteer and Director of Corporate Citizenship at IBM; Anna MariaChavez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA; Christina Lowery, CEO of Girl Rising; AnnCotton, Founder of Camfed International; Angelique Kidjo, singer and songwriter;Kakenya Ntaiya, Founder and President of Kakenya Center for Excellence; andRebecca Winthrop, Director of the Center for Universal Education at BrookingsInstitute.

Two newcommitments to Peace Corps? Let Girls Learn Fund were announced during theSummit from PayPal and the Hershey Company. These commitments will supportcommunity-led Peace Corps volunteer projects that increase girls? access toeducational opportunities. In total, Let Girls Learn corporate andphilanthropic partners have committed over two million dollars toward the PeaceCorps? Let Girls Learn Fund to support community-led, adolescent girls?education projects around the world.

The Peace Corps Unveils New Look to Engage Next Generation of Service-Minded Americans

WASHINGTON,D.C., June 1, 2016 ?Today the Peace Corps unveiled a refreshed brandplatform that underscores the agency?s commitment to engaging the nextgeneration of Americans who want to make positive, lasting change in the world.The new look embraces a digitally focused communications approach and aims tomake the Peace Corps more accessible to audiences through the platforms theyalready use.

Builtto fit Peace Corps? unique mission, the refreshed platform includes an updatedlogo with a bright, modern look, and a bold new website, overhauled to be responsiveand completely mobile-friendly. Together the elements tell a compelling story thatis authentic, fresh and engaging while still honoring the agency?s historicroots.

?ThePeace Corps has more than 50 years of experience to build on, and our coremission hasn?t changed. But the world around us has,? said Peace Corps DirectorCarrie Hessler-Radelet. ?The people-to-people work our volunteers do is theheart of the Peace Corps, and our new look puts those stories front and center.I?m thrilled to be leading the agency through this historic brand refresh thathonors our past, but also opens a window to our future.?

PeaceCorps? in-house creative team collaborated with Ogilvy Washington on the visualelements of the refreshed identity, emphasizing a clean, forward-facing look. Theupdated logo includes key elements from the agency?s historic pre-existing logo?includingthe image of the dove, the American flag, and the U.S. colors?but modernized tobe scalable in constrained digital spaces.

?Wehave great respect for the Peace Corps and the passion shared by the manyvolunteers and returned volunteers who care deeply about the mission,? saidRobert Mathias, President, Ogilvy Washington. ?The new brand identity is rootedin this vibrant legacy, connects with new audiences and positions the PeaceCorps? mission-driven brand for future generations. We are thrilled to havecollaborated with the Peace Corps on this historic initiative.?

ForumOne, a returned Peace Corps volunteer-owned digital agency, worked with the PeaceCorps to completely overhaul PeaceCorps.Gov. The new site features a fresh designthat is bold, compelling, and inspirational, and puts the volunteer experienceat the center, with an emphasis on authentic narratives, captivating imagery,and volunteer-generated media. Users can easily navigate content and arepresented with the most current and useful information at every point of theirdigital journey.

?Asa returned Peace Corps volunteer, I?m extremely proud we?ve been able to workwith the Peace Corps team on this important digital initiative,? said ChrisWolz, RPCV Nepal (1983-85), and CEO of Forum One. ?I?ve seen first-hand theamazing impact the Peace Corps has on lives around the world and on the livesof its volunteers, including me! The new website will help the Peace Corps havean even stronger impact, by engaging an ever-wider audience to become inspiredand take action!?

The Peace Corps has spent the last several years making tremendous reforms toits programs, strengthening support to promote health and safety, improving Volunteertraining, and delivering a new application. With this strong foundation inplace, the agency is ready to present a new look to engage the next generationof Americans, eager to use their talents and ingenuity to improve the lives ofothers around the world.

Viet Nam to Welcome Peace Corps for First Time
Carrie Hessler-Radelet in Viet Nam

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 23, 2016 ? Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet andthe Government of Viet Nam announced today an historicpartnership to establish a Peace Corps programfor the first timein Viet Nam. The announcementcoincides withPresident Barack Obama?s trip to Viet Nam and underscores the United States? broader commitment to supporting the people of Viet Nam throughEnglish language learning.

?Peace Corps? partnership with Viet Nam is an opportunity for our countries to continue to develop a strong and enduring relationship, and build friendships that will last a lifetime. I am excited to welcome Viet Nam as our 142ndPeace Corps country,? said Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet. ?We?re grateful that the Government and the people of Viet Nam have invited Peace Corps volunteers to serve in their country. This new partnership will further strengthen and deepen our two countries? people to people engagements, and the volunteers will learn the rich traditions, culture and history of this great nation.?

Peace Corps? efforts in Viet Nam will focus on English language education. Once in-country, volunteers will undergo three months of comprehensive cultural, language and technical training before they are given their volunteer assignments where they will serve for two years.

Education is the Peace Corps? largest program area with 37 percent of volunteers serving in that sector. Education volunteers play an important role in creating links among schools, parents, and communities.

The Peace Corps Retires Its Master?s International Graduate School Program After Nearly 30 Years

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 2, 2016 ?The Peace Corps will be retiring its Master?s International (MI) graduate school program after nearly three decades of fruitful partnerships with 96 graduate universities across the country. While students beginning an MI program by or before the fall of 2016 will still be able to apply to Peace Corps and serve as an MI student if selected, the Peace Corps will end its memoranda of agreement with MI university partners in September to focus resources on the agency?sPeace Corps Prep undergraduate programandPaul D. Coverdell Fellows graduate program.

?We are incredibly grateful that this program laid the foundation for strong relationships with so many universities,? Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet said. ?Although the Peace Corps has outgrown the goals of the Master?s International program, we?re looking forward to continuing our collaboration with our valued university partners knowing there are so many opportunities to unite their strong academic competency with our core mission of sustainable, positive change.?

The Peace Corps receives thousands of applications from highly qualified Peace Corps candidates each year, and has developed robust training curriculum for volunteers once they arrive in their country of service. When founded in 1987, MI was created as a way to pair graduate students holding advanced sector-specific training and skills with relevant Peace Corps volunteer opportunities.

During the program?s lifespan, thousands of MI students like Taylor McLean gained technical skills in graduate school before continuing their education overseas through Peace Corps service. McLean, who served in Ghana from 2004-06 and studied at Cornell, worked with the Fisheries Directorate in Ghana?s Ministry of Food and Agriculture to help promote sustainable fish farming in communities around the country.

?The question that loomed over me was: How does a young girl who doesn?t speak the local language, doesn?t wash her own clothes, and doesn?t even eat fish possibly contribute to the development of Ghana?s freshwater fisheries?? McLean said while in service. ?The answers came to me slowly, with a lot of lessons about life and culture mixed in. I have found amazing people to work with? farmers, ministry staff, university professors and students?all driven by a true belief in their work and love for their country.?

The MI program has allowed students in a wide range of graduate programs to apply the ideas and concepts they learned in the classroom to on-the-ground situations during Peace Corps service. Schools like Michigan Tech University?which offers ten different MI programs, ranging from Civil and Environmental Engineering to Mitigation of Geological Natural Disasters?and Tulane University?which houses a successful MI program in its School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine?encourage students to travel around the world to use their specialized education to make a difference. Michigan Tech and Tulane?as well as Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey?have been prolific producers of MI students and regularly ranked among the agency?s top MI programs.

With the retirement of MI, the Peace Corps will bolster support of its Peace Corps Prep undergraduate program and Paul D. Coverdell Fellows graduate program. The agency has Peace Corps Prep program partnerships with more than 50 leading academic institutions nationwide and partners with more than 100 graduate universities through the Paul D. Coverdell Fellows program.