December 1, 2000 - Marlin Chronicle: Peace Corps Director Mark Schneider speaks at VWC

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Directors of the Peace Corps: Mark L. Schneider: December 23, 1999-January 20, 2001 : Mark Schneider: December 1, 2000 - Marlin Chronicle: Peace Corps Director Mark Schneider speaks at VWC

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Peace Corps Director Mark Schneider speaks at VWC

Peace Corps Director Mark Schneider speaks at VWC

Director of Peace Corps speaks at VWC

Mark Schneider shared his own experiences with the Peace Corps, and its potential value for college students.


The Honorable Mark L. Schneider, Peace Corps Director, addressed a group of students, faculty, and administrative members on Thursday, Nov. 16, in the Alumni Galleria. Mr. Schneider discussed his own personal history with the Corps, as well as itís significance around the world. "I have the greatest job in the United States, or at least in the U.S. government," said Schneider. "The spirit and service in the United States can change the world." Dr.Clay Drees, professor of history, is the President of the Association of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, and was responsible for bringing Schneider to campus. At age 22, Drees served in West Africa. "For me personally, it was one of the most enlightening and maturing experiences of my life," said Drees. "I really grew up very, very quickly and became what I like to call a Ďcitizen of the world.' I saw disease. I saw poverty that would just absolutely shock most Americans," said Drees.

Schneider has become the fifteenth director of the Peace Corps, since itís creation by President Kennedy in 1960. Schneider and his wife Susan, served as volunteers in El Salvador from 1966 to 1968. He has served as chief of the Office of Analysis ans Strategic Planning and as a staff member for Sen. Edward Kennedy. 161,000 volunteers in 134 countries have served in an attempt to achieve what Schneider described as the Peace Corps three main goals: to contribute to the development of countries around the world; to permit other countries to understand who we are as a people; and to promote understanding by having Americans return home and share their experiences. "Unfortunately, the demands around the world remain," said Schneider. "The majority of the world still suffers from poverty, hunger, and ill health."

"For Americans to go overseas, I think it helps people in other countries to better understand Americans," said Drees. "We become ambassadors of our country." Schneider described changes that have taken place within the Corps since he was a volunteer. This includes an increase in the amount of women and minority volunteers, as well as those over the age of 50. Over 60 percent of the Peace Corps is now composed of women. Many students in attendance are interested in becoming volunteers. "I came to hear more about what seems to be an interesting opportunity," said senior Megan Maynard. "For college students to have this kind of experience, it would enrich their lives not only in the short term, personally, but also the long term, professionally," said Drees. Peace Corps volunteers work in a variety of fields. Volunteers can serve in business and municipal development, work in health clinics, the environmental and agricultural field, and many volunteers are teachers. "The area of information technology is growing," said Schneider. "Volunteers are using computers to advance their goal, and they are enabling communities to benefit from computer technology."

America Online is currently funding 120 projects for the Peace Corps over the next two years. Potential volunteers must undergo an application process. The Corps receives about 10,000 applications a year and accepts approximately 4,000. Many volunteers are college graduates, andsome posses certain skills that put them at an advantage, such as speaking a foreign language. Most are turned away for medical reasons. Schneider advised students to apply about a year ahead of time. Volunteers are given money to sustain a moderate standard of living in the country in which they serve. There is also a "readjustment allowance" given to volunteers when they return home. "The Peace Corps places volunteers where they can be safe and secure," Schneider told the crowd. "I hope you will be future Peace Corps volunteers."

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Story Source: Marlin Chronicle

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