Archive - August 27, 2012

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In Case You Haven't Seen Director Williams' Letter of Resignation
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Winner of the 2011 Paul Cowan Non-Fiction Award — Kevin G. Lowther (Sierra Leone 1963-65)
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Danger: Transitions – Continued : IGO comments on Political Appointees

In Case You Haven't Seen Director Williams' Letter of Resignation

August 21, 2012 Dear Colleagues: For the past three years, I have had the privilege to lead one of the most beloved and valued agencies in the United States federal government.  It has been a distinct honor to serve as the Director of the Peace Corps in President Obama’s Administration and to further his policy of broader global engagement.  That is why it is with a heavy heart that I announce my decision to step down as Peace Corps Director effective September 17, 2012. This has been a difficult choice because serving in this position has been the highlight of my public service career.  It has brought my personal journey in government full circle – from Peace Corps Volunteer to Director.   It is time, however, for me to shift my focus to my family. It has been an honor to lead an outstanding team who support our remarkable Volunteers day . . .

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Winner of the 2011 Paul Cowan Non-Fiction Award — Kevin G. Lowther (Sierra Leone 1963-65)

Winner of the 2011 Paul Cowan Non-Fiction Award is Kevin G. Lowther (Sierra Leone 1963-65) author of The African-American Odyssey of John Kizell: A South Carolina Slave Returned to Fight the Slave Trade in His African Homeland. Winners  of the Peace Corps Writers Awards receive a certificate and small cash award. Kevin Lowther served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sierra Leone (1963–65), teaching African and world history at West Africa’s oldest secondary school in Freetown. He spent the next six years with the Peace Corps in various capacities: trainer, campus recruiter, public information officer (in charge of a news service targeted at college students), desk officer for programs in Southern Africa and manager of an office to support volunteerism among former PCVs. He also was in charge of Volunteers to America — the “reverse” Peace Corps program-during its final year of operation. In 1971, Lowther worked with C. Payne . . .

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Danger: Transitions – Continued : IGO comments on Political Appointees

The recently published Inspector General’s Report, Final Evaluation Report: Impacts of the Five-Year Rule on Operations of the  Peace Corps (IG-12-05-E)  focused on the problems caused by the so-called Five Year Rule.  But the report did acknowledge the effect of the Peace Corps’ political appointment structure. I think the observations are critically important. Do you?  From the IGO report: Staffs’ concerns regarding the Peace Corps’ political appointment structure Throughout the course of this evaluation many interviewees expressed their beliefs and attitudes regarding the effect that political appointees, particularly appointees with no previous Peace Corps experience, were having on the operations of the agency. Many respondents insisted that it was important for our evaluation to consider the combined effect on the agency’s operations of constant staff turnover and the agency’s political appointment structure. The commonly expressed reasoning respondents articulated was that these two features of the agency’s personnel structure—high turnover created by . . .

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