February 16, 2002 - New York Times: Bush Is Giving Peace Corps an Aid Mission in Afghanistan

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Peace Corps Library: Reference: Overseas Programs: February 16, 2002 - New York Times: Bush Is Giving Peace Corps an Aid Mission in Afghanistan

By Admin1 (admin) on Tuesday, February 19, 2002 - 10:44 am: Edit Post

Bush Is Giving Peace Corps an Aid Mission in Afghanistan





Read and comment on this story from the New York Times on President Bush remarks after the swearing in of Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez that a Peace Corps team would leave within three weeks for Afghanistan to assess how the program could help reconstruct the country at:

Bush Is Giving Peace Corps an Aid Mission in Afghanistan*

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



Bush Is Giving Peace Corps an Aid Mission in Afghanistan

By ELISABETH BUMILLER

ASHINGTON, Feb. 15 President Bush said today that a Peace Corps team would leave within three weeks for Afghanistan to assess how the program could help reconstruct the country. The mission would be the first time the agency has been in Afghanistan since the Soviet Union invaded in 1979.

"The Peace Corps, itself, stands for what we fight for," Mr. Bush said at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. "And if we weren't to understand that role, if we were to shrink in our obligations, if we were not to allow the Peace Corps to expand, we would be doing exactly what the terrorists want us to do."

Mr. Bush also said he would push to expand the Peace Corps program in China during his visit to Asia next week. China has had a total of about 200 Peace Corps volunteers since 1993.

Mr. Bush made his remarks after watching the swearing-in of Gaddi H. Vasquez, the new director of the Peace Corps, in the Oval Office. Mr. Vasquez was sworn in by Alberto Gonzales, the White House counsel.

Mr. Vasquez, a former public relations executive at the Southern California Edison Company, joins the executive branch after some controversy during his government service in California. He resigned from the Orange County board of supervisors in 1995, soon after the county went bankrupt because of the improper investment of public funds.

A 1996 Securities and Exchange Commission report was highly critical of him and the other supervisors. In 2000, Mr. Vasquez transferred $100,000 in leftover campaign funds to the Republican Party.

Mr. Bush said last month during his State of the Union address that he would seek to double the size of the Peace Corps from its current 7,000 volunteers to nearly 15,000, close to its all-time high, reached in 1966.

Ellen Field, the communications director for the Peace Corps, said Mr. Bush's announcement had created a surge in applications. In the 48 hours after his speech, she said, the agency received 1,200 applications, three times the usual amount.

Ms. Field said she expected the assessment team in Afghanistan to be followed by "crisis corps" volunteers, or Peace Corps members who have at least two years of experience in the region. Ms. Field said they would probably work on construction projects and water purification or teach English.

Mr. Bush also said he would send Peace Corps volunteers to East Timor, Peru, the Kyrgyz Republic, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Peace Corps assessment teams are to be sent to Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Botswana, Swaziland and Chad.



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This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Special Reports; US Peace Corps - Overseas Programs; Afghanistan

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