Acting PC Director Carol Spahn replies to Jerry Norris’ letter about the work of RPCV Maureen Orth


Carol Spahn

Jerry Norris (Colombia 1963-65) has been researching efforts of RPCVs in pursuit of the Third Goal and posting them here as “Profiles in Courage.” Maureen Orth (Colombia 1964-66) was one such Profile. Jerry Norris wrote Acting Peace Corps Director Carol Spahn about the Orth Foundation which helps Colombian students become bilingual and skilled in computer technology. See:

He shares Spahn’s response here:

Dear Mr. Norris:

Thank you for reaching out to share the story of RPCV Maureen Orth and her inspiring work with the Marina Orth Foundation, as it relates to the Peace Corps’ domestic dividend. As you point out, both she and Donna Shalala have truly gone above and beyond when it comes to our Third Goal.

It’s always nice to hear from Returned Volunteers and I so appreciate that you felt compelled to respond to my open letter. As you say, the full impact of the more than 241,000 returned Peace Corps Volunteers, with unique global perspectives, skills, and commitments to these ideals is an underappreciated benefit of the taxpayers’ investment in the agency’s mission. This past year, we made a commitment to improve how we capture and articulate the ‘domestic dividend’ of the Peace Corps. This work includes both telling the stories of the impact of RPCVs here at home and working to systematically capture the supporting data, such as what you shared in your note.

We have so much work to do, and we are excited to return to the field and be able to focus on what we do best. The world is a different place than it was when we evacuated almost a year ago, and as I noted in my letter our primary goal during this critical time is returning Peace Corps Volunteers to the countries we know and love. You are right, though, that even without our Volunteers in the field, we still have successes to report. Our work is and will always be ongoing.

Thank you again for your heartfelt letter and your commitment to contribute, and thank you for your service in PC/Colombia.


Carol Spahn
Acting Director Peace Corps


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