The Peace Corps Schedules NO Events for 50th

In their first public statement about celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps, the current leadership under the direction of RPCV Aaron Williams, is doing little to nothing to celebrate the history and importance of  the agency.

Today the Office of Communications, run by political appointee and non-RPCV Allison Price, announces with excitement in a single-page pdf that much is happening — but none of it is being staged, organized or supported by the agency itself.

Director Williams is terrified, I’m sure, that Congress will be all over his ass for spending dollars on any sort of celebration of RPCVs and the Third Goal. Of course, such an event, as happened at the 25th Reunion on the Mall, generated front page newspaper stories across the country that showed America that the agency was alive and well. A reunion of thousand of RPCVs would show the U.S. that yes, there is still a Peace Corps! It would help recruitment, gang!

There seems to be little to no interest on the part of Peace Corps in RPCVs and how they can be helpful to the agency as it tries to remind America that there still is a Peace Corps.

In this announcement today, crafted, I presume by David Medina, Director of  the Office of Public Engagement (God, who thinks up these silly titles?) lists a variety of activities offered by other organizations and groups. The University of Michigan event, for example, is not even open to the public. It is for the current students and alums of that College, but, nevertheless, the Peace Corps, desperate to say something, is citing it first on their meager list of activities. And, by the way, Aaron Williams is hosting a noon-day luncheon, that’s all. And you’re not invited.

And the agency is putting up a table and tiny tent on the Mall in the middle of the Smithsonian Summer Folklife Festival and calling it a celebration.

Read what the agency sent out today and weep for what might have been if the current Democratic administration had any imagination, talent, or even, balls!

This is the full release from the Peace Corps:

In 2011, the Peace Corps will commemorate 50 years of promoting peace and friendship around the world. Join us in supporting the agency’s mission and legacy of service by honoring our past, demonstrating our effectiveness, and inspiring the next generation of Volunteers through education and engagement.

Snapshot of Activities

2010

October 13-16, 2010 – Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams, along with other Peace Corps notables, will join the University of Michigan to commemorate then-Senator John F. Kennedy’s 1960 campaign speech, which led to the agency’s creation. The University of Michigan will recognize this historic event through a series of activities on their Ann Arbor campus.

2011

January 2011 – The release of a commemorative poster created exclusively for the Peace Corps’ 50th anniversary by a prominent American artist, who has a personal connection with the agency, will help kick-off our anniversary year.

March 2011 – “Peace Corps Month” will mark President Kennedy’s 1961 signing of the Executive Order that created the agency. Efforts will include coordinated community outreach and service activities across the world in cooperation with regional recruiting offices, posts and global partners.

June 30 – July 11, 2011 – The Peace Corps will be a featured program at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The program will explore and celebrate the ways in which Volunteers understand communities they serve through local cultural traditions and how they collaborate with these communities to accomplish their work. Exhibits and demonstrations will include performances, food demonstrations, storytelling, discussion panels, crafts, a reunion area, and a family learning section. The Peace Corps will be joined by programs on the country of Colombia and Rhythm and Blues music. Admission is free and the event annually draws over one million visitors.

Summer/Fall 2011 – The Peace Corps will honor the departure of the first group of Volunteers to Ghana and Tanganyika (later called Tanzania) and passage of the historic Congressional authorization of Peace Corps in September 1961.

Throughout 2011 – Leading educational and cultural institutions across the U.S. are marking the Peace Corps’ 50th anniversary with a diverse group of activities including academic symposia, lecture series, panel discussions, and award ceremonies. Events are still being finalized but some include an open house at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston; award ceremony at the Carter Center in Atlanta, Ga., symposium at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a conference at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, to name a few.

For updates please visit our 50th Anniversary web page at www.peacecorps.gov/50

To contact the 50th Anniversary office, email 50thanniversary@peacecorps.gov or call 202.692.2184.

7 Comments

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  • Jeez, John, why can’t YOU be Peace Corps Director??? I’d apply for Director of Public Engagement with you, or try to think up a sillier title. We need to get NPCA engaged! to launch the most awesome celebration in national history for Peace Corps. I think all RPCVs should be able to invite their host families to Washington DC, (paid for by BP, perhaps), to show the world what global love and peace looks like. Can you visualize that?.

    Thanks for keeping us informed, as always, John, and roiled up!

    Leita Kaldi Davis

  • To add to the void… if that’s possible… there’s no mention of the September, 2011, events planned for the 50th including another Staff Reunion on Friday, Sept. 23, a ‘gala’ on Saturday, Sept. 24, and on Sunday, 25th, the traditional March of the Flags across the Memorial Bridge with a ceremony at the Arlington Cemetery followed by an soiree on the Mall. Much of this is being orchestrated by NPCA and RPCV/W and is pretty standard reunion stuff but many Groups plan to have reunions, etc. Geez, at least its something!
    So far as I can tell, Peace Corps’ handling of the 50th is pretty much a sadly missed opportunity. No excuse for it! Looks like the lawyers got a hold of it. I had hoped those days were over!

  • Colombia I is kicking off the 50 th celebration year November 2010 ( trying to be first again) at Rutgers University, the site of the first training group June 1961, with the dedication of a memorial plaque at the University Chapel. The dedication ceremony will be followed by drinking beer and the retelling of “tall tales!!”

  • Most of the world has heard enough of PC, especially from RPCVs meddling in HCN politics and USAID claims. PCs are records in cost per PC now it’s like $70,000 or something. No one is sure because of Gate’s donations and PEPFAR direct funding.

    Over 60% of PC are RPCVs. Communications may have had big problem before the new employee. It’s not fair to single someone out for not being an RPCV when we’re supposed to hire people from outside the agency and let them participate. PC and USAID shouldn’t be ‘holding agencies’ for RPCVs who couldn’t get jobs elsewhere. Sure are lots of PHDs laying around.

    Smithsonian is now an agency like USIP on the mall and others. What’s the problem, unless we are put under them and not CNCS VISTA?

    Legacy legislation funding lobbies are embarrassing us. We’re ordering huge cash and special privileges from Congress. We’re an embarrassment and maybe should be quieter. PC is quieter than the CIA when it comes to operations. Kyrgyzstan hasn’t had an OIG investigation yet; the new reports are supposed to cover this too? Please.

  • What a missed opportunity. Surely we all expected the Obama Administration to make the 50th a big deal celebrating citizen involvement. It is actually shocking for its failure in leadership. Does Peace Corps even know if Obama will issue a proclamation or something?

    Now it is up to the NPCA to show what can be done. Let’s all rally to help them and show the spirit the original spirit so sadly lacking in Peace Corps now.

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