I think that Peace Corps Worldwide will be interested to learn about our RPCV Gulf Coast Florida recent meeting with several representatives of Rotary on June 5. We learned a lot about Rotary activities and the program of partnering with Peace Corps Volunteers and RPCVs. Attached is a report of our exhilarating conversation.
Leita Kaldi Davis (Senegal 1993-96)
Recipient Lillian Carter Award 2017
Partnering for Peace: Peace Corps / Rotary Partnership
Did you know that the U.S. Peace Corps is an official partner of Rotary International? Most do not, which is why the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) of Gulf Coast Florida hosted a Zoom meeting on June 5, 2021 (click to view). Rotary and Peace Corps members were present, along with board members from Partnering for Peace, an organization that emerged to find and implement projects to strengthen the partnership.
Rotarians Vana Prewitt and Kelsey Mitchell, both from Rotary District 6960 in Southwest Florida, presented two Rotary programs relevant to all three organizations, and explained how they operate, focusing on the many overlaps and synergistic missions of the groups.
Prewitt briefly described Rotary International, giving an overview of the breadth and depth of humanitarian projects being implemented at home and abroad. Of note are the many assets within Rotary that can be tapped to achieve success, including funds, experts, 100 years of global service, logistical expertise, affiliates and networks of trusted relationships. Pointing out that Rotary and Peace Corps share the same goals, which are mirrored by the United Nations, Rotary seems a natural continuation of Peace Corps service.
Partnering for Peace (www.partneringforpeace.org) was described as the implementing arm of the formal agreement. RPCVs are encouraged to join, especially as it is free. Opportunities to work with Peace Corps Volunteers have vanished since March 2020, with no decision yet made on when volunteers will be redeployed. However, discussions between the Peace Corps and Rotary have continued, with efforts to support evacuated PCVs and engage RPCVs. The push now is to engage Rotary and RPCV clubs to find common ground.
Mitchell presented Rotary’s Roternship program, something she has brought to life for District 6960. In its first year, our District Governor has asked all 50 clubs to host a Rotern, young emerging professionals looking for more exposure to their field of study, career plans, and development opportunities.
Rotary clubs are coached by Mitchell to develop an internship program that meets the needs of the Rotern and club. Prewitt introduced Ethan Wolfson, the son of an RPCV, who is Prewitt’s Rotern for public relations and communication skills. Wolfson is taking turns at producing press releases, social media materials, interviews, videos, and reviewing websites for design ideas. He will pursue a specific subject of study aimed at his second degree in Middle Eastern Studies once he connects with Rotary clubs in the Middle East where he can practice his language skills and observe different Rotary cultures.
The meeting concluded with a commitment to work on various efforts to grow local Peace Corps-Rotary projects, share grant information, and join Partnering for Peace to stay abreast of local and national efforts.
To learn more about Rotarianships, visit Rotary D6960 website where Mitchell’s contact information can be found.
Vana Prewitt, Ph.D.
Sarasota, Florida USA
Partnering for Peace: Rotary International and Peace Corps