Peace Corps Awards

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By Charlotte Bruce ( - on Tuesday, November 15, 2005 - 12:33 pm: Edit Post

PCVs do not need accolades. We derive satisfaction from our work, and none of us is better than the other. Giving an award to a PCV is the antithesis of our mission of humble work to assist developing countries. Scrap this plan immediately.

By Kathleen Moore ( - on Tuesday, November 15, 2005 - 12:51 pm: Edit Post

We all, as PCV's, did and do the best we can. some may seem exceptional in one way or another but much of that depends on where you serve, other volunteers, training, etc. No one gets to be who they are and how they are on their own. Better that our government and the host country governments respect and appreciate all who volunteer their service to others, not single out just a few. Can you imagine Medcines sans Frontiers choosing their "best" doctor? I can't. Just read the memoirs that so many RPCV"s have written and you will have a hard time choosing one or two as "special."

By Donna Statler ( - on Tuesday, November 15, 2005 - 1:35 pm: Edit Post

I believe it is very inapproriate to pass out accolades to PCV's! I served and believe that the kindness of the villagers is more than enough.
I believe that most of us join and serve to make a difference and most of us discover that the difference is made within each of the PCV's serving. It is sad that we live in a society which has such a low self-esteem that we feel like there should be some tangible reward in the end of a "job" where we are to be giving! The idea of accolades brings forth sadness, for what we are becoming.

By Anonymous ( on Tuesday, November 15, 2005 - 1:43 pm: Edit Post

I really agree with some other comments that this might bring PC some recognition. And I don't think that choosing 2 out of over 7000 volunteers would be 'devisive' (as it was when this kind of project was done on the local level - e.g. 2 out of 20 has more impact to morale etc.). Of course, there is no impartial/measurable way to choose the 2 - no matter who they are - we all know they are 2 of many more. But for all the comments about us all doing a good job. I'd say 95% of us did. But we all know a couple folks who focused more on their own comforts and on themselves at the expense of working hard.

By cathykleinsmith ( - on Tuesday, November 15, 2005 - 3:05 pm: Edit Post

At the risk of sounding strait-laced, I agree with the above comments and feel this is a failure of values. A pandering to the current societal values that throws extravagant parties for kids "graduating" from 3rd grade or 4th grade rather than real milestones such as graudating from high school or college. Awards have absolutely no meaning anymore, and as a PCV I never expected or wanted an award. The PCV experience was very personal. Giving awards only reduces the experience to something very mundane.

Velasquez was appointed by the Bush administration that touts its morality. This is just further evidence of their lack of morals (like we needed more evidence??).

By Don Chauls ( - on Tuesday, November 15, 2005 - 3:27 pm: Edit Post

These awards - like all Bush awards - should only be given to volunteers who have done a miserable job.

By Anonymous ( - on Tuesday, November 15, 2005 - 3:45 pm: Edit Post

I could not begin to single out any one person or persons for a special reward. I got my reward from my students, their parents, their villages, by all that they gave to me. I have not talked with any other RPCV who feels differently.

By Bill Callahan ( - on Tuesday, November 15, 2005 - 6:11 pm: Edit Post

I am beginning to have doubts about the sincerity and commitment of Mr. Velesquez to the Peace Corps Volunteers and to the RPCV's. First, the Bush administration tried to have PC service for the military and Velasquez should have had that stopped at the initial discussion. Secondly, he had some agreement with a private magazine to be sent to RPCV's under the guise of new authors and literature. Too bad he overlooked reading it and examining some of the ads. Now he is trying to do a political public relations event by trying to offer awards to 2 Peace Corps Volunteers. He should be putting all of his efforts into getting funding for the grass roots projects that PCV's are doing in their host countries. Improving yield in agricultulre and livestock, building opportunities for schooling, increasing health delivery systems, introducing water projects, building cooperatives and developing markets for products, etc. is much more important to PCV's and RPCV's than getting a plaque with thier name on it. Any PC who saw an improvement in the lives of the people they worked with already received their award, and there is nothing Mr. Velasquez can give to them that will match the feeling of accommplishment and warmth of knowing they made a wonderful impact.

By Anonymous ( on Tuesday, November 15, 2005 - 5:37 pm: Edit Post

This is not what Peace Corps is about! Anyone who thinks otherwise joined for the wrong reasons!

By Anonymous ( on Tuesday, November 15, 2005 - 5:33 pm: Edit Post

Awards are not what PC service is about. I was thankful to belong to something that DIDN'T award the "best".

By Anonymous ( - on Tuesday, November 15, 2005 - 5:29 pm: Edit Post

Having worked in large corporations for over 25 years, I have seen first hand employee recognition programs come and go. They ARE devisive. They hurt morale. Those who are "deserving" of recognition in any corporation or organization will reap what they sow. Those who do well in the Peace Corps will be rewarded as they progress through their lives meeting other challenges and opportunities. And to that extent, each volunteer is worthy of being a "winner."

By michelepcma ( - on Tuesday, November 15, 2005 - 4:58 pm: Edit Post

How can we judge one PC volunteer against another? Some are sent to higher profile areas or countries where the result of their efforts is in the eye of others. Others, however, taught ESL to workers and kids in an efficient, but low key fashion or organized cooperatives in tiny villages. How can you prove how great one was in raising a group of girls self-esteem or bringing trickes of clean water to some obscure village?

After the last elections, I vowed to only do volunteer work 'a la republican', i.e. work that would put my picture in the local papers and magazines. I didn't follow through with this, but am now wondering if PC is going in that direction.

True volunteers work to feed their spirits and need no awards.

By wendy archer ( - on Tuesday, November 15, 2005 - 4:29 pm: Edit Post

No no no! I agree with the above statements. How could one begin to judge the best between oranges & eclairs & scallops? Don't even try to put us all in the same basket. Is there suddenly a surplus of $ to spend on this project... and someone without enough to do? I see it as an effort to put a feather in GW's "peace cap". No thank you.

By Marianne Q. Espinoza ( - on Tuesday, November 15, 2005 - 4:19 pm: Edit Post

I began my Peace Corps Service in 1962. I never felt the need to be 'rewarded' for the work I was doing. The results of our work and the reception by the natives was reward enough. Having a reward to the 'best volunteer' turns the service to country into a political service. What critieria will be used? Who will nominate? What about those PCVs who do great work, but do not have someone to nominate them? Who will search them out? Please rescind the best PCV award.

By Anonymous ( - on Tuesday, November 15, 2005 - 4:06 pm: Edit Post

Disqualifications: Sick too often, medevacd, unskilled in local language, relationship w/ hcn, missing quarterly reports, parents call cd too often, service imcomplete due to political unrest or natural disaster, too many visitors, too much vacation, too much fun, too many friends, too much skin showing, inappropriate footwear, personal hygiene issues, refusing prescribed meds and shots, no secondary projects, no primary projects, gaining or losing too much weight, absent when apcd stopped by, didn't respond to lost mail/message, refuses to wear crown.

By Jay Davidson ( - on Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - 1:10 am: Edit Post

I agree that this awards business is the antithesis of what the Peace Corps is all about. When I look at only the people who served with me (Mauritania, 2003-2005), I see so many individuals who did amazing and exemplary work that it would be impossible to single out anyone as being award-worthy. If two people get awards, what does that say about everyone else and the work they do? I would much rather see the Peace Corps as being a predominantly COOPERATIVE rather than COMPETITIVE domain. Let's face it: we are all in this together. Let's focus on the inner rewards that we get from the jobs that we do in working with others!

By Anonymous ( - on Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - 12:13 am: Edit Post

Hi all,
Hmm -- here was my first reaction on seeing this about the awards: a rather bland feeling of, "oh, that's nice." The overall ire of these posts is rather surprising to me. I mean, we're talking about two awards among 7000 people -- it seems clear to me that this could not be considered by anyone as singling out "the best" but rather a way of drawing attention to Peace Corps and specific projects. You would win by the luck of the draw, because PC does such fine work around the world. I don't think anybody would be joining PC in the hope of winning the award! And I have faith in the overall maturity of PCVs that, if their colleague won, they would be happy for them and not feel any diminishment of their own work. It's like when some PCVs are selected to meet the Ambassador, or the visiting PC Director, etc -- luck of the draw, and how nice that every once in a while some get a bit of the spotlight, though that has nothing to do with why any of us joined or the real rewards of our service. Are you sure you are not overreacting?

By Ralph Cherry ( - on Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - 12:56 pm: Edit Post

This is the second attempt at recognizing "outstanding" PCVs--the first was a program called Volunteer Of The Year, which was instigated, I believe, by the late and usually lamented Loret Ruppe. It was wrong-headed then, and for the same reason it's wrong-headed now: it sets up a competitive ethos between PCVs which has no place in work being done, as someone said elsewhere on this bulletin board, "for the love of it." PCVs are supposed to be working for the common good of humanity, and that's its own reward. Volunteer Of The Year died a fast and mostly un-noticed death. Hopefully this will, too.

By Ion Freeman ( - on Wednesday, November 16, 2005 - 1:18 pm: Edit Post

I guess I'm not particulary opposed to these awards. The people who win them will be the same people who always win these types of awards ... urban volunteers, well connected back home, who hang out at their Peace Corps office. Seriously, how else would the selection process work?
There are few enough awards that serving volunteers wouldn't feel bad about not winning them (although I'll be enraged if I don't win an RPCV award at least half the time), and each award will create a news event that can raise awareness of what volunteers are doing.
I wouldn't have come up with the idea, but I'm not going to oppose it.

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