PC/W Talks Cooperation with RPCVs in D.C.

Kristina Owens (Bolivia 2000-02), the ‘Strategic Partnership Director’ of RPCV/W sent out the following email to ‘RPCV friends and supporters’ of the group. She was  relating what she titles, “A Successful RPCV/W Peace Corps Town Hall Meeting!” held last week in Shriver Hall at PC/HQ.

Here it is, reprinted.

Dear RPCV Friends and supporters,

Last week’s Peace Corps Town Hall Meeting was a resounding success, in part because of the interest and questions from the RPCV community. Over 100 RPCVs came to listen to the Peace Corps Leadership and participated in the Q & A session.

RPCV/W President Chris Austin began the hour by reflecting on how our community came together to commemorate 50 years of the Peace Corps; it was a tribute to a diverse community who understood that Peace Corps affected each of us in an important way.       

This effort continues to inspire RPCV/W to facilitate new and creative initiatives such as our monthly Professional Development panel discussions and Community Service efforts.

NPCA President Kevin Quigley continued the program by discussing one of their new initiatives — to find each person that served in or has worked for the Peace Corps. NPCA hopes this initiative will further strengthen our community. He also reminded us about the recent RPCV survey, which found that RPCVs volunteer at twice the rate of the average American.

Before hearing from the Director, Deputy Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet updated the community on some of last year’s concerns about safety and security.

Finally, the Director spoke on some of the exciting initiatives Peace Corps has been part of, including the recent initiative that consists of Peace Corps, PEPFAR and Global Health Service Corps launching a unique Public-Private Partnership to boost training for health professionals in developing countries.

For the remaining part of the hour, we had a Q & A session that included questions about Peace Corps response programs, the possibility of placing same sex couples, and non-competitive eligibility.

Unfortunately, there were more questions than time but we will endeavor to have Peace Corps respond to all the questions submitted and will include those in subsequent newsletters.

PCV/W would like to thank the Peace Corps 3rd Goal Office, the Directors Office, and the Communications Office for helping to make this event successful! Another big thanks goes to you – our local RPCV community!

If you have any additional questions please feel free to email strategicpartner@rpcvw.org

4 Comments

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  • I was lucky enough to be visiting Washington and was able to attend this Town Hall. I would urge RPCVs of Washington and PC/W to make this a regular event. It was just an hour. I think that a regularly scheduled hour Town Hall every month or every two months would give PC/W a needed chance to listen to and see, face to face, RPCVs and vice versa. RPCvs of Washington DC, as well as NPCA, worked very hard to make the 50th Anniversary celebration a time to remember, and this Town Hall is a continuation of all those efforts. They are to be thanked and encouraged.

    There are changes coming to Peace Corps and this would be one good way to keep people informed, and to keep PC/W on its toes.
    One of the major changes is the expansion of the Peace Corps Response Team to include non-RPCVs.

    I had the opportunity to talk with Director Williams about the website with information about this new Response Team program, when in was in Denver in January. ( No, I am not stalking him!) He assured us then that the non-RPCV members of the Team would meet all the prohibitions against having worked with intelligence agencies as regular PCVs. He also said that he would change the website to highlight that fact. The website has not been changed. I brought this to his attention, again. (No, Honest. I really am not following him around the country!) He acted surprised that the website had not been changed and said he would “recommit” that it would be done. It still hasn’t changed.

    I had spoken with the new Director of the Response Team on the phone. She is a lovely woman with impeccable legal credentials who came to PC/W not from serving as a Volunteer but as a political appointee, whose service had been with Organizing for America.
    My impression was that she did not share the sensitivity to this issue that RPCVs might.

  • Additonally, Kristina Owens was acknowledged for her work on the 50th, I can say first hand she was the “prime mover” at RPCV/W for oranizing most of the events, including the Arlington Ceremony. Lest we forget the Peace Corps Agnecy was prohibited by law for organizing the 5Oth and the task fell to RPCV/W. And least we forget the Peace Corps Agency is pohibited from lobbying therefore the work for Advocacy Day is the work of John Pearson and others at NPCA.

    Aaron Williams,the Director, did point out at the Town Hall Meeting, the top three positions at Peace Corps are RPCV’s, the Director, the Deputy Director and the Chief of Staff and RPCV’s dominate the agency. Wiiliams pointed out this is also true at USAID, and the NGO community, as well as, the “other side of the street, ” where students and community members hold significant positions in their national goverment and civil society.

    Carrie Hessler-Radlet, the Deputy and a Peace Coprs legacy volunteer ( her aunt was a PCV in the 60’s and her grandparents, brother, and other family members have been RPCV’s),pointed to the increased transparacncy at the Agency She said the Office of RPCV’s has been re- launched by the current management and there has been more reform in the agency than in the last 40 years.

    What’s up for the next 50 years…no administration ( including Obama’s— which has proposed less than Fiscal 2012) has doubled the budget to permit PC to meet requests from host countries and field and administer volunteers. Wiiliams said the PC will continue to recruit minorities and seniors, continue Peace Corps Response, and make Peace Corps part of a persons career track.

    Onward and upward to 2061

    Dennis Grubb
    Colombia(1961-1963)

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