|By Admin1 (admin) on Friday, September 14, 2001 - 7:30 pm: Edit Post|
This message from the National Peace Corps Association:
Subj: Postponement of the Conference; Volunteer Day and a Peace Vigil to Go Forward
To the Returned Peace Corps Community
The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have been a terrible
shock for our nation, including our community. We believe it is important
for Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, staff and friends of the Peace Corps to
continue to convey their message of peace and positive engagement with the
developing countries. We had therefore hoped to continue with our
Conference in Washington DC, making necessary adjustments for security.
Extraordinary Tension in Washington
While our goal has not changed, the situation of uncertainty and the local
circumstances in Washington DC have forced us to reexamine the nature of our
--The situation in Washington is extraordinarily tense. The security
perimeter around the White House has been greatly extended in the last day.
Much of the area to be used by the Conference, including the Hotel
Washington and the Mall, the American Red Cross, Department of Commerce, now
falls within a greatly widened security perimeter. All persons entering the
perimeter have to show ID's and are subject to search.
-- Military Police manning HUM-V vehicles are on every street downtown,
including on L Street in front of the NPCA. Traffic is being directed by
the National Guard, and there have been frequent bomb scares and evacuations
of buildings. There have been statements from the Administration suggesting
that military action might occur during the period in question. There is
uncertainty about the availability of government buildings now scheduled to
--Despite a resumption of commercial flights, Reagan National Airport is
closed indefinitely. Many of our registrants were scheduled to arrive at
National. Reroutings and reservation changes are extremely difficult at
this time. More than half of our registrants are coming from far away. It
will be extremely difficult to ensure that even those registrants willing to
come could get to the city without difficulty.
--President Alejandro Toledo has reaffirmed his willingness to appear at the
Conference. At the same time the Secret Service has informed the Peruvian
Embassy that the presence of foreign dignitaries in Washington DC is not
recommended. The Peruvian Foreign Ministry is concerned about his security
and the logistics of the visit.
--The Conference would likely be occurring at the same time as large numbers
of funerals for those lost in the Pentagon attack. Some have expressed
concern that such a juxtaposition would be inappropriate. The festivities
usually associated with Country-of-Service reunions will not be appropriate
to the occasion and would need to be scaled back.
Postponement of the Conference; Volunteer Day and a Peace Vigil to Go
Under these circumstances, the NPCA Board and I have reluctantly concluded
that we have no choice but to postpone the Conference to an appropriate time
in the spring or early summer of next year. (President Toledo has indicated
his availability to come to a rescheduled Conference.) At the same time, we
are not abandoning our plans to convey our special outreach to the people of
the developing countries. We will go forward next week with at least two
events that convey our message of peace and service: these are Volunteer
Day on Saturday morning, September 22 and a Peace Vigil with country of
service flags that evening at the Washington Monument. Those participating
in these events will largely be RPCVs from the Washington
Suggestions for Registrants
Most of the planning has already been done for a Conference and much of that
planning will be applicable to the event that will be held at a future date.
We hope that as many as possible of you will decide to maintain your
registration for the rescheduled Conference. We will refund registration
fees for those who request it. However, it is important that you be aware
we have already sustained substantial costs in connection with the 40th
Conference, and the financial position of the organization would be
jeopardized if everyone demands his/her money back. We therefore appeal to
you to keep faith with us and to plan to come to our rescheduled Conference,
if you possibly can.
You should be able to cancel your hotel registrations without penalty.
Please let us know if there are difficulties with respect to those hotels
previously posted on our website (with which we have contracts).
We will be in touch with you as soon as possible about future plans and
registration fees. We wanted to get this message out as quickly as possible
so that you could reexamine your travel plans this week-end.
In peace and with great regret,
Dane Smith, President