January 31, 2002 - Providence Journal Bulletin : Former Director Mark Gearan comments on President Bush's plans for the Peace Corps

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Special Reports: December 3, 2004: Promises not funded are promises not kept: January 29, 2002 - CNN: Bush calls for doubling the size of the Peace Corps : January 31, 2002 - Providence Journal Bulletin : Former Director Mark Gearan comments on President Bush's plans for the Peace Corps

By Admin1 (admin) on Monday, February 04, 2002 - 9:00 am: Edit Post

Former Director Mark Gearan comments on President Bush's plans for the Peace Corps

Read and comment on excerpts from a story from the Providence Journal Bulletin that include Former Director Mark Gearan's comments on President Bush's plans for doubling the size of the Peace Corps at:

Bush calls for more AmeriCorps, Peace Corps volunteers *

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.

Bush calls for more AmeriCorps, Peace Corps volunteers

Jan 31, 2002 - Providence Journal Bulletin Author(s): John E. Mulligan, Journal Washington Bureau

* Among Rhode Islanders, the president draws praise for his proposal to boost volunteers in inner-city schools.

* * *

WASHONGTON - President Bush proposed yesterday "to capture this new spirit" of support for the war on terror with a homeland- security volunteer force and a sharply expanded Peace Corps.

Mr. Bush called for doubling the Peace Corps to 200,000 volunteers and urged it "to go into the Islamic world to spread the message of economic development."

Mr. Bush's proposal aired in general terms in his State of the Union speech was notable for its bipartisan roots and its break with the concerns that fellow conservatives have often raised about federal sponsorship of volunteer efforts.

The Peace Corps was created under President John F. Kennedy, AmeriCorps under President Bill Clinton. Mr. Bush made a point yesterday of crediting "my old rival," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., for championing an expanded AmeriCorps.

"It was a good speech for those of us that care about service," especially considering the conservative opposition to AmeriCorps since its creation in 1993, said Mark Gearan, who was President Clinton's Peace Corps director.

While applauding Mr. Bush's initiative, former Peace Corps director Gearan warned that it is important not to trade Peace Corps independence for the efficient coordination that the White House umbrella agency might bring.

"The Peace Corps cannot be seen as an arm of foreign policy, of the State Department and, for the good of the volunteers, can't be seen in any way as an intelligence-gathering body," Gearan said.

He noted, for example, that Peace Corps outposts have always been located outside of American embassies.

Two decades ago, Peace Corps independence became a hot issue under another conservative president who embarked on an expansion of U.S. military might. At the time, the Peace Corps and domestic volunteer agencies operated under an umbrella agency that reported to the White House.

Congressional Democrats came to fear that President Ronald Reagan's appointee in that agency, a former intelligence officer, might compromise Peace Corps autonomy. The Democrats forced the separation of the Peace Corps into an independent unit.

Gearan said that, while Peace Corps volunteers have long been assigned to Islamic nations, Mr. Bush's call for more work in that arena is proper, given the "changed geopolitical situation since Sept. 11."

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By peter mcgee (mcgeepeter) on Monday, February 18, 2002 - 9:55 am: Edit Post

Is there a plan to expand Peace Corps in Latin America? Pete montesol@napanet.net

By Admin1 (admin) on Monday, February 18, 2002 - 10:53 am: Edit Post

The Peace Corps has already announced plans to return to Peru. See the story at:

Peace Corps to return to Peru

Director Vasquez has gotten his orders to double the number of volunteers over five years. See the story at:

Orange County Register: Vasquez gets his orders

He also said in the same story that "he hopes his bilingual ability will help him court the Latino community."

Given these facts, I would expect that he is going to take advantage of his Spanish-speaking ability and Hispanic background and make it a top priority to meet with Latin American leaders to aggressively promote the Peace Corps returning to Chile, Venezuela, Portuguese-speaking Brazil and other countries in South America where the Peace Corps previously had large programs.

He could probably also find a number of rpcvs who served in these countries who would be willing to return either as staff or pcvs. As an example, the RPCV Group for Brazil at:

ExPCVs of Brazil

is one of the largest and most active RPCV groups around - I think a number of their members who served 30 years ago would consider going back as staff or pcvs.

Just my opinion.


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