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 tocrop-photo-peace-corps-bld 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 in and day out.   I will forever marvel at the dedication, intellect and skill of the Peace Corps team working around the globe.  Your work and commitment have been crucial to achieving our shared success.

Volunteers embody our three enduring goals.  I have had the opportunity to see them empower girls and bolster the skills of future leaders.  They teach English, math and science and reduce the spread of preventable diseases like HIV/AIDS and Malaria. They open a window to the world in the countries they serve and back home as well.  During my tenure as Director of the Peace Corps, I have met thousands of Americans across our nation who are Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and have committed their life’s work to service.

Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Deputy Director of the Peace Corps, will begin serving as Acting Peace Corps Director upon my departure.  I am confident that the superb team, under her and Chief of Staff Stacy Rhodes’ continued strong leadership will lead the Peace Corps to great success as it heads into the next 50 years.

I will always be grateful for your commitment to the ideals set forth by our founder Sargent Shriver.   It has indeed been a remarkable journey to serve side by side with you.  Thank you.


Aaron S. Williams



Leave a comment
  • Thanks for the bland performance. Adding more Exceptions to the Five Year Rule was just so bureaucratic…so unShriveresque…

  • Perhaps he wasn’t getting attention from the White House , not to worry, if Romney/Ryan win there will be no Peace Corps or perhaps he is taking the vacant President’s post at the NPCA.

    Dennis Grubb

  • @William Everson –

    I am unaware of the Director adding more exceptions to the Five Year Rule. He may have. Could you identify them?

    Congress exempted the Office of the Inspector General’s staff from the Five Year Rule. The OIG has recommended changes in the FYR. My understanding is that of last week that no changes had been made,

  • Skepticism serves no purpose. Which one of you critics think you cold do a better job in a politically charged environment like that.And if he is headed for the NPCA, great! Perhaps he can help build a stronger, more amicable relationship with that organization and we can make sure efforts to support Peace Corps are additive not duplicative or antagonistic. Perhaps you critics were never idealistic but you must have had some belief that the world can be a better place or you wouldn’t have joined the Peace Corps in the first place. Get back to that place and you can help make it so. ““It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,. . .” — Theodore Roosevelt

  • Thank you, Kadua, for those inspiring thoughts. I join you in urging our PC colleagues from over 50 years to stand together for the future of this idea, still great after all these years.

  • I really like what you said, Kadua, especially your use of Theodore Roosevelt’s inspiring quote…It is very meaningful in this political climate…

  • I met the director last month in Burlington (moved to Vermont after PCorps adagascar in2000)and he seemed so..decent and very motivated, even though he had served in that annoying (I’d add more but…) agency US AID after Peace Corps in DR.

    So… there probably is something political or financial involved. Still ‘n all, I think the P.Corps is one of the best ‘agencies” in the country and whatever positive good comes out of a volunteers experiences can never really be measured.And after all, what changes have taken place under Williams leadership? any?

  • Dr. Joani- Probably Aaron S. Williams’ tenure (2009-2012) as the director will be judged on statistics: a net increase in the number of countries served (2), an increase in the number of volunteers (+1,424, at more than 9,000 in the field, the highest number since 1970), an increase in the relative proportion of minority volunteers 20%, the highest percentage in agency history), an increase of the relative proportion of volunteers over the age of 50 (7%) and insitution of the new safety procedures.

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