2010.09.03: September 3, 2010: Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams Speaks at Cornell, Promotes Public Service

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Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams Speaks at Cornell, Promotes Public Service

Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams Speaks at Cornell, Promotes Public Service

"This is a group of people you can be proud to serve with. They have a global view of life," Williams said of the current volunteers all over the world. Volunteers can be anyone over the age of 18. The oldest is an 85-year-old women currently serving in Morocco.

Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams Speaks at Cornell, Promotes Public Service

Peace Corps Director Speaks at Cornell, Promotes Public Service

September 3, 2010

By Erika Hooker

The director of the United States Peace Corps, Aaron Williams, encouraged students Thursday night to broaden their horizons and engage in public service.

Williams, appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009, said coming to Cornell to talk with the students was important to him because of the significant role the University has played in foreign service with the Peace Corps.

Cornell has the third largest number of undergraduate alumni volunteers in the organization, with 46 people currently serving. Ithaca itself also has deep roots to Peace Corps service, with more per capita volunteers than anywhere else in the country –– an average of almost 13 volunteers per 100,000 residents.

"Cornell is a historic and important part of involvement in the Peace Corps. Cornell believes in and contributes to international development with an intense dedication seen in the staff and students," Williams said.

The Peace Corps receives about 15,000 applications for 4,000 openings each year. With such intense competition, Williams said the most important thing an applicant can have is "dedication to serve."

The organization has seen remarkable change and growth in its nearly 50 years of existence. This year is especially promising, Williams said, due to Congress' decision to award the Peace Corps with its largest budget in history.

Williams attributes his own time in the Peace Corps - three years in the Dominican Republic - to much of his growth as a leader.

"You receive 15 times more than you give. The Peace Corps changed my life in ways I cannot have imagined," he said.

Many of the audience members shared the same sentiments.

Nancy Maas, a resident of Ithaca, was a Peace Corps volunteer from Bolivia from 1964 to 1966. She said it is important to consider that the Peace Corps is invited into countries for specific purposes.

"The fact that so many countries want and need us is remarkable," Maas said. "You have to be flexible - change happens all the time - but I'm excited for these students. An experience like this will open up so many doors."

Williams said the Peace Corps teaches its volunteers countless skills, including education in a new language, of which they teach 250.

And the Peace Corps is growing, Williams said. The organization recently announced new agreements with Columbia, Indonesia and Sierra Leone. They will add to the Peace Corps' current 77 host countries, in which 7,671 volunteers serve.

"This is a group of people you can be proud to serve with. They have a global view of life," Williams said of the current volunteers all over the world. Volunteers can be anyone over the age of 18. The oldest is an 85-year-old women currently serving in Morocco.

Many Cornell students in the audience were inspired by Williams' enthusiasm and personal stories of his time in the Dominican Republic.

Audrey Gyr '11 said she has been interested in joining the Peace Corps for some time.

"It's an invaluable opportunity to use everything you learned at Cornell. It almost seems selfish because returnees tell us you get more than you can possibly give," Gyr said.

Williams emphasized Thursday night that return volunteers should share their knowledge with the rest of America.

With this year marking the Peace Corps' 50-year anniversary, commitment to growth is more important than ever, Williams said.

"I want this year to be a platform not for us to pat ourselves on the back and say, ‘good job Peace Corps,' but for us to thank everyone who supports what we do. We can say, ‘America, look what you have accomplished'," said Williams.

The biggest challenge to the Peace Corps, however, is continuing to get the resources needed to grow in the future, Williams said. Consistent funding, government compliance and dedicated volunteers will help make new and expanding programs operate to the best of their ability, he said.

Williams concluded his speech by encouraging audience members to look into public service as a way of deepening "human connections."

"Today I ask you: what do you imagine you can achieve?" Williams said.

Links to Related Topics (Tags):

Headlines: September, 2010; Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams; Peace Corps Directors; Peace Corps Dominican Republic; Directory of Dominican Republic RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Dominican Republic RPCVs; Peace Corps Headquarters; New York

When this story was posted in January 2011, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Support Independent Funding for the Third Goal Date: November 9 2010 No: 1460 Support Independent Funding for the Third Goal
The Peace Corps has always neglected the third goal, allocating less than 1% of their resources to "bringing the world back home." Senator Dodd addressed this issue in the "Peace Corps for the 21st Century" bill passed by the US Senate and Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter proposed a "Peace Corps Foundation" at no cost to the US government. Both are good approaches but the recent "Comprehensive Assessment Report" didn't address the issue of independent funding for the third goal at all.

Nov 8, 2010: The 50th Begins Date: November 9 2010 No: 1457 Nov 8, 2010: The 50th Begins
University of Michigan commemorates 50th 16 Oct
Wittenberg University also has claim on 50th 31 Oct
Historical Marker Unveiled to Celebrate 50th 15 Oct
Directors Discuss Impact of Service 13 Oct
Mary Morgan writes: Some thoughts on the 50th 16 Oct
Colombia I Holds Reunion at Rutgers 31 Oct
Remembering the Early Program in Ghana 23 Oct
George Packer writes: Meaning of the Mid-Terms 2 Nov
Steve Driehaus Defeated for re-election 2 Nov
Michelle Obama's Uncle was PCV in India 1 Nov
Chic Dambach writes "Exhaust the Limits" 31 Oct
Alrick Brown Directs Documentary on Rwanda 31 Oct
Rajeev Goyal writes: Obama Does Nothing for Peace Corps 31 Oct
Dr. Paul Frommer Created Language for 'Avatar' 20 Oct
Cy Kukenbaker Directs Movie about Soccer in Malawi 15 Oct
Peace Corps has no Institutional Memory 14 Oct
Kristof and Stacia Nordin demonstrate permaculture in Malawi 9 Oct
Volunteer Stephanie Chance dies in Niger 8 Oct
Peace Corps volunteer Census hits 40-year high 4 Oct
Malaysia PM wants Peace Corps to Return 25 Sep
Volunteer Thomas Maresco Murdered in Lesotho 4 Sep
Johnathan Miller launchs Airborne Lifeline 26 Aug

July 20, 2010: Nita Lowey Pushes Expansion Date: July 24 2010 No: 1447 July 20, 2010: Nita Lowey Pushes Expansion
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Anne Goddard helps lead ChildFund 12 Jul
PCVs Safe after bombing in Uganda 12 Jul
PCVs Evacuated from Northern Burkina Faso 7 Jul
Ben Masters promotes bamboo bicycles 6 Jul
Danny Dunbar is a fan of Brazil soccer 2 Jul
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NPCA holds YouTube contest 2 Jul
Larry Palmer nominated as Ambassador to Venezuela 30 Jun
Laurence Leamer writes: America Looks Like a Fortress 29 Jun
Ed Reed writes: Troops' service in Korea not in vain 28 Jun
Mary-Denise Tabar finishes tour in Iraq 24 Jun
Carrie Hessler-Radelet Sworn in as PC Deputy Director 24 Jun
PC Releases Comprehensive Agency Assessment Report 22 Jun
Michael Burden writes: The dilemma on your dinner plate 18 Jun
Safety at risk for Peace Corps volunteers? 17 Jun
PCVs in Southern Kyrgyzstan evacuated safely 15 Jun
Steve Harpt helps dropouts reconstruct their lives 11 Jun
Biden Meets with Peace Corps/Kenya Volunteers 11 Jun
19 Americans Sworn-in as PCVs in Indonesia 4 Jun
PC Celebrates Volunteers Return to Sierra Leone 3 Jun
John Coté makes cross-country walk for US Troops 16 May

Memo to Incoming Director Williams Date: August 24 2009 No: 1419 Memo to Incoming Director Williams
PCOL has asked five prominent RPCVs and Staff to write a memo on the most important issues facing the Peace Corps today. Issues raised include the independence of the Peace Corps, political appointments at the agency, revitalizing the five-year rule, lowering the ET rate, empowering volunteers, removing financial barriers to service, increasing the agency's budget, reducing costs, and making the Peace Corps bureaucracy more efficient and responsive. Latest: Greetings from Director Williams

Join Us Mr. President! Date: June 26 2009 No: 1380 Join Us Mr. President!
"We will double the size of the Peace Corps by its 50th anniversary in 2011. And we'll reach out to other nations to engage their young people in similar programs, so that we work side by side to take on the common challenges that confront all humanity," said Barack Obama during his campaign. Returned Volunteers rally and and march to the White House to support a bold new Peace Corps for a new age. Latest: Senator Dodd introduces Peace Corps Improvement and Expansion Act of 2009 .

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Story Source: Cornell Daily Sun

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Directors; COS - Dominican Republic; Headquarters


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