February 6, 2002: White Paper - The New Mandate for the Peace Corps

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By Admin1 (admin) on Wednesday, February 06, 2002 - 6:37 pm: Edit Post

White Paper - The New Mandate for the Peace Corps

Last month Peace Corps Online began its coverage of the "New Mandate" for the Peace Corps. The news that Senator Christopher Dodd and Congressman Mark Udall are getting new Peace Corps legislation ready has prompted us to publish this White Paper from Roger Landrum and Dave Hibbard on what the New Mandate stands for and the different elements contained in the New Mandate. The ideas contained in this White Paper have already been presented to Senator Dodd and Congresman Udall for their consideration. Your comments on the New Mandate are welcome.



Dave Hibbard & Roger Landrum, Chairs

February 1, 2002

In early December, RPCVs Dave Hibbard and Roger Landrum visited Congressional offices to request legislation providing a "new mandate" for the Peace Corps.

Their request grew out of an earlier position paper developed by an RPCV committee for the last presidential campaign and later submitted to president-elect Bush's transition team. In the wake of the events of 9/11 and controversy surrounding the President's nominee as Peace Corps director, several Members of Congress expressed strong interest in the New Mandate concept. They asked for specific proposals.

Working in coordination with the National Peace Corps Association, Landrum and Hibbard convened two meetings with an advisory group of RPCVs on January 8 and 29 to refine a fresh set of New Mandate proposals for Congressional consideration.

The project was announced on the NPCA and Peace Corps Online web sites inviting wider participation. The President's announcement of "doubling the Peace Corps" in the State of the Union pushed everything to fast forward.

Congressional contacts asked that the New Mandate agenda be submitted immediately. This was done on February 1. Legislation is now being drafted. The New Mandate agenda appears below.


The United States Peace Corps is a uniquely valuable asset in America's international relations, with a proven and widely-respected track record of effective international service stretching over 40 years across the world.

Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (currently 166,000) represent an invaluable and underutilized resource of special intercultural knowledge, skills and personal friendships gained through their overseas volunteer experience and professional expertise from subsequent careers.

The dawn of a new century, the many changes underway in the world through the forces of globalization, and the threats to the security of the United States and the world community revealed by the events of September 11, 2001, together represent new challenges for the international relations of the United States and to the goals of peaceful progress and shared prosperity for nations and peoples across the world.

After 40 years of cumulative experience with exemplary international service, the time has come to re-examine, revitalize, extend and expand the ways in which the Peace Corps enchances America's international relations, addresses the great social transitions underway in the world, and more fully utilizes continued service by Returned Peace Corps Volunteers both at home and abroad.

Therefore, the Congress and President of the United States should define and establish new roles and new missions for the Peace Corps and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (as represented by the National Peace Corps Association) to more effectively serve the international interests of America, the goal of nations and peoples everywhere for peaceful progress, and broader dissemination of the ethic of citizen service. We ask the Congress, the President and the Peace Corps to undertake and establish the activities and operations recommended below, in coordination with the National Peace Corps Association as specifically proposed).


A. Extend and expand traditional volunteer programming of the Peace Corps

1. The Peace Corps should extend and expand development of programming and placement of volunteers for two or more years of service in countries with predominant or majority Muslim populations. This should include (but not be limited by) targeted efforts to recruit, train and place qualified Americans of the Islamic faith.

2. The Peace Corps should explore and negotiate establishment of new ventures with countries important to America's international relations that have not previously hosted Peace Corps, such as Mexico and Egypt, including innovative and more flexible joint ventures such as identified in B. and C. below.

3. The Peace Corps should establish a permanent strategic planning capability, in coordination with the National Peace Corps Association, to conduct research, evaluation, risk assessment, long-term planning, and cutting-edge programming related to the most effective utilization of Peace Corps Volunteers and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, innovative trends and models of development assistance, and emerging needs of host countries particularly as related to youth, women, development of civil society, small business entrepreneurship, and democratic values.

4. The Peace Corps should revitalize an Advisory Council that is bi-partisan in composition, includes international development experts and the President of the NPCA, and develops strategic planning recommendations related to the missions, goals and management of the Peace Corps. The Advisory Council should provide an annual report to the Peace Corps Director and to relevant Congressional Committees. The Congressional Committees should hold bi-annual Hearings to assess the missions and impact of Peace Corps in improving America's international relations and advancing peaceful progress and civil society in host countries.

B. Congress should fund the National Peace Corps Association to encourage and establish "second generation" extensions of the experience and know-how gained through service as volunteers in the Peace Corps, lifetime opportunities for contined service by Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, and better utilization of the career expertise of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers.

1. The National Peace Corps Association should establish bridge-building projects to countries with which America seeks to improve relations, utilizing "special forces" of group or small-team delegations of RPCVs with the mission of fostering new networks of communication, cooperation and joint programming ventures. These missions should include initiatives to prevent, manage or amelioriate civil conflict in countries that have formerly hosted Peace Corps.

2. The National Peace Corps Association should utilize RPCVs at home in America to develop local programs with the mission of fostering enriched and improved experiences for foreign students, especially those from Muslim countries, in settings of ethnic, educational and religious diversity.

3. The National Peace Corps Association should utilize RPCVs to build bridges to immigrant communities in America, especially but not exclusively those from the Islamic world, as a means of easing the challenges of assimilation and strengthening ongoing international ties between America and the immigrants' countries and regions of origin.

4. In collaboration with the Peace Corps, the National Peace Corps Association should utilize teams of RPCVs to strengthen Peace Corps planning and operations for more diverse and challenging setting overseas, including countries such as Afghanistan and Nigeria.

5. The National Peace Corps Association should support entrepreneurial and innovative international ventures founded and managed by RPCVs and undertaken in collaboration with host country partner organizations. These ventures should clearly represent "second generation" extensions of Peace Corps experience and goals with the purpose of assisting peaceful progress in countries that are or have hosted Peace Corps.

6. The National Peace Corps Assocation, in coordination with the Peace Corps where possible, should provide short-term technical assistance teams of RPCVs to assist entrepreneurial ventures and emerging civil society organizations in their former host countries, including new forms of cross-border, regional collaborations.

7. The National Peace Corps Association should improve and extend its data base of the skills and career expertise of RPCVs and their interest in and terms of availability for short-term technical assistance assignments as proposed in A., B. or C. Particular attention should be given to proposals by teams of RPCVs to undertake innovative projects consistent with the missions proposed in A., B., and C.

C. Peace Corps should develop new capability, beyond its traditional model of volunteer programming and placement to plan and undertake more entrepreneurial, flexible and strategic programming involving new forms of collaboration. Joint ventures with Host Country governments and organization, and more flexible terms and combinations of volunteer service.

1. Teams of PCVs and RPCVs sharing a common focus should be established for planning, testing and implementing new models of grass-roots development. These models should be based on cutting-edge research and thinking from sources outside as well as within Peace Corps.

2. Peace Corps should experiment with joint programming ventures and teamwork across sectors (government, corporations, NGOs), U.S. agencies, and countries with common regional interests.

3. Peace Corps should seek to undertake joint ventures and new forms of collaborative planning with countries such as Mexico and Egypt that require new focus and philosophy, new combinations of staffing, mixes of PCVs and RPCVs, host country volunteers, and more flexible terms of service and planned outcomes.

4. The Peace Corps and National Peace Corps Association should respond to requests from current and former host countries interested in volunteer citizen service by providing assistance for developing citizen service opportunities and organizations.

5. Teams of RPCVs and PCVs should be utilized to provide planning and programming assistance for joint ventures with host country governments or organizations seeking to develop the ethic of citizen service through youth volunteer programs and youth service corps, including assistance to develop infrastructure and policies that support broad-based youth service on a sustainable basis.

6. Peace Corps and the National Peace Corps Association should identify promising grass-roots leaders in host countries from priority fields and seek to provide these emerging leaders with opportunities for training, technological support, career development and international exchanges.

7. Peace Corps and the National Peace Corps Association together should organize a bi-annual international conference which facilitates dialogue and exchanges with host country leaders and prominent international thinkers about new roles and missions for the Peace Corps, for similar organizations, and about the ethic of citizen service generally.

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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By Joanne Marie Roll (joey) on Wednesday, February 06, 2002 - 8:10 pm: Edit Post

NO! Congress should not turn over the RPCV
community to the NPCA! The NPCA is a small group
of partisans, which I would join in a moment if
they didn't keep coming up with these grandiose
ideas of "capturing" the Peace Corps experience
and then apparently claiming that they somehow can speak for all of us. They don't speak for me!!!
I don't want my tax money to go to empower
this organization. If they would restrict their
goals to reflecting the experience of their own small membership; then, I would gladly support
some of their programs..which appear to be worth
while. I don't understand their eagerness to be annointed.

By joyce howard on Monday, February 11, 2002 - 3:36 pm: Edit Post

In the annals of reinvention ideas for the Peace Corps, this one has got to be the most vacuous, jargon-laden, and silly - against strong competition. There is not one new idea in the paper, and several old, bad ones are pumped out again.

The NPCA simply has no credentials, has no demonstrated experience or proficiency, and has not established itself as a thoughtful, independent voice about what the Peace Corps does or should be doing. Neither apparently, have Hibbard and Landrum, who obviously have both dated views of the Peace Corps and inflated views of their own insight into what the organization needs (mainly, more input from them and other RPCVs!) Platitudes abound, but what actually do they propose other than having congress give them a platform they've never been able to build themselves and money for new activities that they deem worthwhile?

The organization is already basically staffed with over 90% RPCVs, many who've been in-and-out for decades. The organization is still overwhelmingly white, and the 166,000 number is a big inflation (it counts anyone who ever entered training - those who actually completed service is only about 60%). Though the majority of PCVs are now women, historically - particularly when Landrum and Hibbard actually were in the PC - it was overwhelmingly male. Their and the NPCA's views on "strategic planning" for future generations are the last thing the PC needs.

The PC's great strength is new blood, not retreads who seek to remake it as they wish it had been when they were PCVs.

The Congress should not direct scarce money away from supporting new Volunteers to finance the jaunts and meetings of throwbacks who appoint themselves experts. Sure the new Director has zero credentials, but the Deputy Director is head-and-shoulders above Landrum, Hibbard, and anyone else the NPCA has ever had in charge.

By Jennifer Hayes on Wednesday, February 13, 2002 - 6:19 pm: Edit Post

The power of the Peace Corps lies in the credibility of its volunteers as apolitical representatives of peace and friendship, of sharing and learning. Hibbard and Landrum's new mandate would erode this credibility by further politicizing its volunteers and putting the organization's strategic direction under the influence of a largely non-representative interest group. Under their scenario, I fear that support for Peace Corps in foreign countries would dwindle, as would interest in serving on the part of quality potential volunteers. The US has plenty of existing development and foreign policy organizations "to serve the international interests of America"... the armed forces for one, which could stand focusing more on strategic relationship-building with foreign countries. Leave Peace Corps and its volunteers to fill the niche they fill so well-- expanding the threads of friendship and mutual respect at a grassroots level, across borders but beyond politics.

By Jeff Hay on Thursday, February 14, 2002 - 6:16 pm: Edit Post

The White Paper does echo of ghosts of Peace Corps visions past.

I believe that Peace Corps can improve and expand its presence while maintaining its goals, and that there is plenty of room for discussion and debate. But Peace Corps is ultimately a grass-roots organization and best served by concrete and focused initiatives. Visions inspire when offered sparingly, but for the reality of the environment Peace Corps operates in, they do little to contribute to the realization any of the ideas described.

To my mind, any actions designed to transform Peace Corps need to start as measured, specific plans, much like Peace Corps service. Peace Corps needs to focus on recruitment, practices to support volunteers in this new era of safety and security, identification of resources that will coordinate more effective programming and training, as well as resources for developing twice as many viable and sustainable sites for potential Volunteers.

Progress on any of the above would carry Peace Corps down a true path of transformation. It would require labor and small, periodic gains, but the great accomplishment that is Peace Corps has always been made up of the thousands of modest accomplishments of the volunteers. A new vision for Peace Corps should be built on the same solid foundation.

By ktgaudette on Saturday, February 16, 2002 - 2:44 am: Edit Post

When will the US/US Peace Corps promote the national right to development?


(Not just individuals/communities/micro-enterprises/multinational companies

The UN General Assembly has passed a resolution supporting the national right to development. And so it was at the Group of 77 Meeting held in Havana, with governments accounting for 80% of the population of the planet. The event was not covered by US media. Suggestion...do a Web search (many Web sites)and then do a News Story search (any stories?)

China's foreign policy states that:
"The current international political-economic system is unjust and irrational, and counter to the interests of the 3rd World nations.

As long as US Policy is part of the Problem, rather than part of the Solution, then many in the 3rd World cannot help but see US Peace (Freedom?) Corps Volunteers as PR people for an unjust and irrational--and unsustainable--system.

Kevin Gaudette
Sierra Leone (1968-1970)
Shanghai Maritime U.

By W. TIMMONS on Thursday, February 28, 2002 - 12:41 pm: Edit Post

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
"If it ain't broke, fix it until it is."

The Peace Corps isn't broke and never has been.
W. Timmons
Niger IV (1965-67)

By Mike Dillon on Wednesday, March 06, 2002 - 1:06 am: Edit Post

There is no REAL National Peace Corps Association, just a group of returned volunteers trying to be one. The true essence of being an ex volunteer is to go back to our communities and carry our experiences into our work and relationships. We don't need no stinking badges (nor an organization).

Please don't let the few self appointed NPCA partisans take over directing Peace Corps direction or policy.

By Leo Cecchini on Thursday, March 14, 2002 - 8:47 am: Edit Post

Those who have replied to this so far seem to overlook the fact that until now most Americans did not know that the Peace Corps still exists. It took President Bush's call to double the number of PCVs to reintroduce the Peace Corps to the American public.
Why does the idea of utilizing the energy and commitment of RPCVs to work with the Peace Corps itself scare so many? All RPCVs know that we carry that Peace Corps spirit with us and we continue to want to do what we can to make the world a better place. Why not let RPCVs work where possible with the Peace Corps to do the job?

By Donald Round on Friday, March 22, 2002 - 12:28 pm: Edit Post

The influence of the PC is the aggregate of the myriad interactions between vols and locals over the course of each vol's 2 years in country. So-called "targeted use" of the PC for blatantly political ends will work against the positive results of Americans - whose views are not typically 'pro patria' in a jingoistic way - working and living for extended periods for concrete, largely apolitical purposes.

By Ken Hill on Monday, March 25, 2002 - 10:37 am: Edit Post

The “New Mandate” has fostered useful dialogue on the future of Peace Corps. This discussion needs to be continued because there is much in the "New Mandate” that is troubling. “New Mandate” ideas have also been proposed in the form of legislation which, if enacted, would be highly deleterious to Peace Corps.

Excessive detail in legislative guidance threatens Peace Corps non-political, independent status and complicates its ability to respond to situations as they arise around the world. By agreement between Peace Corps, the White House and Congress, Peace Corps traditionally operates with relative independence within general guidance and oversight provided by the Administration and Congress. The “New Mandate” legislation would negate these important agreements. Peace Corps programming and operating policy should not be legislated nor Peace Corps appropriations earmarked.

Traditional Peace Corps programs place high priority on responding to the requests of Host Countries. This is a basic Peace Corps tenet and a key to much of its success. Peace Corps programs and the roles and responsibilities of Peace Corps Volunteers should be determined on a country by country basis in cooperation with Host Country governments. The “New Mandate” proposes that too many of these decisions be made in Washington which would weaken Peace Corps, not improve it.

The legislation proposes an official role in Peace Corps operations for a private, membership organization - NPCA. It would also require Peace Corps to fund various “third goal” NPCA activities that are not now being performed nor funded. This constitutes a form of handout for NPCA and an unreasonable constraint upon the use of Peace Corps funds. Aside from the troubling legal implications, this creates an improper role for the NPCA and would result in its dependency upon Peace Corps. Neither the Peace Corps nor the NPCA should be adjunct to the other and NPCA should have no official role in Peace Corps.

Peace Corps leadership and alumnae – including the NPCA - should oppose the “New Mandate” legislation! It will not strengthen the Peace Corps nor make it more effective, quite the contrary. It’s time to re-think the “New Mandate” and most important, to resist the idea of any related legislation!

By Diana Ackerman on Tuesday, June 04, 2002 - 9:23 am: Edit Post

Regarding recommendations to congress for a new mandate for Peace Corps;

How about providing grants for RPCV's to obtain specialized Masters Degrees to help bridge the gap between the American/International Islamic community, and the American community. i.e.-a masters program in Arabic for those RPCV's who have serviced in Arabic speaking/Muslim countries.

I am just waiting for this opportunity.

Diana Ackerman
RPCV Tunisia 1994-1996
Speaker of Tunisian Arabic

By Sahliya ( on Monday, January 14, 2013 - 12:45 pm: Edit Post

Barry, it may be convenient to get The Herald by e-mail but I HATE all the shitnifg back and forth to read articles. Oh well, I guess horse riders hated the automobile and by the way, why can't I find a public telephone anymore?

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