RPCV Kathleen Corey (Liberia) — Biden’s Peace Corps Director?
Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Laurette Bennhold (PC Staff 1994-1999)
Senior executive with over 30 years leadership experience with Peace Corps, the Department of State, and international non-governmental organizations. Substantial diplomatic experience promoting U.S. interests abroad. She works exceptionally well in culturally diverse settings. Experienced public speaker and media relations manager.
Kathleen Corey has been the president and CEO of the World Affairs Council of Seattle and Tacoma. Prior to joining the World Affairs Council, Ms. Corey lived and worked in eighteen countries in Asia, Africa, Eastern and Central Europe, Europe, and Central America. She began her overseas career as a Peace Corps volunteer in Liberia, West Africa and spent twenty years managing international and domestic management programs for the Peace Corps and the Center for Applied Linguistics, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit educational institution.
From 1994-1998, Ms. Corey was Country Director for the Peace Corps in Sri Lanka where she managed a program of 70 volunteers and served on the U.S. Embassy’s management team. Prior to that, she held several positions from 1989 to 1994 at Peace Corps’ headquarters in Washington, D.C. As the Deputy Director of the Pacific, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe Region of Peace Corps, Ms. Corey was responsible for Peace Corps entry into Eastern and Central Europe, as well as managing 34 country programs. She negotiated several new country programs for the Peace Corps in China, Bulgaria, Cambodia, and Bangladesh as Acting Regional Director for one year. She is the recipient of seven Peace Corps Outstanding Achievement Awards, as well as an Inspector General’s Commendation Award.
A recent article by Kathleen:
Evacuated Peace Corps Volunteers Need Help Now
When I heard that Peace Corps was evacuating all of its 7,300 volunteers from 61 countries due to COVID-19, I thought of my own challenging experience returning home from a difficult but deeply rewarding stint as a volunteer in Liberia in the 1970s. For many volunteers, one of the hardest parts of what Peace Corps calls “the toughest job you’ll ever love” is coming home to a country that no longer seems familiar or especially interested in hearing about a volunteer’s profound, life-changing experiences.
I can only imagine the added challenges facing the volunteers who have just landed back on our shores. I returned to a country full of educational and professional opportunities for someone with international experience. I attended graduate school, where I had health insurance and where many of my fellow students were also returned volunteers.
Today’s volunteers will be returning to an economy hit hard by COVID-19. Jobs may be scarce, and returned volunteers are not eligible for unemployment benefits. In the midst of a pandemic, Peace Corps-provided health insurance will run out in two months. Universities may not be open. And opportunities to get together with other volunteers to share re-entry stories and strategies will be greatly diminished. Because of quarantines, returnees may not be able to be with loved ones.
In Peace Corps’ 60 years of existence, many volunteers have experienced the trauma of evacuation. As a senior Peace Corps official in the 1990s, I led five evacuations due to war and terrorist activity. But this will be the first group of evacuees who will not be offered the immediate opportunity to serve elsewhere.
Although Peace Corps is doing what it can with its limited resources to help the volunteers, it is not enough. A bill proposed by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Cal), Chris Murphy (D-Conn) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) would help these volunteers. Among other benefits, the bill provides volunteers with unemployment assistance, extended health insurance, opportunities to put their skills to use working on federal coronavirus relief projects, and a quick return to the field once the virus subsides.
Volunteers are some of America’s finest. They don’t join the Peace Corps to dress up a resume or learn a foreign language. They join to serve their country, just as any diplomat or member of the military does, and to help make the world a better place. Now it is their country’s turn to serve them. There has always been bipartisan support for Peace Corps. Now is the time for bipartisan support for volunteers in their time of need.
Kathleen M. Corey is president of the non-profit organization Women of Peace Corps Legacy in Washington, D.C. Women of Peace Corps Legacy is a 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to bring Peace Corps women together to serve communities and create a better world for future generations. We seek to partner with and highlight the work of organizations and programs that are effectively addressing the issues of women and girls. We also aspire to share the stories of past and current Peace Corps Volunteers and staff in order to inspire future service that can positively impact the lives of women and girls worldwide.
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John, Kathy would be an awesome choice. I … and lots others … knew Kathy when she started her outstanding career as a PCV in Liberia. I have watched her from afar over the years and cannot imagine anybody who would be a better choice. I look forward to watching President-elect Biden’s decision making process.
I have known Kathleen Corey since 1985 when I was a consultant for the Center for Applied Linguistics Refugee Service Center for their program in the Philippines. We have stayed in close touch over the years, as Kathleen expanded her experiences and skills in various parts of the world.
It’s difficult to know where to begin with Kathleen Corey because so many things stand out, least of which is her personality and attitude towards work. I’ll leave that to last. Kathleen’s vast experience is impressive: her knowledge in the variety of areas that she has taken on is stunning. I am a language educator, I know a great deal about language education, and that’s all I know! Language education is only one small part of Kathleen Corey’s repertoire, and she excels in it. More impressive is that Corey knows what she doesn’t know and will joyfully investigate and learn what’s most important in that field.
All of us who got to know Kathleen have marveled at her amazing energy level and high standards with which she attacks every job, but I want to get to her personality and attitude: Kathleen finds joy in her profession and spreads it to anyone working with her so that all end up with a “Yes we can, and we can do it well” attitude.
It was a marvelous experience to work with and learn from Kathleen. I can say without a doubt that it was one of the significant parts of my professional life and hope that she can continue making an impact as Peace Corps director.
Kathleen Corey (Corey, as known to her friends) was a highly respected colleague of mine in the United States Refugee Program from 1980-1988. Today, Corey is my dear friend and a stellar role model for all who know her.
I applaud her sterling achievements that range from her roles as a Peace Corps Country Director, Acting Regional Director, Chief of Operations, Program and Training Officer to her current job as Leadership Trainer, with FSI, US Dept. of State, and of course, her years working with refugees in the Dept. of State Refugee Programs in Thailand and the Philippines.
Her work in all of these capacities has been and continues to be remarkable, ground breaking and excellent. I can also fill in the narrative by speaking of her keen sense of duty and expertise when she was my ESL teaching supervisor in Ban Vi Nai Refugee Camp in northern Thailand. As my supervisor, she was diligent, responsible, caring, and respectful of my expertise. Because of her, I learned how to be a teacher in every sense of the word
Corey has an innate sense of what the people she supervises need to feel secure, respected and happy. She lives up to every definition of the word empathetic. She listens. She is a wise problem solver. Corey is able to delegate responsibilities to those working with her in ways that make all of her colleagues, no matter what their positions are, feel respected and empowered. She celebrates diversity of spirit and thought and person.
If my child or my 80-year-old mother were to join the Peace Corps, and Kathleen Corey were the director, I would sleep very, very peacefully and well.
As a former Peace Corps Volunteer and Country Director, I would be proud to see Kathleen Corey head the agency which has meant so much to me. She is eminently qualified and would be a terrific choice.
Such great work that Corey has done over her career and much more to come! This is one very faithful public servant!
I have known Kathleen Corey (Corey) for over 40 years. She was my supervisor in the Ban Vi Nai Refugee Camp and Phanat Nakhom Refugee Camp in Thailand. These camps housed a United States State Department ESL and Cultural Orientation Program, which educated Southeast Asian refugees before their resettlement in America.
As my supervisor, Corey was responsible, reliable, and always ready—ready to do the work, ready to be there for her teachers and colleagues, and ready to problem solve in all situations.
Over the years, I have seen Corey enter positions of great responsibility in the state department and in Peace Corps. She has always done a remarkable job. I believe a great part of her success lies in her ability to listen, to act with empathy, and to problem solve.
Our work with refugees was front line work. Many of us came to volunteer for a year and ended up making a career out of helping and educating refugees. Corey has been on the front lines since 1980. She is a true leader when it comes to carrying out her responsibilities and treating everyone with respect.
Corey embraces everything that Peace Corps stands for. She is a stellar trainer, she knows how to best represent America, and she knows how to help volunteers become culturally sensitive and represent America overseas.
I believe in Corey’s abilities to run the show. She can do it all with grace, fortitude, empathy, sincerity, fairness, and wisdom. She is a star.
Corey is supremely qualified to be The Peace Corps Director. I have known Corey since 1991, when she was Chief of Operations and I reported to her as a Peace Corps country director. We most recently worked together in 2018 at the US Department of State. Corey understands what it means to be both a PCV and PC staff. She understands the essence of what makes Peace Corps Peace Corps. She knows how to manage a large organization. She is a leader of vision who would remain respectful of its original core mission while strengthening the organization to help it address the challenges of the future. Corey is inspirational. I cannot think of a better person to lead our Peace Corps. (PCV Fiji 84-86)
May I join the chorus and applaud this nomination with gusto. Kathleen Corey is a remarkable woman with many talents and broad experience in the international affairs arena. She has extensive knowledge of the Peace Corps and its operations from the ground up from PCV to senior manager. She is well versed in the world of diplomacy having worked for the Department of State for many years in various posts. But most importantly she would bring tremendous leadership skills and enthusiasm to the Peace Corps as it finds its niche in a post-pandemic world. (PC Country Director/Albania and PC/CFO.
Kathleen Corey embodies the ethos of Peace Corps unlike any leader I have met. Her empathy, ability to rally folks in difficult times, and her exuberant drive are just some of the characteristics that would make her an excellent Peace Corps Director. I had the pleasure of serving in Macedonia while Corey was Country Director, and her passion for Peace Corps service led me to find even deeper meaning not only during my service but also as I returned home and entered the workforce. Corey help me cultivate the curiosity, grit, and collaborative problem-solving in Peace Corps that continues to help me contribute wherever I am. In these unprecedented times, Peace Corps needs an adept leader, a humble and present person. I am confident Kathleen Corey is the choice for Peace Corps Director.
I cannot imagine anyone better suited to head Peace Corps than Corey. I served as a volunteer in Macedonia under Corey’s leadership from 2014 – 2015 and it was clear that she truly represents the best of what Peace Corps has to offer. Corey not only demonstrated her capacity to manage the complex technical and administrative demands of being a Country Director, but also showed her unparalleled ability, every day, to connect immediately with volunteers and HCNs alike. Corey made each volunteer feel empowered, safe, and supported which ultimately brought out the best in the PCV community. She, likewise, earned the respect and admiration of local partners where ever she went which created a sense of cross-cultural collaboration in the truest spirit of Peace Corps. As an agency, Peace Corps will be lucky to have her. (RPCV North Macedonia, 14-17)
I remember the first time I met Corey.
It was September 2014 and I was just beginning my service as a Peace Corps Volunteer in North Macedonia. We were an auditorium full of brand new volunteers, having no idea what was in store for us for the next 27 months. I distinctly remember the moment Corey walked in to the room and first introduced herself as our Country Director. Wow. Her presence and passion for the Peace Corps brought me goosebumps and tears in my eyes! In fact, I have tears in my eyes now as I reflect on the influence she made on not only me, but countless other volunteers during our service. I had never met a powerful leader who had such a balance of diplomacy while still genuinely and truly having each and every volunteer’s best interest at heart. I look up to this woman. I don’t know how she does it.
One of a million reasons why I know she is excellent for Peace Corps Director is from a personal experience I had with her during my first year of service. As safety and security is a top priority of the Peace Corps, I was astounded by the way Corey handled such issues with grace. I had to be evacuated from my site and moved to an entirely new site due to a safety concern. This was supported by Corey who dropped this heavy on me as I sat in her office. Although I was resistant to leaving my site behind at first, I 100% trusted Corey’s authoritative decision. Not only did I know and trust she was right, I also felt emotionally supported that she would do what she can for me in my transition. I’ve never felt such trust from a leader in my life.
If you’re not convinced she’s the one for this role, take even 5 minutes to chat with her, and then you’ll know she is the one. Corey is a remarkable woman and I know that my involvement and support for the Peace Corps moving forward would greatly increase if she was our Peace Corps Director. Best of luck and many blessings to Corey and all those who have been fortunate enough to be in her presence at some point in their lives.
Sorry, I meant to say: “This was supported by Corey who dropped this heavy NEWS on me as I sat in her office”
I doubt that President Biden and fellow Democrats can find a more experience and more deserving person
to lead the Peace Corps after the President Trump has so damaged America’s image in the wider
world outside the USA. We need a person like Kathleen Corey more than ever. Let us pray the
Senate will show some real wisdom for a change.
As a Representative of Stadium H.S. Class of 65′, Tacoma, Washington, A fellow classmate of Kathy, can vouch for her outstanding character and friendliness! Kathy was voted, along with a fella, to be The Friendliest! She was friendly to everyone! Everyone felt like her friend and knew who she was, amongst about 650 other of our classmates. Kathy returned to most, if not all, of her class reunions, and of course received the award for “who travelled the furthest”! None of us have been surprised the career path and amount of vunteering she put in, but extremely amazed of the vast amount! She has also been extremely humble about all of her accomplishments.
Hi Lenora, I’m writing a TNT editorial about Kathleen being considered for Peace Corps director and would like to hear from someone who knew her locally. Anything else you’d like to share about her local roots, her fitness for this post, or how special this would be for Tacoma? Do you still live in the area?
Simply ideal qualifications for the Director job. It’s as though her lifetime of experiences, outreach, and achievements has been in preparation for it.
I was the Peace Corps Country Director in 1993 when we celebrated Peace Corps’ 25th anniversary in Fiji. At the time Kathleen Corey was the Chief of Operations for the Pacific, Asia, Eastern and Central Europe and Mediterranean (PACEM) Region. In this capacity, Corey traveled to Fiji to represent Peace Corps Headquarters and to help us celebrate. It was a memorable occasion and Corey helped to make it so.
The incident, I recall, happened during our formal evening ceremony of speeches. This incident, I think, serves as a typical example of Corey’s superior intercultural/interpersonal qualities. It encapsulates why I think she would make an excellent Peace Corps Director.
Our celebration took place on the spacious grounds of the U.S. Ambassador’s residence. Scores of volunteers (past and present) attended, as did local staff and Fijian friends, especially those in their youth who had had Peace Corps teachers. The Peace Corps program has always been popular and respected in Fiji.
On the dais sat senior officials from the Fijian government and Peace Corps, including Corey, all of whom were to deliver remarks. The special guest was the President of Fiji, Sir Ratu Mara. Not long into her speech, Corey brought to our attention the persistent rumor at Peace Corps Headquarters that in 1986 Ratu Mara, then Prime Minister, met with President Ronald Reagan in the Oval Office. At the time, the Reagan administration was considering ending the Peace Corps. The rumor at Headquarters, as Corey revealed, was that during this meeting, the Prime Minister respectfully requested that President Reagan continue funding for Peace Corps because of the many benefits that Peace Corps brings to the world. At this point in her speech, Corey turned to Ratu Mara and asked courageously if the rumor was true. With a wide grin on his face, he nodded ‘yes’. It was then that Corey, in her beautifully gracious and authentic way, thanked the President on behalf of the Peace Corps community worldwide.
It was a perfect example, in a small, yet meaningful, way, of Kathleen Corey in action: doing her homework, knowing her audience and trusting her instincts to do the right thing. She would bring this same cross-cultural competence and leadership to the job of Peace Corps Director.
I have known Kathleen Corey for almost 40 years, first at the SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, Vermont and then in the refugee camps in Southeast Asia. When I learned that Corey was a candidate for Peace Corps Director, I knew she was the perfect candidate: her expertise (and her willingness and eagerness to learn what she doesn’t know), her out-going personality, her work ethic, and especially her ability to work effectively with a wide variety of people and personalities make her exactly what is needed as Peace Corps rebuilds itself after the Pandemic.
One example of Corey’s style and ability to work with others is connected with a huge project we were both part of during the 1980s to develop a coordinated language curriculum for all the U.S. Department of State refugee camp English programs. In this project (as in all of Corey’s projects!) Corey was a competent and creative professional, a clear writer and thinker, and, maybe most important in this group of talented and opinionated language professionals, she was a ‘peacemaker’ and ‘compromiser’. She had done her homework and knew what new arrivals in the U.S. needed in the areas of English language and intercultural communication, and she was a good listener hearing others’ preferences, and helping participants make decisions about what to include in the final curriculum.. Corey stayed enthusiastic and positive about our work after many hours of curriculum planning meetings. And she kept up the spirits of the other 20 or so participants in this curriculum process with her laughter and good humor. These qualities will serve her well as Peace Corps Director.
I would love to be a Volunteer (or an employee) in a Peace Corps directed by Kathleen Corey.
I have in my nearly 60 years involved with the Peace Corps in one way or another, never read so many fine reports about a possible PC Director (not even Sarge). Here is one more from a friend of mine, an RPCV who works for CARE. She just emailed me about someone she know working overseas.
The director of another NGO in country was an RPCV Liberia. She had spent a lot of time in Liberia since her PCV days, including some of the civil war. She was in a car during that time that was stopped by an armed soldier, and to try to win him over, she mentioned she had been Peace Corps there. The soldier brightened and said, “Did you know my teacher, Ms Corey?” “Yes I do know her,” said the woman immediately, “and she will be so disappointed when I tell her you have stopped our car to threaten us with a gun!” The soldier backed off immediately, and said, “please don’t say bad things about me to Ms Corey. and they carried on their way. Peace Corps comes through once again.”
What a wonderful Director Kathleen Corey would be! She is so well qualified, Peace Corps might loose her to another important position.
I first met Kathleen Corey when Peace Corps Staff, Macedonia, introduced her to (Group, Mak-18) as our new In-Country Director.
This first meeting occurred soon after I arrived in Macedonia (now North Macedonia) to serve as a “Community Development Volunteer “(Sept 2013 to Nov. 2015.)
“Corey,” as we all fondly call her, is a striking “presence.”
One knew immediately that the “commanding-poise” she carries is born from long experience in command of her passionate purpose and dedication to the Peace Corps.
Corey knows the Peace Corps “inside-out,” “upside-down”, “forward,” and “backward.”
Corey embodies what she knows about the Peace Corps to structure and share her lived-experience, garnered from the many places where she has served.
I knew at that first meeting we all had a “States-Person” in the role of our new “In-Country Director.”
I am not surprised that Corey has the attention of those who will appoint a National, Peace Corps Director.
I am overjoyed to hear the news of this possibility.
Corey is commanding, competent, confident, and caring.
Her passion for the Peace Corps mission is inspiring.
One feels safe and proud, with Corey “at one’s back.”
Please know, if you choose, Corey, you and the multitudes that know her will be glad that you did.
My support for Corey is soundly “Yes!”
(I joined the Peace Corps, at age 69, after teaching in high schools, community colleges, and universities for nearly 35 years. Now, returned from the Peace Corps, I am still teaching at Purdue University at age 76, face-to-face, amidst this pandemic. I teach group dynamics, experientially, and I add the Gestalt Organization & Systems Development body of knowledge to the scientific approach to groups. My doctorate is in Communication.)
I was delighted to hear that Corey is being considered the next U S Peace Corps Director.
When I first started working for the Peace Corps back in 1994, I was impressed by her leadership. Something very special I’ve noticed about her during the recent Zoom reunions we’ve had is that she is very much loved by the RPCVs! I’m very positive that her inspiring leadership qualities, long years of experience with the Peace Corps along with her beautiful and bubbly character are going to be a big gain to the organization.
Wish her all the very best!
During her time as Country Director for Peace Corps North Macedonia she was all the time very approachable, open and supportive. In the same time, she was very friendly and professional with everyone and eager to meet with the local partners and counterparts. Her approach was very valuable for the Peace Corps North Macedonia, since maintaining those strong relationships with local community is very important for the existence of Peace Corps in our country.
Overall, she is great person, knowledgeable and capable.
Corey was and always will be an inspiration to me. She is simply an amazing lady with style, valuable experience, kind soul and warm heart. As a Country Director of PC Macedonia (now North Macedonia), Corey was always there for the staff, for the Volunteers and our partners. She cared deeply about each and every one of us, respected our Volunteers and made lifelong relations with many people all over the country. She was a leader that I could always look up to, a person that appreciated everyone’s opinion, a Country Director who always had the time to listen, to give feedback, to advise and to guide. Her presence in my country was valuable and made a difference. I admired all her skills, everything that she had achieved in life, all her experience and lessons that she has taught us. Her empathy, her awareness of cultural differences, her openness, her efforts to make things right and make people happy were admirable. She is confident, knows how and why, works on “let’s do it”, and leads the way to success. She is a true leader and I have no doubts that she will be great in every leading role that she is taking upon herself.
Kathleen Corey is the most remarkable woman I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. Serving under her leadership during my time in the US Peace Corps in (North) Macedonia was one of the greater privileges of my existence. With a warm smile, a booming voice and contagious amounts of positive energy, Kathleen Corey inspired the lot of us from jump street. When she was forced to leave our post for the sake of her health, we were devastated, but understood it was best. The program was never quite the same once she made her exit, but she has remained an advocate for peace, empathy and humanity and deserves this nomination ten fold. All my love to you and the family Corey🙋🏾♀️
Such an inspiring director. Under her leadership, LCFs were made aware of the importance of their work for the successful service of the volunteers and has inspired all employees to do their best for this nobel cause.
Kathleen Corey served as my Country Director in Sri Lanka during the civil war in the 90’s. Under her leadership, I always felt
informed, safe, and knew that she would be available with a warm smile and a gentle embrace if I needed her. What made her such an effective and more importantly a likable one was her obvious experience working with and connecting with people from all over the world. I can only imagine how much more she has to offer the Peace Corps after her continued work for international agencies. I can’t possibly imagine a better candidate for this position.
I couldn’t be more supportive of the nomination of Kathleen Corey for US Peace Corps Director. Corey was my Country Director in Sri Lanka (’94-’96). Her strong and compassionate leadership has been a model for me throughout my own career.
Corey’s enthusiasm for the Peace Corps is well known among all who know her. I first met her on the tarmac in Colombo, because she was so excited to greet us as new volunteers! Corey saw the best in each volunteer and was able to bring it out through trust and encouragement. She ensured our safety as we served in a country at war. Her deep care for volunteers and host country nationals alike was apparent in every interaction. Through her example, she set the standard for my Peace Corps service.
She is the ideal individual to lead the Peace Corps during this unprecedented time, and I join with these many voices in advocating for her candidacy.
I have known Kathleen Corey for 40 years. We first met when Corey was a student at the Graduate School for International Training where I was a faculty member. She made an immediate favorable impression on me, an impression that has only grown over the years since.
As an RPCV myself (Malaysia, 1967-69), I know that Corey is the right person for the position of Peace Corps Director. At this difficult time in the country and the world, I cannot imagine a more competent and inspiring leader to head the agency. With Corey’s experience and compassion, with her humor and her energy, with her skills and problem-solving ability, with her concern for others and her exceptional people skills, Corey would make an outstanding director. I wholeheartedly endorse her candidacy.
It is with unbounded enthusiasm that I recommend Ms Kathleen Corey for the position of United States Peace Corps Director. Rarely does a candidate come along that clearly makes a perfect match.
Leadership, problem-solver, inspiration. These are keywords that describe why she will be a truly outstanding director. She has a storehouse of joy, a seemingly endless well of charm, and not just a smidgen of charisma. Corey was a legend as a Peace Corps country director, and a hero to many of the volunteers.
I have known Corey since in early 1980’s when we worked together in refugee programs in Southeast Asia. She was a valued colleague and her counsel was widely sought. Her genuine warmth and kindness was infectious and she put people at ease. She has a unique gift to calm and ease anxious situations and she is at her best during times of crisis (which were many in the refugee days).
Kathleen Corey will bring a smile and renewed confidence in Peace Corps volunteers around the world,
When I reread this letter I realize it might be “over the top” but I stand by every word. Mark my words, Kathleen Corey will be an outstanding United States Peace Corps Director.
You will not find a more qualified, experienced, and capable Peace Corps Director than Kathleen Corey. She will build on the good will and excellent leadership of Jodi Olsen. “Corey’s” knowledge of virtually every region in the world, her passion for our nation’s ideals, and her belief that we are part and parcel of making a better world literally electrify the air around her. Having been a multiple-serving Peace Corps Country Director, a Foreign Service Officer, and a Peace Corps Volunteer, Corey knows what she is being asked to do. She is being asked to direct the Peace Corps into the next era of international service, to reintroduce Americans to the world and remind them of who we are as a people and as a nation. She will be the first and best example in every interaction.
Corey embodies the ethos of Peace Corps with her empathy, perseverance, endlessly optimistic spirit, kind heart, and love for people. Corey was my Country Director during my time in Peace Corps Macedonia and she lead the Peace Corps program with energy and passion which inspired each team member and volunteer. As a Country Director she always had time to listen and get to know each volunteer and staff member. She made every member of the team feel valued because she truly cared and valued them as an individual. Her ability to bring a team together under a common goal is truly remarkable. I am confident that Corey would bring energy, passion, and inspiration with her to the Peace Corps Director position. Corey is especially skilled at navigating uncertain events and situations with poise and grace and is exactly what Peace Corps needs during these uncertain times.
I was informed by my former RPCVS that Kathleen Corey is also considered as a candidate for the Peace Corps Director position.
The year 2020 did not bring lot of good news for any of us. This news made me very happy, as I think Corey will be one great leader to lead Peace Corps in this turbulent time.
I knew Corey from Peace Corps Sri Lanka during 1994-1997. During Corey’s time, we had a war going on in the north part of our country. Peace Corps Sri Lanka was at the peak.
We had more than 100 PCVs during that time, and PC was working in most districts in SL except the North and the East. Corey was a firm leader, but a very friendly human person. She listened to PCVs and staff and always tried to be fair by her decisions.
PCSL moved from TEFL to TESL during this period. This was a required change required by the Ministry of Education. As Sri Lanka was a British Colony , English was a second language to the Sri Lankans. Also, PC initiated the program to teach English at the Teacher Training Colleges and the Government universities during her time.
PC also started the Health and Environment sector during her time. Corey developed good relations with Ministry Officials and supported staff when there were issues. Her mediation and negotiation skill helped us sort out many issues pertaining to the program. Corey’s friendly nature, was welcomed by the Ministry Officials.
During Corey’s tenure, PCSL grew in numbers. PCSL office moved to a larger location in the center of the city.
Corey always believed that Peace Corps presence was essential for Sri Lanka and made sure that Volunteers and staff made the Peace Corps goals a reality.
Peace Corps needs a dynamic, experienced leader. Corey has the charisma and the experience.
Though Peace Corps ceased to exist after 1998, the former US staff, SL staff and the RPCVs formed a FB page and kept the Sri Lankan experience unforgettable.
I am sure Kathleen Corey can fit the Peace Corps Director role because she has that leadership skill in her.
I have known Kathleen Corey since 1981. At that time, she was my supervisor and one of the pioneer officers in the Refugee ESL Program at the Banvinai Camp in Loei, Northeastern Thailand. Corey always inspires people with her experience, professionalism, care for humanity and love of life. Not only is she a very fine international citizen, she is a real patriot.
I attended Stadium High School with Kathy Corey. I remember being very impressed with her kindness…to everyone! I never heard her say a bad word about anyone and can remember when others would disparage a classmate Kathy could be counted on to say something good about that classmate. I was so affected by her goodness that years later, passing her childhood home, I stopped to tell her dad.
To my way of thinking that is where it starts…being kind, good, loving thy neighbor. It is no surprise to me that Kathy has traveled the path of loving her neighbor all over the world.
Kathy was always happy, full of a joyful energy that infected all who knew her.
I can think of no better candidate for Director of the Peace Corps
Corey is the best person for this prestigious position as brings a lot of experience as a very successful country director in mnay Peace Corps posts. I was fortunate to work with her while she was serving in Sri Lanka. With the amount of knowledge and insights that she has about the agency, there can be no other suitable to this position. I was a Language Coordinator under her leadership and thoroughly enjoyed working with her.
We strongly support Kathleen’s candidacy and have expressed our support to our Maryland, U.S. Senators. We encourage our Peace Corps alums to consider supporting Kathleen. In our decades of experience in and about Peace Corps we’ve not seen a stronger candidate.
Ken & Winnie Hill.
I am writing to express my support of Kathleen Corey as the next Peace Corps director.
I have known Corey for over fifty years. I believe she is ideal for the job. First, because she has a passion for the mission of the Peace Corps and has devoted most of her entire adult life to that mission. It is truly her “North Star.” She has the experience and skills required to successfully lead the Peace Corps and enhance the lives of the people she serves as well as the image of the United States.
Second, because she is bright, an extremely effective administrator, has the ability to inspire people to be their best version of themselves, and is not afraid of hard work. She possesses an inspirational work ethic and as strong a sense of integrity as anyone I have ever known.
I am a retired military officer with most of my career spent in US Army Special Forces and Civil Affairs. You could say that I was part of the “US War Corps.” It is with that background that I enthusiastically support the work of the Peace Corps. The good work and good will it generates on behalf of the United States is instrumental in helping us to make friends and find peaceful resolutions to differences and problems throughout the world. Knowing Corey as I do, I am confident that she will enhance and further that process tremendously.
Paul L. Henderson
LTC (ret) US Army
I fully support Kathleen Corey as the next Peace Corps Director. As a former Peace Corps volunteer and someone who worked with the State Department, UNHCR, and Dave the Children in the refugee camps in Southeast Asia, I have experienced Corey’s leadership, skill, and expertise first hand. She is exceptional. The United States and the world would benefit tremendously from her leadership. I support her unequivocally.
RPCV Senegal 1977-79
Galang Refugee Camp 1981-83
Associate Professor of Education, SUNY Albany
I can think of no better person to direct the Peace Corps in these times than Kathleen Corey.
As country director in North Macedonia, her leadership was remarkable, balancing warmth with firmness. I may not have always been happy with a decision but if I had an issue to raise with Corey, I knew I would be respected and heard and that the final decision made would be fair. Corey took the time to understand our issues through our eyes and wasn’t afraid to share the operating constraints that limited the realm of possible outcomes. The next director of Peace Corps will have to lead the organization through a period of healing and regrowth, reconciling both the pain of evacuated volunteers and an overdue discussion on race within the organization, and I firmly believe that no one could do a better job at this than Kathleen Corey.
I cannot think of a more qualified individual to lead the Peace Corps, particularly during such a unique time for the organization and the world as a whole. I first met Corey in 2014 as a Peace Corps Volunteer when she served as the Peace Corps Director for North Macedonia. I arrived as a PCV who had recently been evacuated from Ukraine. Corey made it a point to support me as an individual and actively listen. She had worked with evacuated volunteers before and intimately understood the pain of that experience. As a result, she left an indelible positive impression on me from day one. Over the next two years, Corey became a mentor and served as a living masterclass in leadership. She understands the power and nuance of interpersonal relationships and uses them effectively lead and to inform policy. She knows how to handle a crisis and is decisive. Corey is still a powerful presence in my life today and never ceases to amaze me with her intellect, charm, leadership, and warmth. Given her resume and sincere dedication to the Peace Corps, I can think of no one better to lead this organization into a new era.
I cannot think of a better person as the leader of our agency than our beloved Corey. Corey was the Country Director in Peace Corps Macedonia (now North Macedonia) from 2014-2016, but she was so much more to us than just a supervisor and a manager. Corey was a true leader, one that inspired with her passion for Peace Corps, one that embraced everybody, staff or Volunteers with the warmth of a family member. Some of our local partners still talk about her and the impression she left on them.
If Peace Corps needs anything right now is this woman’s passion and leadership of someone who knows the agency inside and out and who cares about ALL of its people, Americans or locals!
There cannot be a better person than that!
Kathleen Corey (Corey to her friends and many admirers) will be an outstanding Peace Corps Director. She is skilled, experienced and totally committed to Peace Corps and its mission. She has extensive experience in leadership, service and diplomacy and she is a wonderful warm person as well as a strong decisive leader. She is also an outstanding trainer and teacher with years of experience working with International groups, Peace Corps staff and Volunteers. Currently she is working with the Foreign Service Institute to train Ambassadors and prepare them for their new assignments and cross culture experiences.
I have known Corey as a friend and a professional for several decades and have recently had the opportunity to spend more time with her and learn more about her amazing values and her life. She is passionate about diplomacy, service, social justice and making a real difference in the world. She is an exceptional woman and someone that will make President Joe Biden proud when he selects her to be on his team.
I met Kathy Corey in high school. She is one of the friendliest people you will ever meet. Her communication and interpersonal skills are excellent. We were in synchronized swim club together and she always encouraged me and was willing to work with me when I felt that I couldn’t get some move perfect.
Kathy has a proven track record for her diplomatic skills and will be a great fit for the position of Peace Corps Director.
It is an honor and privilege to support Kathleen Corey’s consideration as the Director of the United States Peace Corps. I have known Kathleen Corey – who goes by Corey – since 2013 when she arrived as Country Director for Peace Corps in what was then the Republic of Macedonia. Through her leadership as Country Director, she raised the morale of Peace Corps Volunteers, she demonstrated courage and compassion during a personal time of crisis for me, and she created a space for much-needed intercultural competence, diversity, and inclusion (ICD&I) training to better support a diverse Volunteer group. All three of these skillsets are crucial for the future of Peace Corps as an agency.
First, I experienced the highest morale among Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) and my Macedonian counterparts under Corey’s leadership. I served as a PCV from 2011 to 2015 in the Republic of Macedonia and observed two vastly different approaches to leadership. Under Corey’s leadership, I observed her build trust with PCVs like myself. Corey was the first Country Director to visit my site, despite the fact I had nearly completed a normal 27-month term of service by the time she arrived in country. Her visit to my village, which was in the most rural municipality several hours south of the Peace Corps office, was a tremendous honor for my Macedonian counterparts. I was the first PCV to be placed in their municipality, and Corey’s presence and genuine interest in them finally validated their amazing work improving the quality of life of our rural municipality and their investment in Peace Corps’ mission of world peace and friendship. I am confident that as Peace Corps Director, Corey will continue to be a beloved leader, this time in service to the thousands of Peace Corps staff in the U.S. and overseas, and to the 7,000+ Volunteers that will soon be returning to 60+ posts
Second, Corey demonstrated courage and compassion in times of crisis. For example, in my fourth year of service my village flooded. Corey safely and swiftly evacuated me and a site mate before the main road into the village was completely consumed by water. She worked closely with our safety & security officer, drivers, and management team to pick us up in our rural village several hours south of the Peace Corps office – in the most rural municipality in the country – and safely evacuate us in time to a neighboring town. Her team closely monitored the situation, and we were able to return to our site after one month. She demonstrated organization, informed decision-making, and team collaboration, which made for clear and concise crisis management. This is a key skill set as the Peace Corps agency currently faces double pandemics of the global health crisis and racism in the U.S. and will need a strong leader to navigate both courageously and compassionately.
Third, Corey created space for the implementation of much needed ICD&I programming to create a welcoming and inclusive environment and better support a diverse group of PCVs. Alongside Corey and her staff, I helped develop an 11-12-week ICD&I training that we incorporated into the pre-service training period for all future cohorts. In addition, Corey and the Director of Programming & Training specifically worked to better understand the needs of Volunteers of color, with Corey even hosting dinners at her house in the capital city to hear first-hand the experiences of Volunteers of color and their suggestions for making Peace Corps a more inclusive and supportive space. Being able to champion ICD&I training and hold space for an extremely diverse Peace Corps body is a vital skill set that sets Corey apart as a nominee for the next Director of the U.S. Peace Corps.
Lastly, over the past seven years of knowing Corey, I have come to adore and respect her. She continues to whole-heartedly be in service to Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) as our “pseudo-Country Director” here in the Washington, DC area. She annually welcomes RPCVs to celebrate Macedonian Orthodox Christmas with a potluck at her home in Virginia, and she has provided me with professional and personal support as I work through a chronic illness. She supported me in seeking the medical care I needed when symptoms showed up during my Peace Corps service, and she continues to provide encouragement and a listening ear now that we’re both back in the Washington, DC area. She cares deeply about Peace Corps Volunteers and she cares deeply about Peace Corps. I fully support Kathleen Corey’s consideration for Director of the United States Peace Corps and welcome the opportunity to further discuss her extensive qualifications.
RPCV Macedonia (2011-2015)
December 14, 2020
Dear Biden/Harris Transition Team,
My name is Kathy Wygle, and I am writing in support of Kathleen Corey’s candidacy to be the Director of the Peace Corps. I met Kathy in college and we have remained close friends. We both moved to Sun Valley, Idaho after college, worked in restaurants, skied and hiked in the resort town. After a couple of fun-filled years, Kathy realized that she wanted a life with more meaning, to have a positive impact on others not as fortunate as we were. She saw the abundance she and her friends enjoyed and wanted to give back by helping people in need all over the world. Having been in the first People-to-People High School Ambassador program, she experienced the plight of young people in Communist Budapest, Hungary. That experience left a lasting impression. The time was finally right; she was ready to help.
She decided that the Peace Corps was most appealing to her, the best fit, applied and began her long career in public service. Given her many years in senior leadership positions at Peace Corps, Kathy understands well the goal and objectives of the organization. As the person responsible for opening numerous countries in the former Soviet Union, she wrote the first “New Country Entry Guide,” a document detailing how to set up a Peace Corps program and is still in use today. She also wrote “Peace Corps’ Competency-based Curriculum Guide” which was used throughout the Peace Corps world to revamp Peace Corps language teaching programs. Throughout her career, she has written numerous articles to help disseminate new practices and improved procedures for her colleagues.
I was able to visit her at some of her posts: Thailand, Sri Lanka, Argentina, Honduras and North Macedonia. I watched her interactions with her colleagues and the Volunteers. She was warm and accessible while maintaining order and advancing the cause. I was able to personally observe the results of her unusual ability to build trust, form bonds between herself and co-workers and amongst the Volunteers in order to develop a healthy work environment. Having worked in senior positions in both the Peace Corps and U.S. State Department, she is in a unique position to help Peace Corps reopen its programs around the world.
Kathy felt compelled to contribute to human welfare worldwide, and she has done so. She has the experience and the compassion to be the Director of the Peace Corps.
Kathleen Wygle, Executive Director of the nexStage Theatre, Sun Valley, Idaho
Arts Advocate of the Year, Ketchum, Idaho
PO Box 651
Sun Valley, Idaho 83353
I was a.high school.student of Ms Corey in 1976 in lofa county,.Liberia. I’m I’m extremely grateful for all she did for her students.
Thanks for the many words of encouragement.