The Committee for a New Peace Corps

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Peace Corps Library: Special Reports: Is it time for a New Peace Corps? 4 articles take a critical look at the Peace Corps of the new millenium : The Committee for a New Peace Corps

By Admin1 (admin) on Thursday, July 12, 2001 - 3:25 pm: Edit Post

The Committee for a New Peace Corps

RPCV Committee for a New Peace Corps

A Breath of Fresh Air

We received this article too late to publish in our last issue which would have allowed our local members to become politically active (as recommended below) in this election, but we feel it is a newsworthy grassroots movement in the Peace Corps community of which our membership should be aware and in which it may wish to participate. Edited for brevity from Orange Marmalade ("Some sweet sections, some bitter rind, a few nutty pieces. No artificial ingredients"), Orange County PCA.

Ten RPCVs have formed the Committee for a New Peace Corps to advocate for agency reforms from the next President of the United States. In the interest of encouraging serious thought about Peace Corps' future, the NPCA publishes- but has not taken a position- on these proposals.

This bipartisan effort calls for changes in how the Peace Corps operates and supports the proposals with financial contributions for each of the candidates in the general election. The committee has contacted the Republican and Democratic campaigns, and seeks to strengthen those links throughout the general election and during the transition to the next presidential administration.

Committee members include: Josh Busby (Ecuador 1997-99), Timothy Carroll (Nigeria 1963-65), Richard Harrill (Hungary 1993- 95), David Hibbard (Nigeria 1961-63), Roger Landrum, chair (Nigeria 1961-63), Stephen Lynch (Russia 1992-94), Edward Marshall (Ecuador 1996-98), Scott Osborne (Togo 1980-82), Jeffrey Schwartz (Nepal 1981-83), and Kitty Thuermer (Mali 1977-79). The committee is recruiting 90 additional members who wish to endorse the proposals below with a financial contribution of from $200 to $1000 (the maximum permitted by campaign finance laws) to either the Bush or Gore campaign.

Why Act Now? The next President's first term will coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Peace Corps. Because the Director of the Peace Corps is appointed by and reports to the President, the new President will have an unparalleled opportunity to set a new course in a new millennium for this high profile, unique arm of American international service.

The Need for Change Despite its broad and flexible mission, the Peace Corps today rarely undertakes anything new or of significant scope. It has settled into a pattern of routine, volunteer-sending operations on a 1960s model. The organizational culture resists change and innovation. In contrast, the world is undergoing radical changes economically, technologically, in transitions to democracy and human rights. The time has come for new ideas, new practices and new directions- to make a better, more flexible and innovative high-impact player in breakthrough development. In that spirit, the Committee for a New Peace Corps offers the following recommendations.

Foundational Ideas

1. Appoint a Director with International Experience.

Appoint an experienced internationalist as CEO of the Peace Corps. The White House has reserved the Peace Corps Directorship for political appointees but a new President can choose an individual with knowledge of volunteerism, achievement in international service and the world the Peace Corps serves for a professional appointment, not a political one, to hold a mandate from the President to retool the Peace Corps.

2. Launch a New Program Agenda.

As part of the Peace Corps 40th anniversary celebrations, the President should direct the agency to identify and pioneer visionary new programming themes of potentially high development impact to be developed closely with host country partners and spread the ethic of service. Such initiatives should be sustainable public/private partnerships (corporate, philanthropic, and international agencies), the NPCA, and other alumni-led ventures. Ten percent of PCVs and agency resources should be allocated to the new program agenda at its inception, eventually expanding to 25 percent. In participating countries, assistance should be provided for creation of an indigenous non-profit entity to manage forward planning, development of a policy framework, and building a sustainable infrastructure for indigenous youth service.

The focus of one stream of pilot programming can be integration into secondary and higher education institutions a model of student service-learning in coordination with student service placements, local NGOs and social service projects. The focus of a second: a young adult service corps The focus of a third: a multi-national diverse student corps to achieve, among other goals, resolution of ethnic hatred.

3. Give PCVs New Technology.

Equip PCVs and their host country partners with the best information technology. The President should instruct the new Director to equip volunteers in the field with the best technology and support, including RPCVs from the same region.

4. Engage Peace Corps alumni.

Develop a new framework as a signature goal for continued service by Peace Corps alumni to currently serving volunteers and for innovative programming: monitoring and evaluation, short term technical assistance, marketing, planning, and administrating.

One specific approach to a functional partnership is a joint project of the Peace Corps and the national alumni association to create an independently administered Innovation Fund to leverage private capital to support overseas projects of mutual interest: i.e., investments in community development, new technology for counterpart organizations, market access schemes, technical training, or innovative pilot programming ventures. The Peace Corps should actively support the most promising alumni-created international organizations in the form of a joint ventureship with volunteer placements, collaborative planning and implementation, alumni donations, and otherwise. Peace Corps needs to develop an entirely different relationship with its national alumni organization. Third Goal activities should be contracted to the NPCA with a far-reaching contract negotiated for a wide range of overseas and domestic technical assistance support.

The goal for the relationship between Peace Corps and its alumni should be for RPCVs to become an integral arm of ongoing Peace Corps success, and vice versa, in the same way that university alumni continue to participate in the mission of their alma maters. These recommendations chart the potential for a new era of creativity, service and impact in achieving the mission of the Peace Corps. The next President can create a new Peace Corps for a new century.

By sophie barnes ( - on Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - 1:29 pm: Edit Post

I saw the PBS(?) special last night on "American ?" all about Sargent Shriver; it was extremely heartening to read of his tireless struggles for the poor and for peace. Listed at the end was an organization I want to be part of called shrivers peaceworkers of something like that, does someone know how I can find our more?; thanks, SB

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