A Message for Returned Volunteers

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Special Reports: August 7, 2004: Director Gaddi Vasquez: The PCOL Interview: A Message for Returned Volunteers

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Director Gaddi Vasquez: The PCOL Interview - A Message for Returned Volunteers

Director Gaddi Vasquez: The PCOL Interview - A Message for Returned Volunteers

Director Gaddi Vasquez: The PCOL Interview - A Message for Returned Volunteers

A Message for Returned Volunteers

PCOL: That concludes my questions. Any message that you would like to send to the Returned Volunteer community?

GV: The message I would convey here is that I am grateful to the Returned Peace Corps Volunteer community for the continued engagement and involvement that so many have had in support of the Peace Corps.

 A Message for Returned Volunteers

Our success has been possible because of the involvement of the RPCV community. When I came to this position, you were there, I made a pledge that I would work very hard to build a stronger relationship with the RPCV community. I think that we have made great strides in that direction. I think the fact that over 7,000 RPCVs participated in Peace Corps Week this last year is quite indicative of the engagement, or in some cases, the re-engagement of RPCVs. Some have told me, "you know I was not active in the RPCV community until most recently." I think there is a resurgence of public awareness in the Peace Corps. That is also something that we set out to do - to reacquaint America with the Peace Corps.

Our campaign, "Life is calling. How far will you go?," has resonated very well with audiences across America. Certainly there is that sentimental favorite of the "toughest job you'll ever love" - that will always be part of the Peace Corps. But, the "Life is calling" campaign really strikes at the heart of why somebody wants to go into the Peace Corps. To me, that is a very important core value of the Peace Corps. That's why this campaign is geared to the individual and to the self-examination of why would you want to do this. It's not for the money - but what's in your heart, what's in your soul, what kind of talents do you have. And when you put all those together, I think the Peace Corps is well positioned and poised to achieve great things in the 21st Century.

I think President Bush has been an ardent supporter. He has visited with volunteers. The historic levels of funding, the historic levels of growth over the past 28 years that we have accomplished in the last year, I think are significant and send a strong indicator that the Peace Corps enjoys bipartisan support. We are well positioned. It is because of people's continued involvement and support, both in the current ranks of volunteers, as well as with Returned Peace Corps volunteers, that we are having some great success.

I also have to pay tribute to older Americans - those who are over the age of 50 who are applying to the Peace Corps in record numbers. That's inspiring. It's motivating because it's another furtherance of the attempt that we have made to diversify the Peace Corps so that the Peace Corps looks like America.

I am very honored to serve as director of the Peace Corps. I think some great times are ahead for us all, but we are doing this together. This is not about Gaddi Vasquez. This is about a team effort. This is about men and women who serve as Country Directors. This is about staff at overseas posts, the men and women in our recruiting offices who do exceptional work, and the men and women who make up the entire team at the Peace Corps in Washington, D.C.

I said to the folks at the Peace Corps, both in the field and in Washington, we are one Peace Corps. It's not Washington and the posts. It's not the countries against Washington. We are all in this together. We are one Peace Corps. We need to be seamless. We need to be together, because what we accomplish and what we achieve will be achievements of us all. And so, we remain committed to that because it is a team approach. I think the results that we have achieved so far are indicative of a very strong team committed to the goals and the mission of the Peace Corps.

PCOL: I want to thank you on behalf of "Peace Corps Online" and on behalf of the Returned Volunteer community for responding to our questions.

GV: It was a pleasure. Thanks a lot, delighted.

Read our interview with Director Vasquez in this month's issue of PCOL Magazine:

Director Gaddi Vasquez: The PCOL Interview Director Gaddi Vasquez: The PCOL Interview
This month we sat down for an extended interview with Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez. Read the entire interview from start to finish and we promise you will learn something about the Peace Corps you didn't know before.

Then read the questions and answers one by one and leave your comments on the issues raised during the interview including Infrastructure Upgrades and the new Situation Room at Headquarters, Is there a Budget Crunch this year at Peace Corps, Peace Corps' Long Term Expansion, the Changes to the Five-Year Rule made last year, Safety and Security Issues, the Cooperative Agreement with NPCA, RPCVs in Policy Making Positions at Peace Corps Headquarters, Peace Corps' Departure from Russia in 2002, Director Vasquez's Accomplishments as Director, the Peace Corps Safety and Security Bill before Congress, Continuity at the Agency during Changes in Administration, the Community College Program, and the Director's Message to the Returned Volunteer Community.

Read the questions and answers and leave your comments.

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Story Source: PCOL Exclusive

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Peace Corps Directors - Vasquez



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