September 3, 2003 - PCOL Exclusive: Interview with Kevin Quigley

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2003: September 2003 Peace Corps Headlines: September 3, 2003 - PCOL Exclusive: Interview with Kevin Quigley

By Admin1 (admin) on Sunday, September 07, 2003 - 11:28 pm: Edit Post

Interview with Kevin Quigley

"If we can become a leading organization in our sector, the NPCA will be an organization that attracts a lot more participants. It will be reflected in our programs, it will be reflected in our membership, it will be reflected in our reputation, it will be reflected in our profile, and it will be reflected in the role that we play in terms of advancing our mission."

Read and comment on the exclusive interview that we had with Kevin Quigley, the new President of the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA), at the annual NPCA meeting in Portland on August 3 where he talked about his vision for the future of the NPCA, what he wants to do right away, the role he sees for himself in the organization, his meeting with Sargent Shriver, and how long he plans to stay at:

Interview with Kevin Quigley*

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

Interview with Kevin Quigley

PCOL: What is your vision for the future of the NPCA?

KQ: I think that the vision of the NPCA that has been articulated of a world in peace shaped by understanding and tolerance is a very good one and one that makes a great deal of sense to the Peace Corps community.

When we talk about the Peace Corps community, I think that term has to be understood very broadly. It's not just volunteers and staff but it is also family, friends, students, and people who have had comparable experience or have been touched by these kinds of deep engagements with other societies or with other parts of the world.

I think that the vision and mission are compelling, they are apt, and they are timely. The challenge is really to take the vision and mission and come up with an effective plan that allows you to identify the priorities, then to allocate resources, and to find ways to effectively implement the plan and have appropriate milestones that are clear, understandable, and communicated broadly within our community, so that the community and everyone who is interested can gauge our progress in reaching those milestones.

PCOL: What would you like people to say about the NPCA five years from now? What would you like people to think of the NPCA as being, or accomplishing, or representing?

KQ: I'd like a much wider circle to say that this is an organization of committed and engaged activists who are advancing peace and making a difference in their home communities, nationally and internationally.

PCOL: You spoke at the President's Forum yesterday and talked about a strategic vision and you mentioned several things that you wanted to do right away. I wonder if you would mind elaborating?

KQ: The first thing is to come up with a plan that advances the organization. I talked a little bit about the process for coming up with the plan; it's really a process of listening and learning, of engaging and having conversations with people in the community and outside the community.

We need to do market research in effect. We need to ask those inside the community what is it we are doing well, and how can we improve. We also need to ask people on the outside what should we be doing, how can we be more effective, and how can we re-engage you.

This process is going to bring back to the NPCA community and the broader community a clear articulation of some priorities and timelines and measurable objectives.

I think everybody in the community knows that we have very big aspirations, but we don't have the resources to realize those aspirations. So, a critical challenge is to mobilize resources. To mobilize resources doesn't just mean money, although money is critical, but it's also energy, time and talent of people who share our vision and mission and engaging them in the work that we are going to be doing.

So those are the plans. Then the plan has to get operationalized, which will require investments in a couple of different things. Investments have to be made in our systems. Our systems need to be much better than they are.

First our database. I don't know much about our database but I have heard that there are lots of concerns about it. I think that the database, even if it has half our records is insufficient. We need to find ways to capture the experiences, to capture the narratives of the entire Peace Corps community.

We need to have to have a more robust web presence that communicates more clearly, more deeply, and that is more accessible, something that is much more like "Peace Corps Online" than our current web pages.

So those are two critical systems. Next we need investment in our programs. We have a lot of programs that have significant potential to be impactful, to advance the mission that we have been talking about, but they have been underinvested in. So, there is a big gap between our aspirations and our results.

Another thing I mentioned is investment in staff. At NPCA we have a very talented and committed staff but they are overworked. They are also underpaid. I think when you look at the staff it is emblematic of a larger challenge for the NPCA. That is, we are an organization that has an incredibly compelling and timely vision and mission but as I mentioned there is this gap between our aspirations and our resources. I think we need an organization that has the resources that enables us to meet our aspirations.

I think we have best of class vision and mission and one of my goals will be to see that we attract the resources and that we invest in our systems, and programs and staff so that we are not just best in class in vision, but we are best in class in practice.

We, like many organizations, have benefited from the development in the NGO sector, but that sector has moved very dramatically in the last decade or so to become more and more effective and I think NPCA has been lagging behind the field.

If we can become a leading organization in our sector the NPCA will be an organization that attracts a lot more participants. It will be reflected in our programs, it will be reflected in our membership, it will be reflected in our reputation, it will be reflected in our profile, and it will be reflected in the role that we play in terms of advancing our mission.

PCOL: Can you talk a little bit about the fact the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps is coming up in a few years and how the NPCA can focus on that event to further their mission?

KQ: I talked a little bit yesterday about this "perfect weather," this "perfect Storm" of events coming together, saying that there is an alignment in who we are as a community and where the community is. The fact that we now have members who include volunteers and staff from many service eras from the pioneer generation to the current 7,000 volunteers in the field, their families and friends, and associates, people who share the same aspirations, the same vision, as well as people whose lives were touched by us - our students and colleagues who could potentially be engaged in this work.

Peace Corps Volunteers learn to expect the unexpected. I was reminded of this lesson when Dane Smith and I had a very interesting conversation with Sargent Shriver. I have to say that when I walked into Sargent Shriver's office, and you see the mementos of a rich accomplished life in every sphere from the personal to the familial to the institutional and to the fact that there is all this evidence of how he has changed thousands and thousands of lives - to see that, my expectation was that a lot of our conversation would be about the past.

And it was anything but. Our conversation was all about the future. It was all about the Peace Corps vision of a world in peace shaped by understanding and tolerance. Mr. Shriver was very clear with me. He said he had read my bio and he said he thought I had good sets of skills and experience. He had marked it all up. But he wanted to know what was I going to do to build that better world that is reflected in our vision and who was I going to do it with, and how was I going to do it?

Director Shriver was looking way out. He was looking out the next 50 years to 2053. So, that is a great reminder that NPCA as an organization can't just look back.

We need to be rooted in our past but we have to look forward to the milestones that we have - the 25th anniversary of the founding of the NPCA this coming year and then in less than eight years, the 50th anniversary of founding of the Peace Corps and the establishment of the Peace Corps community. The fiftieth year is really the evidence of maturation. I think that we as a community need an event, we need a goal that is closely tied to the 50th anniversary that will galvanize our membership, provide them with a sense that the Peace Corps community is revitalized, and that it is engaged in making significant contributions to making this world a better place which is the one vision that everybody in the Peace Corps community has.

PCOL: You know that one thing that Peace Corps Volunteers like to say is that one person can make a difference. How do you see yourself as the President of the NPCA - as a cheerleader, as an organizer, as an activist?

KQ: That is a great question. I don't know if I have a clear one word description of the role I play. I think as a leader you have to play many roles.

Part is the keeper of the flame and part is having that clear vision, and part of the role is trying to make sure that you can execute that clear vision. Part is cheerleader, part is connector, part is organizer. Part is maybe like the train engineer trying to make sure that things are happening when they are supposed to happen, that things are getting done and getting communicated. So, it is my hope that I can play multiple roles. I am not sure that my strength is in any one individual role but I believe that I have the potential to play lots of those different roles.

PCOL: And you plan to stay until the vision is realized?

KQ: My goal is to see that we are a re-energized effective organization at the time of the fiftieth anniversary of the Peace Corps community.

Click on a link below for more stories on PCOL

Call your Senator about PC Appropriations

Top Stories this Week
Become an NPCA Advocate 5 Sept
The Art of Being Globally Thrifty 1 Sept
RPCV founds Educare-Africa 1 Sept
RPCV says No Stability in Afghanistan 28 Aug
Minnesota Sen. Coleman
Minnesota RPCVs should call Senator Norm Coleman and ask him to introduce an amendment to the Foreign Operations Bill for President Bush's full $359M Peace Corps appropriation. RPCVs from other states should call their Senators and ask them to support the amendment.
New: President Bush travels to Minnesota and meets with future Volunteers.
More Stories from the August Issue of PCOL Magazine

Greater Accountability at the Peace Corps
Senator Norm Coleman is a strong supporter of Bush's full $359M budget request but wants greater accountability from the Peace Corps. Read why.

Send in the Peace Corps to Iraq?
See if you agree with the op-ed from the NY Times on embedding the Peace Corps with the military in Iraq.

House of Representatives passes Charter
The Peace Corps and the Returned Volunteer community celebrated a big victory when the "Peace Corps Act for the 21st Century" Act passed the House in July. Read what's next for the bill.

Kevin Quigley named new NPCA President
The NPCA has selected the next generation of leadership for their organization. Read about the new President.

Investigation on death of PCV in Mali
The results of the investigation into the death of PCV Zachary Merrill in Mali.

President Bush meets PCVs in Botswana
The President met with PCVs in Botswana. Here's what he said.

Friends of Liberia issue a Call to Action
This RPCV group has a long history on involvement in efforts to bring peace to their Country of Service. Here's what they have to say about the present situation.

More Feature Stories from Recent Issues of PCOL Magazine

Issues with the Peace Corps Bill in Congress
Read about the differences between the House and Senate versions of the "Peace Corps Act for the 21st Century" and decide which one is better.

Americorps' Failure
Lessons the Peace Corps can learn from Americorps' problems.

RPCVs dump ton of coal at US Capital
Read what the RPCV-led Chesapeake Climate Action Network is doing to educate the public on Global Warming.

German Peace Corps celebrates 40 years
The governance structure of the German Peace Corps differs from that of the US Peace Corps. Is it better?

Peace Corps to add 1,000 AIDS/HIV volunteers
Director Vasquez's new initiative to expand the Peace Corps in Africa.

Op-ed: The Future of the Peace Corps
Does the Peace Corps have a future in the age of the American Imperium? What do you think?

RPCV is wheelchair basketball champion
The courage of a volunteer struck down by polio in Central America.

Watch Director Vasquez on web tv
See the Peace Corps Director speak to High School students in Maryland.

The Digital Freedom Initiative
The innovative new program to wire Senegal.

Bill Moyers on America's Future
Read what an early Peace Corps Deputy Director says about America's future.

The Shrivers: A Special Legacy
The Founding Director of the Peace Corps and his future plans.

For the Record: Top Stories in the last 30 days
Become an NPCA Advocate 5 Sept
Visa Problems frustrate RPCV's wedding 3 Sept
Carol Bellamy's UNICEF in the crosshairs 2 Sept
RPCV Dave Thieson dies in Maryland 2 Sept
The Art of Being Globally Thrifty 1 Sept
RPCV founds Educare-Africa 1 Sept
RPCV says No Stability in Afghanistan 28 Aug
Bush meets with future PCVs 28 Aug
Walsh won't support Americorps bailout 28 Aug
Former Director Chao profiled in USA Today 28 Aug
RPCVs form Bridges with Ghana 27 Aug
Shays says Iraq Effort Needs Allied Help 27 Aug
RPCV says to pressure Putin 27 Aug
Bush greets future PCVs 26 Aug
Teen Sentenced For Killing RPCV Father 26 Aug
MN Newspaper says Bush treats PC well 26 Aug
Senator's 'Aids tour' could make a difference 24 Aug
Future PCVs will greet Bush in Minnesota 22 Aug
Bush to meet PC Volunteers in Minnesota 22 Aug
Coleman stunned by AIDS comments 22 Aug
"I have a Dream" 40th Anniversary 22 Aug
RPCV Mayor urges Hispanics to get involved 22 Aug
RPCV named `New Englander of the Year' 20 Aug
Queer Eye For The Straight RPCV 20 Aug
PC Welcomes Kids For Peace Camp 20 Aug
President visits PCVs in Botswana 20 Aug
RPCV says students don't discuss world news 20 Aug
Coleman to examine Africa's AIDS crisis 19 Aug
RPCV discusses New school testing 19 Aug
Senator Coleman to meet PCVs in Africa 19 Aug
Vasquez criticized for supporting Gay Pride 19 Aug
RPCVs work to end Female Genital Mutilation 17 Aug
RPCV runs river guide business in Alaska 17 Aug
Somber reminders of danger 16 Aug
RPCV helps poor Guatemalan village 15 Aug
A Modest Proposal 13 Aug
Kennedy/Shriver connections help Arnold 13 Aug
RPCV dies in Uzbekistan 12 Aug
RPCV fined for protesting Iraq war 12 Aug
DRI sends Medical Supplies to Iraq 11 Aug
RPCV teaches Christian martial arts 11 Aug
Maria Shriver: Beauty and The Barbarian 10 Aug
RPCV is new Riverkeeper 10 Aug
Shrivers and Kennedys mum on Arnold 9 Aug
RPCV drops out of CA Governor's race 9 Aug
RPCV exhibits Palestinian Posters 9 Aug
They Will Remember 8 Aug
Vasquez in Ukraine 8 Aug
Senator Coleman and PC Appropriations 7 Aug
RPCV seeks California governor's office 7 Aug
Farewell from Dane Smith 6 Aug
PC Announces University Partnerships 6 Aug
Top Discussion Stories

A Modest Proposal
Read the op-ed by John Coyne on how to expand and revitalize the NPCA and what you can do to help.

Send in the Peace Corps?
Should the Peace Corps be heading into Iraq and Afghanistan? What do you think?

Peace Corps Charter
Read about the new Peace Corps bill going through Congress. Compare the Senate and House versions of the bill here.

A Volunteer's Courage
After Sara Evans was assaulted she left the Peace Corps and returned to the United States. But her ordeal was only beginning.

The Fourth Goal
Read about Sargent Shriver's Fourth Goal for the Peace Corps. His original speech at Yale about the Peace Corps in the 21st Century is here.

The Numbers Game
Double the Peace Corps - but maintain the quality of the programs and the volunteer experience.

Improvements needed Volunteer services. Read our exclusive story on what needs to be done to support volunteers and reduce attrition rates.

Volunteer Safety
Read the GAO Report on Safety and Security of Volunteers.

The Lariam Files
Read about the anti-malarial drug thousands of volunteers have taken - and its potential side effects.

Senator Norm Coleman is a strong supporter of Bush's full $359M budget request but wants greater accountability from the Peace Corps. Read why.

Protest at the Peace Corps
Do volunteers and staff retain first amendment rights while working in the Peace Corps. Join the discussion.

RPCVs organize
Read how 1,800 RPCVs organized to place two half-page ads in the New York Times.

PC is "truly hardcore"
A Marine Sergeant visited his daughter who is serving in Nicaragua. Read what he says about the Peace Corps.

From Russia with Love
The story behind the departure of the Peace Corps from Russia.

RPCVs honor Vaughn
Returned Volunteers met to honor and listen to the wisdom of Peace Corps legend Jack Vaughn.

More Special Reports

The IDPA: PC Forerunner
The IDPA, a forerunner of the Peace Corps, created in 1951 to place people with indigenous organizations and governments in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Alcohol Abuse a big issue for PCVs in Central Asia
Read about the health hazard PC Staff is warning volunteers in former Soviet Republics about.

PC/Washington: Senior Staff Appointments at PC HQ
See if you can guess how many RPCVs there are in senior staff positions at PC Headquarters.

Peace Corps TV Show
Last year Fox network created a pilot for a tv show about a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer. Although the show wasn't picked up, read RPCVs' many humourous suggestions for the title.

RPCV Spy dies in Moscow
The strange story of the RPCV who defected to Russia.

The Case for PC Independence
Why the USA Freedom Corps doesn't make sense.

Preservation of an Independent Peace Corps
Returned Volunteers insist that the Peace Corps must remain an independent agency to do its job.

Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; NPCA; COS - Thailand



By Joanne Marie Roll (joey) on Tuesday, September 23, 2003 - 11:58 am: Edit Post

I wish the NPCA well but, I also wish it did not use the name Peace Corps in its title. Peace Corps stands for people who serve as volunteers in underdeveloped countries at the invitation of those countries. Mission and vision should be based on that unique experience. But, anyone can join the NPCA. Membership is not limited to RPCVs and staff. The uniqueness of the peace corps experience and effort is obscured.

Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.