|Happy Peace Corps Week! And happy 62nd birthday to Peace Corps today. The agency has organized a number of events in celebration of our community’s birthday this week, such as tonight’s Franklin H. Williams Award Ceremony, which I look forward to attending. Also, I’m thrilled to see several Peace Corps posts across the world have been hosting events — including tomorrow’s Connect with Sri Lanka event. We have already seen many of you online and look forward to more engagement over the coming days.
Peace Corps Week kicked off in earnest yesterday with a powerful “Connect with the World” event led by Peace Corps Director Carol Spahn, who presented a compelling vision of Peace Corps’ place in a rapidly changing world. Director Spahn discussed the path ahead, refocusing on Peace Corps’ strengths to “address power inequities, professionalize service, improve sustainability, link youth leaders to opportunities, and enhance locally-led development.” A highlight from her presentation was the illustration of Peace Corps’ vision for harnessing the power of youth through a hypothetical story of a young local partner’s journey through Peace Corps as a counterpart, partner, beneficiary, and future leader. I know we all look forward to this vision becoming a reality.
Director Spahn defined Peace Corps, not as a service opportunity for Americans in currently participating countries, but as “a global network of individuals from over 140 countries who work together at the grassroots level and who are committed to being agents of progress.” The agency is clearly taking massive steps in its language to focus on inclusion of local counterparts and partners, past and present, as members of its network. Indeed, including the voices of counterparts from Nepal, Senegal, and the Dominican Republic in this “Connect with the World” event was a great step in putting local voices front and center in the Peace Corps experience.
National Peace Corps Association serves as the connecting force for this global network that Director Spahn spoke about. NPCA welcomes RPCVs, local counterparts, host families, Peace Corps staff, and friends of the Peace Corps to engage with this global network by renewing your NPCA membership and seeking out ways to get involved in any of the 178 RPCV groups found on NPCA’s Affiliate Group Directory.
Finally, if you are not an NPCA mission partner, we still invite you to read the free online version of our newest edition of Worldview magazine or explore feature stories from the recent magazine on our website’s news feed.
I leave you this week with one of the agency’s key messages of Peace Corps Week: “Service with others is critical to deepening the bonds of our global community, both abroad and at home.”
President and CEO
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Thank you for the Pace Corps 62nd birthday message.
Sixty-two years and Peace Corps is still vibrant, necessary and attracting competent idealistic volunteers. willing to risk investing two years of their life while utilizing their skills to enhance the lives of people they have never met, in the hope of making this a better world.
At one and the same time, 62 years ago seems like yesterday yet it also seems a lifetime ago which of course it is for volunteers of my generation. It bring joy to my heart knowing and seeing another generation of volunteers departing on a life-changing journey doing “the hardest job they’ill ever love.”
Jim Wolter, Malaya I, ’61-”66