January 29 - Update on the New Mandate
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January 29 - Update on the New Mandate
Update on the New Mandate for the Peace Corps
Last month we began our coverage of the "New Mandate" for the Peace Corps. This month we continue with an update on where the New Mandate stands with a letter from one of the organizers of the New Mandate RPCV Dave Hibbard with an email he sent to us:
What is "the New Mandate for the Peace Corps?" There are many ideas being considered, we don't have a final "first draft" yet---it will come soon, but we are all convinced that significant improvements can be made in the Peace Corps world--- which includes PCVs and RPCVs.
Here are some of the ideas being considered:
1) fully utilize the vast resource which RPCVs represent
a) as members of technical support teams working autonomously in the field or with PCVs in the field
b) as members of domestic recruitment teams perhaps specifically focusing on Muslim Americans (and especially women)
c) as part of an effort to "partner" or "buddy up" with the vast numbers of foreign students (large numbers of whom are from the Muslim world) who are studying at American universities, to ensure that they have a positive experience in this country and to maintain contact with them once they are back in their own countries.
2) expand the role of the PCV in the field by
a) providing incentives for extending for a 3rd and 4th year (and reducing the Early Termination rate)
b) providing computers (via private enterprise) allowing for on-going PCV contact with the Host Country Nationals after the PCV's tour of duty is over---to ensure on-going friendship and support.
c) expanding the role of PCVs in identifying leaders in their community who could be brought to the US for training and education.
d) many, many other possibilities & much more detail of the above 3.
3) expand the programming potential of the Peace Corps (perhaps using RPCVs) looking at going into countries we have never been in (Mexico, Egypt, etc.) and going back into countries we have exited.
4) creating an Office of Strategic Planning in the Peace Corps with adequate funding which would serve as a "Think Tank" for the Peace Corps---creating visionary paths to pursue.
5) and many more ideas
Mark Udall (Dem-CO), my Congressman, whose mother was a PCV in Nepal for 5 years in the 1980s, has promised to introduce a bill re: the New Mandate, on the House side (contact person is Jennifer Barrett). Nancy Pelosi's office (contact person is Jon Stivers) has expressed great interest. Senator Dodd's office (contact person is Janice O'Connell) is talking about holding Senate hearings this Spring on the New Mandate. In Senator Kennedy's office we are working with Sharon Waxman and Barbara Teraji, and they are definitely interested. And Senator Gordon Smith's (R-OR) office called Mark Udall the other day to get the details about the New Mandate (contact person is Martha Cagle). Turns out that Smith and Udall are related: Smith's mother is a Udall. Nice to have bipartisan support.
The tricky part here, my friends is to develop and refine the details of the New Mandate so everyone can get behind it, no small task---but you also fully realize that whatever we present to our Congresspeople will be vastly changed by the time it becomes law.
This is a "Work In Progress" but almost every RPCV would agree that there are ways in which the Peace Corps can be made better---and I'm sure you have your own ideas. And if we can get these ideas passed into law by Congress, maybe we can really make a greater difference with the Peace Corps and in the World
Dave Hibbard, M.D.
Nigeria 1/India Staff
Dr. Dave Hibbard is a M.D. practicing in Boulder, Colorado and a former Peace Corps doctor in India. Dr. Roger Landrum is president of Youth Service International and chaired the Committee for a New Peace Corps which submitted an RPCV position paper to the Bush Transition Team.
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