Read our coverage on the Final Version of the Peace Corps Bill which was introduced in the Senate and House of Representatives on June 20. The purpose of the bill is "to amend the Peace Corps Act to promote global acceptance of the principles of international peace and nonviolent coexistence among peoples of diverse cultures and systems of government."
Senator Dodd held hearings on the bill on June 25 and said in his Opening Statement that "We can begin to address the needs and challenges of today's and tomorrow's Peace Corps, so that it can continue to be relevant for the 21st century."
The bill was supported by Former Peace Corps Director Mark Schneider who said "I strongly support the fundamental purpose of the Act."
NPCA President Dane Smith said that the NPCA supports the bill and intends "to work hard for its passage."
RPCV Barbara Ferris spoke in favor of the bill saying that "I speak in strong support of the Peace Corps Charter for the 21st Century Act."
RPCV John Coyne, creator of Peace Corps Writers" said to Senator Dodd that he joined with other RPCVs in "thanking you for working to strengthen the Peace Corps."
Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez also testified that "Collectively, we are all at the beginning stages of reviewing the legislation." and added that "One of the major strengths of the (original) Peace Corps Act is that it is a broad authorization, which has over the years, given ample opportunity for the agency to maintain its independence and its effectiveness."
The Peace Corps has not had an opportunity to discuss the legislation with the OMB, US Freedom Corps, NSCS or other affected federal agencies for their comments and until they do, they will not have an official opinion on the legislation that they can share beyond the comments voiced during the hearing by the Director.
Read our special coverage of how RPCVs can help get the bill passed. Read what's in the Bill, Senator Dodd's Statement on why he introduced the bill, how you can support the Bill, and how RPCVs lobbied for the Bill on Advocacy Day,
Read specific instructions on what you can do to support the Bill and what to do to help make this bill become a law.
We are also providing Tools to Support the Bill such as a web page where you can enter your ZIP Code and get links with email forms you can fill out and phone numbers of your Senators and Congressman.
Also see if your Senators and Congressman have become co-sponsors of the Bill, use our draft letter to tailor a message to your representatives, and leave a copy of your message after you've contacted Congress.
Congress is in recess this week so send your letters and emails now and make your calls starting next Monday.
The new Peace Corps legislation proposed by Senator Dodd includes $10 million in annual funding through the Corporation for National and Community Service "for the purpose of serving as incubators for returned Peace Corps volunteers seeking to use their knowledge and expertise to undertake community-based projects to carry out the goals of the Peace Corps Act."
On June 1, Barbara Ferris founder of the International Woman's Democracy Center and John Coyne, who founded Peace Corps Writers in 1989, announced the formation of the Peace Corps Fund "to secure grants to support a variety of community service programs."
Dane Smith, President of the NPCA, announced on June 25 at the Senate Hearings on the new Peace Corps legislation that the NPCA will also be forming it's own separate non-profit corporation to compete for funding and that they expect to draw on the talents of the "new mandate" group led by Roger Landrum, Dave Hibbard and others to create an organization that will "give emphasis to projects for educating Americans about the developing countries; for AIDS education; for community, national and international service, including youth service programs; and for conflict resolution."
Chic Dambach, President and CEO of the National Peace Corps Association from 1992 through 1998, argues in an op-ed piece published on PCOL that Ferris and Coyne's Peace Corps Fund could "be confused with funds for the Peace Corps agency", that the founders violated "ethical standards by using an event sponsored, organized, and financed by the NPCA to promote and raise funds for their organization" and that the founders of the Peace Corps Fund seem "determined to fracture the RPCV community."
Join the debate over the Peace Corps Fund and leave your opinion.
...........E. PEACE CORPS CARTOONS - THIS MONTH - "HOURGLASS"
Last month we put up our Peace Corps Cartoon called "Punishment" and asked our readers to come up with the funniest caption. See what RPCVs wrote and compare it to the original caption. Then, take a look at our cartoon for this month - "Hourglass" - and come up with your own caption for it.
Mefloquine, known commonly under the brand name Lariam, is the most prescribed malaria drug in the world and has been used by PCV's in Africa for over ten years. It's clearly the most effective drug. And controversial.
An increasing number of Lariam users have reported depression, nightmares, hallucinations, paranoia and other psychotic symptoms after taking the drug. Now the Washington Times' Insight magazine has published an article saying that Lariam has triggered mental problems so severe that in a small percentage of users it has led to suicide.
Other researchers say that all medications have side-effects, that Lariam's side-effects are well known and have been disclosed, that studies have shown only a small percentage of volunteers are affected, that if patients are properly screened and the medication prescribed with informed consent that its benefits far outweigh its risks, and that the charges have been sensationalized.
Read our special report that provides both sides of the Lariam controversy as well as an assessment of Lariam by an RPCV who served in the Gambia about possible Neurological Side Effects of Mefloquine.
What has been your own experience receiving Lariam in the Peace Corps?
...........B. WHY THE PEACE CORPS NEEDS A FOURTH GOAL
No op-ed piece since the Gaddi Vasquez nomination last year has elicited more posts than this one by Eritrea RPCV John Rude written exclusively for PCOL on why the Peace Corps needs the Fourth Goal and what it will mean for the Peace Corps. Read what 50 RPCVs have said about the subject, then weigh in with your own opinion at:
Peace Corps Online presents it's regular news sections with what is going on with: This Month's Features, Breaking News, Special Reports, the Archive of Recent Headlines, RPCV News, Service, the RPCV Directory, Speaking Out, Peace Corps News, The Third Goal, Advocacy and the Sign up for our Directory at:
We are always looking for Returned Volunteers who have something to say. If you would like to contribute an article about the Peace Corps, a visit to your Country of Service, work your group is doing, an op-ed piece, a cartoon, or a story, please contact us at:
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