The Peace Corps Returns to Colombia

PCVs have returned to Colombia, the first full-time Volunteers since 1981 when the program was suspended due to security. Colombia was one of the first programs launched by the  agency, beginning in the summer/fall of 1961.

The current PCVs were sworn in on December 14, 2011. The push to return to Colombia was started by the large, active and forceful lobbying of the Friends of Colombia RPCVs who, with the support of the Colombian government, last year since Peace Corps Crisis Corps Volunteers, now known as Response Volunteers, back for short term assignments.

These 22 new and full time PCVs will  go to teaching English assignments in schools in Santa Marta, Cartagenia, and Barranquilla. Today there are  also  two Response Volunteers working in-country with the  Community Development office as Disaster Relief Specialists, assigned to rural areas that have been affected by the recent floods.

Attending the swearing-in ceremony were two RPCVs from the early years, both legends in the country: Dennis Grubb (Colombia 1961-63) and Bob Arias (Colombia 1965-67). Also at the swearing in ceremoney was Governor of Atlantcio and the Mayor of Barranquilla and several Peace Corps PC/HQ officials.

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  • A fine example of how the Peace Corps experience massages the soul and creates the long term bonds that Shriver cared passionately about.

    Thanks to Dennis and Bob for representing the 4000+ Colombia RPCVs at the ceremony.

  • Thanks John and thank you Don for your kind words. I have to tell you that Dennis and I were like kids in a candy store…we cried, smiled, told war stories, and felt proud to be with the new group of 22 PCV’s after so many years without Volunteers in Colombia. President’s Uribe and Santos of Colombia made our return possible. I now dedicate my current assignment to the woman that made Colombia so special for me, my former wife Gloria, a loyal and beautiful Colombian and mother of our son…”we have returned home!” Bob

  • The Peace Corps is a people-to-people program. That’s why this program is so important. Volunteers touch people and are, in turn touched and inspired by those Colombians we come in contact with. I served in Narino and love the slow Spanish of those campesinos. I hope volunteers will be sent all over Colombia again as we were in the 1960s. I am especially proud of Bob Arias who continues to inspire and work the principles of the PC. He and I were in the same group that went to Colombia 1964-1966.

  • This brings tears to my eyes and such immense gratitude to the RPCV Colombian community who worked so hard to make this possible. I want to say a special thank you to my site partner from Colombia VIII, Bev.

    Mil Gracias to todos.

  • A sus ordenes, compadres y amigos..

    I hope the new PCV’s don’t get bored with the new security travel restrictions now that security concerns prevent memebership in the “Cuerpo de Paseos.”

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