January 4, 2003 - Los Angeles Times: A U.S. Loss, a Russian Loss

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2003: 01 January 2003 Peace Corps Headlines: January 4, 2003 - Los Angeles Times: A U.S. Loss, a Russian Loss

By Admin1 (admin) on Saturday, January 04, 2003 - 4:45 pm: Edit Post

A U.S. Loss, a Russian Loss

Read and comment on this editorial from the Los Angeles Times on the departure of the Peace Corps from Russia at:

A U.S. Loss, a Russian Loss*

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

A U.S. Loss, a Russian Loss

A decade after the U.S. Peace Corps arrived in the former Soviet Union, Russia has told the organization's volunteers to pack their bags and find a country that really needs help.

Fine. It's probably time. Still, it will be a loss for both nations.

The peculiarly American organization's stated mission is to promote world peace and friendship through volunteerism -- a humble goal as hard to quantify as it is important.

Take the story of Chris Mahon, a resident of Walnut Creek, Calif., who in his early 20s spent two years as an English instructor at a grade school in Ryazan, a small city near Moscow.

Besides teaching, Mahon wrote a grant to fund an Internet resource center at his school and raised the money to buy supplies for art therapy at a children's psychiatric hospital. Along the way, he also made friends, among them two brothers who cobbled him a pair of winter boots.

Since its creation in 1961, more than 165,000 men and women have worked as Peace Corps volunteers in more than 135 nations. Volunteers receive intensive language and cross-cultural training to help them adapt to the nations they will serve. Some teach English, math or sciences. Others work with local people in programs designed to protect the environment or to create economic opportunities.

In Central America, volunteers have provided support to communities devastated by earthquakes and hurricanes. They've worked to help people overcome disease and poverty in Africa, Central and East Asia, Europe and the Pacific.

Along the way, they learn about distant places. And when they return to the United States, they bring insight into how other people live and think that they are likely to share with too often insular neighbors and co-workers.

Russian officials had previously charged that Peace Corps volunteers were badly trained and had a penchant for spying -- accusations that U.S. officials rejected.

A foreign ministry spokesman was more gracious in dis-inviting the volunteers in December, suggesting that Russia had merely outgrown its need for their assistance.

The U.S. State Department took the news in stride. If Russia didn't want the Peace Corps, a spokesman said, "we can certainly ... send the volunteers where they are needed."

Such places are hardly in short supply.
Background on the Peace Corps in Russia

Read more background on the Peace Corps in Russia at:

Peace Corps disappointed with Russian decision
Exclusive: Peace Corps disappointed with Russian decision 27 December 2002

Moscow to abandon Peace Corps agreement
New York Times: Russia bars future U.S. Peace Corps workers 28 December 2002

Pravda: Moscow informs Washington of intention to abandon Peace Corps agreement 27 December 2002

Associated Press: Russia Rejects U.S. Peace Corps 27 December 2002

US Ready to Remove Peace Corps From Russia
U.S. Ready to Remove Peace Corps From Russia, Citing Disputes 17 December 2002

Russian Spy claims "groundless" says US
Russian claims about Peace Corps volunteers "groundless" says US Embassy 16 December 2002

KGB accuses PCVs of "suspicious activities"
Update: KGB Chief says PCVs involved in suspicious activities 15 December 2002

KGB chief accuses Peace Corps workers of spying in Russia 15 December 2002

KGB refuses visas to religious workers
Russia refuses visas to religious workers 2 November 2002

Russia is cooling to the Peace Corps
Time Magazine says Russia "Cooling To the Corps" 23 August 2002

Radio Free Europe makes the Case for the Peace Corps in Russia 18 August 2002

Secretary of State Powell makes no progress on Peace Corps visas with Russian foreign minister 14 August 2002

Russia refuses visas for Peace Corps Volunteers
Peace Corps Moscow chief denies allegations of non-professionalism 13 August 2002

Russia Ousting Dozens Of Peace Corps Volunteers 12 August 2002

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This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Russia; Speaking Out



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