2006.02.07: February 7, 2006: Headlines: Congress: Global Health Corps: National Review Online: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist says: The Peace Corps has done at least as much good as efforts costing much more

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Library: Peace Corps: Congress: Congress and the Peace Corps: 2006.02.07: February 7, 2006: Headlines: Congress: Global Health Corps: National Review Online: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist says: The Peace Corps has done at least as much good as efforts costing much more

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Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist says: The Peace Corps has done at least as much good as efforts costing much more

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist says: The Peace Corps has done at least as much good as efforts costing much more

"We need to look for more ways to achieve results like this and thereby make real progress in the war on terror. Experience shows that doing so will require more person-to-person contacts. While its efforts have never consumed more than a tiny fraction of our foreign-aid budget, the Peace Corps provides a good example of what we might accomplish: By dispatching young, hard-working Americans all over the world, the Peace Corps has done at least as much good as efforts costing much more."

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist says: The Peace Corps has done at least as much good as efforts costing much more

Corps Diplomacy
A healthy approach.

By Senator Bill Frist

Over the next few days, my staff and I will spend many hours reading large sections of President Bush's tight $2.8 trillion 2007 budget. Although the budget contains very few program expansions, spending on health assistance to other countries continues on an upward trajectory. In 2001, we spent just over $1 billion helping others abroad improve their health and development. This year, we'll devote nearly $3.5 billion and next year, the president has proposed $4.2 billion in funding.

These programs are some of the best-spent money in the budget they're actually a vital contribution to the war on terror. In places where we distribute aid wisely and get our foreign partners to do their part, our health efforts can build support for freedom and provide us with a crucial weapon against terror. We can't, however, continue to increase our spending at the same pace. Instead, we need to figure out ways to expand our efforts and realize medicine's promise as a tool of public diplomacy a currency for peace.

From the Middle East to Latin America, freedom's opponents have learned that medical care can win ordinary people's hearts and minds. In the West Bank, for example, Hamas won a majority in the recent legislative assembly races in part on the strength of the hospitals and clinics the terrorist organization operates. Cuba's Communist regime, likewise, has earned good will in Latin America by dispatching doctors throughout the region. Even though such regimes oppose freedom, even there these efforts are fundamental tools for political outreach.

Our own efforts have realized tremendous gains by dispatching troops and medical personnel to help survivors of the South Asian tsunami and the massive Pakistani earthquake. Not all successful efforts require massive commitments of resources: I remember standing by during a heart operation on one small Iraqi girl. A long surgery ended and the child went into the recovery room. Then, her mother pulled me over and told me through a translator: "Please tell the American people thank you for their compassion and generosity." Medical care touched her in a way that a radio broadcast, reconstruction project, or food aid never could.

We need to look for more ways to achieve results like this and thereby make real progress in the war on terror. Experience shows that doing so will require more person-to-person contacts. While its efforts have never consumed more than a tiny fraction of our foreign-aid budget, the Peace Corps provides a good example of what we might accomplish: By dispatching young, hard-working Americans all over the world, the Peace Corps has done at least as much good as efforts costing much more.

Thus, I'd like to see the president support, and the Congress pass, a bipartisan bill I wrote last year to establish a low-cost, volunteer-driven organization focused on public health a Global Health Corps. The Corps would combine experienced doctors, nurses, and technicians with those who sign up based on a passion to serve and a willingness to learn.

In desperately poor nations that lack even the most fundamental medical facilities, Corps volunteers could save lives by showing people the importance of clean water, sanitation, and first aid. Because it would rely on committed volunteers rather than full-time employees, it would allow us to deal with these problems without busting the budget. Some volunteers would work in areas with chronic problems and others would stand ready to deploy to places that experience crises. They would serve anywhere from days, to weeks to months. Using syringes and pills rather as their weapons, they would help those on need and simultaneously advance our campaign against terrorists.

Simply funding elaborate programs can only get us so far. We need to demonstrate our commitment to health on a more personal level. And, based on my experience, I believe that a group of American medical volunteers committed to working abroad to help others could provide us with an important and cost-efficient weapon in the war on terror.

Dr. Bill Frist is the Senate majority leader.





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March 1, 1961: Keeping Kennedy's Promise Date: February 27 2006 No: 800 March 1, 1961: Keeping Kennedy's Promise
On March 1, 1961, President John F. Kennedy issues Executive Order #10924, establishing the Peace Corps as a new agency: "Life in the Peace Corps will not be easy. There will be no salary and allowances will be at a level sufficient only to maintain health and meet basic needs. Men and women will be expected to work and live alongside the nationals of the country in which they are stationed--doing the same work, eating the same food, talking the same language. But if the life will not be easy, it will be rich and satisfying. For every young American who participates in the Peace Corps--who works in a foreign land--will know that he or she is sharing in the great common task of bringing to man that decent way of life which is the foundation of freedom and a condition of peace. "

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The Peace Corps Library Date: February 24 2006 No: 798 The Peace Corps Library
The Peace Corps Library is now available online with over 40,000 index entries in 500 categories. Looking for a Returned Volunteer? Check our RPCV Directory. New: Sign up to receive PCOL Magazine, our free Monthly Magazine by email. Like to keep up with Peace Corps news as it happens? Sign up to recieve a daily summary of Peace Corps stories from around the world.

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Paid Vacations in the Third World? Date: February 20 2006 No: 787 Paid Vacations in the Third World?
Retired diplomat Peter Rice has written a letter to the Wall Street Journal stating that Peace Corps "is really just a U.S. government program for paid vacations in the Third World." Director Vasquez has responded that "the small stipend volunteers receive during their two years of service is more than returned in the understanding fostered in communities throughout the world and here at home." What do RPCVs think?

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When the National Call to Service legislation was amended to include Peace Corps in December of 2002, this country had not yet invaded Iraq and was not in prolonged military engagement in the Middle East, as it is now. Read the story of how one volunteer spent three years in captivity from 1976 to 1980 as the hostage of a insurrection group in Colombia in Joanne Marie Roll's op-ed on why this legislation may put soldier/PCVs in the same kind of danger. Latest: Read the ongoing dialog on the subject.

PC establishes awards for top Volunteers Date: November 9 2005 No: 749 PC establishes awards for top Volunteers
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170,000 is a very special number for the RPCV community - it's the number of Volunteers who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961. It's also a number that is very special to us because March is the first month since our founding in January, 2001 that our readership has exceeded 170,000. And while we know that not everyone who comes to this site is an RPCV, they are all "Friends of the Peace Corps." Thanks everybody for making PCOL your source of news for the Returned Volunteer community.


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Story Source: National Review Online

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Congress; Global Health Corps

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