The following paragraph is from the Peace Corps Agency Assessment Report published in June 2010. It is Recommendation #4 in the Vision Summary on page 12, and reads:

Breaking from the current mission of Peace Corps Response, assignments would be open to those who could meet qualification criteria, whether or not they had been Peace Corps Volunteers in the past.  The program would place experienced and qualified individuals into assignments that draw on their specific skills and experience, with flexible time commitments.

Questions RPCVs might raise are:

Does this negate the language and cross cultural training that Volunteers receive?
Does this negate the experience that serving Volunteers gain by service that would be helpful in a crisis response?
Does this allows those who do not have the Peace Corps experience to use the “brand name” to their advantage?
How do you keep the CIA from ‘volunteering’ and using the Peace Corps as cover?

There are, of course, advantages to the relaxing of requirements. The change might bring into the Response (Crisis Corps) experienced individuals who, while they never served in the Peace Corps, did work once as missionaries (Sudan Interior Mission?) overseas, in the army’s Special Forces, teach or do research as Fulbright Scholars, or been employed by international companies such as Bechtel. These volunteers might now want to enhance their international CVs by volunteering to a county where they previously lived or want to see.

It is my understanding that later this month the Response/Crisis Corps will enact these changes in the program to allow for 3, 6, and 12 month assignments to anyone with international experience so they, too, will be able to work under the Peace Corps banner, just like us!

The only RPCV organization (at the moment) that might object to this fundamental shift in the program would be the NPCA, and they won’t, I’m sure, raise a hand to object fearing they’d put themselves on the outs with the agency, fearful, too, that they might lose future funding from the Peace Corps, and generating money to support itself has  always been a problem for the NPCA.

For example, the NPCA recently announced that they had moved their offices again, this time into even smaller space, and to a higher floor, in their downtown D.C. building. It is another sure sign they are strapped for cash.

What I suggest is that the NPCA try being a virtual office with their skeleton staff  working from their apartments via computers, saving the organization on rent, lights, heat, and freeing up limited funds so the NPCA would have money enough to host another fancy affair (tuxedos only please) for the card-carrying 1% alumni of the Peace Corps Family. Just a thought.

One of these days the Peace Corps is going to get the Crisis Corps/Response Corps right. Word has it that this month the agency will announce short term assignments of 3,6, 12 months and that you don’t even have to be an RPCV to serve.