April 21, 2002 - PCOL Exclusive: Gaddi Vasquez Speaks to Returned Volunteers in Los Angeles

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2002: 04 April 2002 Peace Corps Headlines: April 21, 2002 - PCOL Exclusive: Gaddi Vasquez Speaks to Returned Volunteers in Los Angeles

By Admin1 (admin) on Monday, April 22, 2002 - 3:05 am: Edit Post

Gaddi Vasquez Speaks to Returned Volunteers in Los Angeles

Read and comment on this exclusive report from PCOL's Special Correspondent in Los Angeles on Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez's first meeting with Peace Corps invitees, nominees, and returned volunteers this afternoon at the LA Public Library. Our correspondent says that the Director made a good speech and a good first impression in his first meeting with a group of Returned Volunteers. PCOL hopes this is the first of many meetings the Director has with Returned Volunteers. Read the story at:

Gaddi Vasquez Speaks to Returned Volunteers in Los Angeles*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.

Gaddi Vasquez Speaks to Returned Volunteers in Los Angeles

From our Special Correspondent in Los Angeles

April 21, 2002

"Come take a journey around the world!" the invitation from the Peace Corps said. "The world is in your hands"

This Sunday afternoon, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers around Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego got their first opportunity to meet PC Director Gaddi Vasquez at the Los Angeles Public Library.

They were invited to attend a special hors d'oeuvre reception to congratulate Peace Corps nominees and invitees who were given a special send-off by Gaddi Vasquez, the new Peace Corps Director, Peace Corps Staff, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, friends, and family members. The event was scheduled from 5:00-7:00 pm at the historic Los Angeles Public Library at 630 West Fifth Street. Refreshments were catered by a former volunteer.

Atendees were also invited on a private docent-led tours to explore the art and architecture of the Library and the Maguire Gardens which began at 3:30 PM.

The number of participants in the event was underestimated, food lines moved slowly, there weren't enough chairs for the ceremony which seemed cramped. However, conversation was great as former volunteers reunited and moved about talking with the newly accepted Peace Corps Volunteer and their family and friends.

Prior to Vasquez's speech, local Peace Corps Staff announced that the Dodgers had provided tickets to the game scheduled for September 9 against the Houston Astros. The fund-raiser tickets were provided at half price and will be sold at full price with the proceeds to be used for future activities. Pre-game ceremonies are planned to honor the Peace Corps. Other volunteer organizations such as Americorps have also been invited. Mr. Vasquez will attend, and it is hoped that President Bush with throw out the first ball. Additionally, it was announced that two events are scheduled for the Peace Corps writers on July 21 and August 4 at the Venice Library.

In his remarks to the group, Director Vasquez said that Peace Corps has received requests from many countries for the re-entry of Peace Corps and the Peace Corps expects to honor these requests.

The Director also said that he had just met with Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo. He told the story of Toledo's chance encounter at a very young age with Peace Corps volunteers who later assisted Toledo when he sought further education. This was the beginning of a path which culminated in Toledo being elected President of Peru.

Vasquez went on to say that he had also recently traveled to Afghanistan to talk with an official assigned to discuss the possible assignment of volunteers in Afghanistan. The Afghani official did not need an explanation of the goals and mission of the Peace Corps as she had learned English from Peace Corps volunteers.

Mr. Vasquez recognized a retired couple who will begin Peace Corps service shortly.

Each invitee/nominee was asked to introduce himself or herself and provide information about work and country assignments. Each invitee/nominee then received a certificate from Peace Corps Staff and a handshake from Mr. Vasquez.

Following Mr. Vasquez's speech, the attendees broke into groups to discuss volunteer service with the invitees and nominees.

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This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Peace Corps - Recruitment; Peace Corps - Directors; Returned Volunteers - Meetings



By John Rude on Wednesday, May 01, 2002 - 8:52 pm: Edit Post

Mr. Vasquez was interviewed on KPCC. I missed both the interview and the speech, but was informed that he faced some tough questions from RPCVs during the talk-show. KPCC's host Larry Mantle formulated some of his questions based on the Shriver speech, posted on this web-site. Your site is becoming a valuable source for Peace Corps "lore".

By Laurence Budd on Sunday, May 05, 2002 - 10:07 am: Edit Post

I would like to see Director Vasquez make an effort to speak directly to the RPCV commnity. This first contact in Cal. sounds as if he is carefully limiting his exposure to RPCVs. We do not know what his priorities are- Peace Corps' original mission or intelligence? We are still very skeptical of his abilities. To add to the previous comment, yes, your site is becoming THE vital communications link for all concerned volunteers, past and present.

By Katherine Butts Warwick on Sunday, May 05, 2002 - 1:46 pm: Edit Post

As an opponent of Mr. Vasquez's nomination to be Director of the Peace Corps I was not invited to the forum at the Los Angeles Public Library. I suggest that Mr. Vasquez might demonstrate his independence and leadership in his new position by calling for legislation that prohibits any agency of the U.S. from soliciting information on a Peace Corps host nation or nationals or residents of a host nation from the Peace Corps or its staff or from current or former volunteers. In addition, such legislation should prohibit any person who has served at any time in an intelligence-gathering capacity with any agency of the U.S., including any branch of the armed services, or with any U.S. corporation or any foreign affiliate of an U.S. corporation from serving as a member of the Peace Corps staff or as a volunteer and all applicants for such positions should be required to affirm under penalty of perjury, with the customary criminal penalities, that he or she has never acted in such a capacity. Finally, the legislation should provide, as a statement of policy, for the independence of the Peace Corps from all aspects of U.S. foreign or domestic policies and the policies of the host countries and state that the sole purpose of the Peace Corps is to provide aid and assistance to the peoples of the host countries. Such legislation will not prevent nefarious abuse of the program but will provide for penalties for such abuse and comfort to host nations and nationals.

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